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Venite a vedere - Communion and LiberationCommunion and Liberation is an ecclesial movement whose purpose is the education to Christian maturity of its adherents and collaboration in the mission of the Church in all the spheres of contemporary life. We see it used on food products, bath and body products, on business names, as titles of songs, etc. It synthesizes the conviction that the Christian event, lived in communion, is the foundation of the authentic liberation of man.
Communion and Liberation is today present in about seventy countries throughout the world. If we all make mistakes and we are here to learn, then why would we constantly be punished for our imperfect actions? What does make sense is the theory that Karma is based on every action producing an equal and opposite reaction.
The gathering attracted 4,000 volunteers and 700,000 participants.A The essence of the charism given to Communion and Liberation can be signaled by three factors. You may ask yourself, a€?Whata€™s the point of doing good things if Ia€™ll never reap the benefits?a€? The point is that our thoughts and actions become the cause that will eventually be followed by the effect. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, a€?You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.a€?Karma cannot exist without reincarnation, the act of repeatedly being born and dying. Retained in the soula€™s eternal consciousness, just like in the seed of a plant, is everything that ever happens to us. Good and bad karmic ripples can affect us at any time or any lifetime.Some Eastern religions like Hinduism and Buddhism, where karma is a fundamental concept, believe that reincarnation is the way we renew our spirit. The positive things we do in each lifetime contribute to the evolution of our souls; good deeds will benefit us in our next life. Hindus believe that when our souls have evolved to perfection we will stop reincarnating and merge with the source of all existence. During the six years we had been living in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood, we had belonged to St.
It is similar to what Buddhists call nirvana, though unlike moksha, it is possible, though extremely difficult to achieve nirvana while still in our physical bodies.Are you picturing an omnipresent, universal presence or God who keeps track of our behavior. A supreme being who hands out punishments like Zeus did when he got angry and hurled thunderbolts from the sky. Thomas was the first parish that my husband and I joined as adults, and our three daughters (the twins had not been born yet) had been baptized there by Reverend Jack Farry. How many times have you heard people who were in the middle of a crisis say, a€?Why is God punishing me like thisa€? or a€?What did I do that made God so angry with me?a€? God does not punish us a€“ he doesna€™t sit around keeping score then doling out karma. We are the creators of our own experiences.There is universal accountability but it isna€™t always cut and dry. The law of nature is rigid like basic math, no matter how you look at it, one plus one equals two. There is no weighing and consideration done by the universe, no absolute right or wrong, no gray area.
To my delight and amazement, Sarah and her assistant were offering Catechesis of the Good Shepherd!
I promptly signed up my second daughter as well and began to spend the sessions in the back of the atrium, lurking. As Sarah and I became better friends, and as I began to fall in love with the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, Sarah told me that she also belonged to a lay ecclesial movement, called Communion and Liberation. The thing about karma is that you cana€™t trick it by going through the motions of living a good life, and doing good things. I remember thinking that CL must be cool, since Sarah was also into CGS, and it was super cool, but aside from hearing about what it meant for her, I wasn't really very interested in it. But when my husband told me that he needed something more, in order to live his faith more fully, I quickly recommended that he speak to Sarah and her husband about CL.
Anything you do from the heart that is beneficial to others produces good karma.Leta€™s talk about intentions.
Well, he fell in love right away, and started giving me Father Giussani's books to read and asking me to come to School of Community.
I read the books, and found them very beautiful, if unoriginal (yes, I'm sorry, but my only criticism of Father Giussani was that he wasn't saying "anything new." Now, I think one of the greatest things about him is that he doesn't say "anything new"!). But as for School of Community, I didn't want to give up an evening at home with my children so that I could meet with a bunch of adults to speak about Jesus -- my faith received such a powerful electric charge when I became a mother, and it seemed wrong not to include my children in every aspect of my spiritual journey.
When we moved to Ohio three years ago, it was a time to make new friends, and I wanted to meet other people who were following Father Giussani. Though I still thought that he wasn't saying "anything new," I was hungry for friends who were following the Church: the old, essential, not-at-all new Church. Sometimes, among other Catholics, I feel so disoriented hearing about particular devotions or charisms that seem unfamiliar to me.
Father Giussani had the peculiar genius for cutting through all of the "extras" and going straight to the heart of Christianity -- he tirelessly proposed Jesus Christ (much as our current Pope, Benedict XVI does). You are not spiritually responsible for what occurred when it was not your intention to do it.
What is new about CL is not so much a particular theology, but a way of living out Christianity that is vital, vibrant, and vivifying.
You could create good karma out of this horrible situation by offering the family of the deceased heartfelt kindness and compassion in the aftermath of the tragedy. It involves being able to see our Lord, beloved and adored, in the bonds of friendship that exist between and among ordinary, sometimes uninspiring, Christians. What Father Giussani both proposed and also demonstrated in reality is that Christ is not only present as Bread and Wine in the Eucharist, he is also present in the unity that exists in his people -- the Body of Christ.
As souls, we decide the lessons and conditions in which to learn those thingsa€¦ before we are born. When we gather together, we can meet him in the flesh.Some people wonder: why do you need anything in addition to parish life? The karma we inherit from previous lives may play a huge role in determining our mental and physical characteristics. It is true that the Eucharist vivifies and enlivens any particular parish community, but what seems to be most difficult for us is to live with an awareness of what the sacraments mean. Without an awareness of what our Baptism means, what our Confirmation means, what our participation in the Eucharist means, we sleepwalk through our lives, and miss so much!
God is reaching out toward us, wanting to meet us in all our present moments, but we easily get distracted.
We need friends who live this awareness, who are willing to live this awareness along with us.Some people also wonder whether joining a movement narrows our involvement in the Church. There are children who are masters at playing the piano before the age of five, yet they have never taken a lesson.We always have free willa€¦the chance to change the karmic path wea€™re on. The more I follow this one particular charism, the more universal my understanding of so many other aspects of the Church has become.
In fact, being involved with CL has opened me up to the international dimension of the Church, as well as opening my heart to people in my immediate environment who are different from me.
The law of the Incarnation always works this way -- Christ comes to me and shows me the whole, in all its universality, through particular circumstances.I would be remiss if I didn't mention Father Vincent. Even though my involvement with CL had become more consistent and serious when we moved to Ohio three years ago, it wasn't until the first Lent retreat we had here in my new town, led by Father Vincent, that I finally let my heart be fully engaged in CL.
But by facing your karma with inner strength and determinationa€¦ you can change the path youa€™re on.To analyze your patterns, pay attention to recurrent themes.
I pray for his work there, and that he may bring even more people into our beautiful friendship! These prevalent themes in your life will continue, until you sit up, take notice, and decide to make changes.After becoming aware of the significant role these themes play in your life, you can begin to make changes. January 26th, 2004 Fr Giussania€™s letter to the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of his Pontificate.
Panorama, October 30th, 2003 Fr Giussania€™s letter to the Fraternity following the annual pilgrimage to Loreto. Maybe you thought it would take too much effort to work through those issues, and took the a€?why bother, whata€™s the usea€? stance. June 22nd, 2003 Fr Giussania€™s letter to the Fraternity for the twentieth anniversary of the Pontifical recognition of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation.
February 22nd, 2002 Fr Giussania€™s testimony as presented at the Pontifical Council for the Laitya€™s Seminar, a€?Ecclesiastical movements and the new communities in the pastoral care of the Bishopsa€?.
Have you ever heard the bible verse, a€?As you sow, so shall you reap?a€? Who benefits in the long run? You do.Can you even begin to imagine what kind of karma people like Bernie Madoff, Bin Laden, or Saddam Hussein have created for their selves?
1989A The beginning and end of Christian morality I've been reading ahead in Is It Possible to Live This Way? All three of these men have experienced rapid consequences for their behaviors in this life, and will probably carry those consequences into their next life.


Of course they wona€™t consciously remember the heinous crimes they committed, but they will experience and have to suffer the effects of their past life karma.
After a long discussion on the true meaning of freedom, Father Giussani writes: "Freedom isn't choice, it's only a possibility to choose because it's imperfect" (p. For instance, in the case of Bernie Madoff, who out of greed unconscionably stole billions of dollars from people and businesses, and an estimated total of three billion dollars from twenty-seven charitable organizations, he may suffer destitute poverty, homelessness, and victimization in his next life. And then on the next page: Yet carrying out this correct choice demands a clear awareness of the relationship with Christ, of the relationship with destiny.
In the case of Saddam Hussein, a tyrant whose tortuous executions, committed out of a lust for power, gain, and pure evil, amounted to an estimated total of eight hundred thousand people, he will probably suffer inhumane oppression and misery in his next life. And Bin Laden, a cowardly terrorist who through his own hatred, called on Muslims to carry out his orders of suicide and the bombing deaths of tens of thousands of people around the world, and through 911 changed America forever, he may witness many people he loves dying tragic deaths, and may be a target of vicious, bitter hatred for his entire life.It may sound like it, but Karma is not exactly an eye for an eye.
If you murder someone in this life, they wona€™t necessarily come back in your next life and murder you. He's near Simon and He says to him, very softly, without the others realizing, He says quietly, 'Simon, do you love me more than these?' This is the culmination of Christian morality: the beginning and the end of Christian morality. You will have to experience the other point of view, maybe by suffering a loss yourself or losing someone you love, suddenly and tragically, though you probably wona€™t know why it happened. Now youa€™re probably thinking, a€?Arena€™t others sacrificed so that we may fulfill our karma? It is a pact we willingly make with each other.Things we say can be just as impactful as things we do. Man finds his dignity in the choice of what he values most in life and from which he expects the greatest satisfaction.
I have understood for a long time that freedom and morality are tightly bound in Father Giussani's thought. I have also grasped that his denunciation of moralism was never brought on by a disdain for morality. Out of negativity, fear, and worry, she would warn me and my sisters that if we did A, B would happena€¦and B was always something negative.
And the heart is not "what I like" or "what I want" -- it's the constant thirst for what I'm made for, my destiny, Christ. I can be seduced to imagine that something I want is my destiny -- if I lose sight of the ever-expanding horizon that calls me with an Infinite love.
Moralism's answer, which says we have to suppress our desire, do violence to our desire, is useless, even mortally dangerous, to our souls.
Unfortunately it didna€™t work the same for positive things, though I have to say, there werena€™t too many of those occasions.When my daughter was a toddler she spent her week days with my parents while I worked.
It is the solution of a lonely humanity, a humanity that has ceased to listen to the voice that calls each of us by name, a humanity without Christ. My mother was attached and very protective of her granddaughter and she worried all the time about bad things happening to her. We need to hear Him ask us, "Do you love me?" We need to let that question burn into our hearts every minute of every hour, engage us, draw us through our days. Because even those who are so blessed to have heard Jesus speak directly to them through metaphysical means, do not hear this question so perfectly and constantly that they can forgo the Eucharist or the people of God, who make up the Church. No, God has willed it that we must turn to one another -- there is no other way -- and remind each other that He asks, He continually asks, "Do you love me?"If you expect your satisfaction from something that can be dust tomorrow, you'll have dust.
I could go on and on about other similar incidents.Words are very powerfula€¦need I say more?There are many things we say and do that do not leave a karmic footprint. General things we do to care for ourselves, like eating, showering, and exercising are karma exempt.
Do I love them?A  The meaning of tenderness Father Giussani and Enzo PiccininiDuring the summer of 2006, my family and I participated in the CL summer vacation for the Varese (Italy) community that took place in the Dolomites (San Martino di Castrozza). These are things that dona€™t self promote or self praise, and they dona€™t affect the lives of others. During those very rich days, we heard a talk given by a priest whose name escapes me and who was introduced as the spiritual director for Memores Domini in Italy (or something -- I don't speak Italian!
Foolish, irrational, or risky acts that end badly, but only impact the person doing them arena€™t karmic. In any case, the theme of his talk was "complaining" ("lamentare" -- which my Italian English teacher friend kept translating into my ear as "moaning" -- luckily I know British English and I know that this word is used as we would use "complaining" in America).
In any case, the very strong theme of his talk was that "lamentare" is a form of violence, the worst kind of violence -- an "ugly" violence ("brutto" means ugly, not "brutal," right?). Not everything that happens to us in our life or in the world, whether good or bad, is karmic.Your karma can be modified and changed by changing yourself. Memory - the greatest Christian word I know - that makes presentsomething that happened long ago. In his daughter [Emmanuel Mounier'sdaughter, Francoise with micro-encephalitis], in the circumstance thateveryone considered to be misfortune, a sign emerged that forced oneto think of the present Mystery of Christ.This is memory.
May this start to become normal among us, may it be asign that forces us to think of the Mystery of Christ as present! By forgiving yourself and others without conditions, you will achieve peace of mind and karmic healing.
It is the demand for a humanexperience that can be considered such, because this is my life's mostabsolute necessity.b.
So when you practice acceptance, without judgment or resistance, you will change the flow of your life.Karma is not only bad.
But it is not the complaints that break theheart of a suffering child, it is the complaints that burden the heartand ears of those listening, which render life difficult for thosearound us, and our life becomes a sentence also for others, a life-lament that does not know happiness, and even less, joy.c. It may be responsible for many of the good things that occur in your life; so, practice being grateful. But whoever sets up his life as lamentation does not know the grandthing that makes man great: tenderness.
The man who complainsdoes not know tenderness, but vomits onto others what he has insidehim.
Another way to awaken and inspire changes in you is by reading spiritual articles and books that will connect you with a new perspective.
Reading was the catalyst that inspired the most change in me, and it continues to inspire me and help me to grow.There are techniques that can be used, to cleanse karma thata€™s not based in this lifetime. A regular practice of meditation, mantras, or prayer is likely to help to cleanse karmic residue. There are many meditation exercises, prayers, and specific mantras that can be found by doing an internet search for a€?clearing karma.a€? Another very effective tool for cleansing negativity and negative karma is the use of light energy called, the violet flame, or violet fire. I dona€™t have the time today to explain it, but if youa€™d like to know more about what the violet flame is and how to use it, you can google the words, violet flame, and find a lot of good information.Maintaining karma is just as important as cleansing it.
Through maintenance you will continue to improve on achievements accomplished in other lives. To continue further along with any karmic progress youa€™ve made in this life, and then take it with you into your next life, ita€™s advisable to strengthen positive inclinations like kindness and compassion.
Failure to strengthen those inclinations in this life will cause them to weaken, and you will lose the benefits of the good karma youa€™ve achieved.
And by turning bad karma into good karma while youa€™re here, you will take that with you into your next life. So with the awareness, that whatever you do here will go along with you on your soula€™s journey, be mindful of your actions, intentions, and words.Ita€™s important to know the parameters of your life and stay within them. It was like a sign pointing down a road that I refused to travel because I thought I already knew it and had already been on it.What was different about Father Vincent? What appears good or lucky in someone elsea€™s life could be destructive to your life if the same things happened to you. When the foreign thought entered my mind that day: "This is for me!", perhaps it was just that having moved to a new town so recently, I was less sure of myself, less comfortable with all the answers I was carrying around inside of me. What is so weird is that I've spent very little time with this priest, and he's kind of spotty about reading and responding to his emails. Your life operates a particular way, you decided the lessons and conditions of your life before you were born.
I experience it in my daily life, mostly as a result of the profound and moving experience of School of Community this year, but most importantly in the new fraternity group that Marie and I have formed. If you can see by the patterns of your life that you dona€™t attract money, be conservative with it. Those things may work for others but theya€™re probably not meant to work for you.Therea€™s an interpretation of Jewish scripture called a midrash. One midrash tells this story: God gets tired of hearing everyone complain about the conditions of their life.
So he takes everyonea€™s complaints, jumbles them up, and then he randomly passes them back out.
First he placed a small standing crucifix on the table in front of us.1) He pointed to the crucifix and said, "We do SoC for him -- not for the movement, not because of the movement -- but because of him.


No one likes the complaint theya€™re given, and everyone begs for their own complaints back.
Life may seem rosier with your neighbor, but they dona€™t see it that way because theya€™re dealing with their own issues. And to them their issues feel as monumental as your issues do to you.As long as we live, breathe, and reincarnate, we will continue to create karma. Elimination can only be accomplished after achieving moksha or nirvana, the states of our souls evolving to perfection. It doesn't depend on anything or anyone else, so we have our freedom, and no one can limit us or our freedom to do it because I have all I need and you have all you need. With moksha you will have fulfilled all the missions of your soul and will not reincarnate again. No, the only one who knows it and gives it as a gift is Christ [points again to the crucifix]. They come because of the charism, because of him [points again to the crucifix], so you should be grateful that he sends them to you, and you should care for them, and be surprised and amazed that they come." "This is the Victory that Conquers the World, Our Faith" "We come to the Fraternity Exercises in order to revisit the things we always tell each other. We meet all together because there is nothing, normally, that can help the emotion of the heart or the liveliness of perception of our mind, nothing capable of influence, like a tender, motherly, brotherly, friendly push on our will, more than our coming together." (Fr.
Giussani)The content of the Spiritual Exercises took our book of the School of Community, Is It Possible to Live this Way? I have so many thoughts about the content, but I want to write about them after all my blogging friends have returned from the exercises, so that perhaps we can have a discussion about them. Meanwhile, though, there are three very important things that happened for me at these exercises:Many of our friends from the Chicago community were present at these particular exercises, and being face-to-face with them reminded me of my reasons for keeping myself apart from the movement during the years I lived there. I was particularly struck, thinking about what my life would have been if I had dived right into living the proposals of the movement while I was among these people who first introduced me to them.
To be specific: it was the sin of pride: I already knew how Christ came to me, I already knew what Christ wanted of me, I already had a history of working out my Christianity on my own and I didn't want anyone to tell me that that history was limited and starved for oxygen because I knew it was beautiful, dammit! To use the CL way of characterizing this attitude, I was reducing the Mystery to my own measure, insisting on making the decisions about how and where and when Christ had something to say to me. What is amazing to me is that I could come to these conclusions based on piety, how I was reading Fr.
But what I was hung up on was the scandal of the appearance of the local Church -- that Christ could manifest himself in these particular people, with all their irritating and unpleasant humanity (sorry, my friends), was just too much for me to digest.
His spiritual journey of self-discovery has revealed many secrets hidden within him related to the very essence of who he is. He has unleashed the power of divine energy that is within us all and shares this on his website, Eyes Wide Open. He embraces opportunities that enable him to learn about his higher self and the inspirational forces that prod him forward to new plateaus of enlightenment and self-revelation.
How hard it is to understand this distinction until you've lived through the mistake of confusing them (and the consequences of this mistake -- which are loneliness and bitterness). Being among these people now, I see their beauty -- it is a profound beauty, one that makes me ask, "Who is this man who could cause such a miracle among these particular people?"What a different experience it was for me to go to the exercises with Marie, my fraternity sister!
Last year, I went "alone" -- of course, I immediately hooked up with new friends when I went to Minnesota, and I never for a moment felt myself to be alone while I was there, but what I mean was that I did not go with anyone from my local community.
During these exercises, Marie and I discussed what we were hearing and witnessing, just as I did with the people I met in Minnesota last year, but I was able to express so much more with her -- the conversations went much deeper and were also much more concrete because we share a history already.
There is also a whole new dimension to the content of the exercises for me -- because I know that in our fraternity group I will be wrestling with what Father Carron's lessons mean for Marie, as well as for myself. This brings out facets I never would have considered, and it enriches my life.As I tried to formulate a question for the assembly, and then, as I sought answers to my questions, I discovered that my biggest vulnerability or weakness has to do with an urge to organize or even strategize the Mystery. What was particularly striking about this personal insight is that this is not the first time I've recognized this problem in myself and vowed to overcome it. Before joining the Fraternity, I never thought of myself as a control freak -- if anything, I felt "organizationally challenged" and desired a little more control and strategy in my life. But it is not my life that I seem compelled to organize and control, in any case (that's still something I contemplate on the level of "impossible dream") -- it's the way that Christ chooses to show himself to me in my surroundings and in the community he's given me.
This topic probably requires its own blog post, so let's just leave it on the level of vague abstraction right now. Untiring Openness, Most Faithful Unity The above photo comes from the Communion and Liberation website and was taken during the March 24, 2007 audience with Pope Benedict XVI. Many diverse things have been happening in my life, lately, but in response to all of them, this phrase, "Untiring Openness, Most Faithful Unity," keep popping into my thoughts. Father Carron, in a letter he wrote to everyone in the movement before the audience, mentioned these words and said that they came from something Fr. I did a search, and didn't find the reference (maybe someone out there knows where this phrase comes from?), but I have been really moved (and corrected!) to consider what it means to be untiringly open and most faithful to unity.I especially appreciate the Italian word apertura, which means openness. It reminds me of the fact that a photograph cannot come into being without allowing light to enter through the aperture. Without this openness, beauty remains a fleeting thing that passes by me without ever moving me, and I have nothing to give, nothing to show, nothing even to say.
During the six years we had been living in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood, we had belonged to St.
I remember thinking that CL must be cool, since Sarah was also into CGS, and it was super cool, but aside from hearing about what it meant for her, I wasn't really very interested in it.
Well, he fell in love right away, and started giving me Father Giussani's books to read and asking me to come to School of Community.
But as for School of Community, I didn't want to give up an evening at home with my children so that I could meet with a bunch of adults to speak about Jesus -- my faith received such a powerful electric charge when I became a mother, and it seemed wrong not to include my children in every aspect of my spiritual journey. Even though my involvement with CL had become more consistent and serious when we moved to Ohio three years ago, it wasn't until the first Lent retreat we had here in my new town, led by Father Vincent, that I finally let my heart be fully engaged in CL. 1989A The beginning and end of Christian morality I've been reading ahead in Is It Possible to Live This Way? I have understood for a long time that freedom and morality are tightly bound in Father Giussani's thought. Moralism's answer, which says we have to suppress our desire, do violence to our desire, is useless, even mortally dangerous, to our souls.
During those very rich days, we heard a talk given by a priest whose name escapes me and who was introduced as the spiritual director for Memores Domini in Italy (or something -- I don't speak Italian!
It doesn't depend on anything or anyone else, so we have our freedom, and no one can limit us or our freedom to do it because I have all I need and you have all you need. How hard it is to understand this distinction until you've lived through the mistake of confusing them (and the consequences of this mistake -- which are loneliness and bitterness). Being among these people now, I see their beauty -- it is a profound beauty, one that makes me ask, "Who is this man who could cause such a miracle among these particular people?"What a different experience it was for me to go to the exercises with Marie, my fraternity sister! There is also a whole new dimension to the content of the exercises for me -- because I know that in our fraternity group I will be wrestling with what Father Carron's lessons mean for Marie, as well as for myself. What was particularly striking about this personal insight is that this is not the first time I've recognized this problem in myself and vowed to overcome it. This topic probably requires its own blog post, so let's just leave it on the level of vague abstraction right now. Word Among Us The Holy Rosary By Luigi Giussani.Sent by the Father- A A greeting at the close of a retreat of the Novices of the Memores Domini.
If there were no moments of this kind, the Mystery could do anything, but in the end, we would reduce everything to the usual explanation. But not even a Nobel Prize winner can stop himself from being dumbstruck before an absolutely gratuitous gesture.
If there were not these moments, we would find answers, explanations, and interpretations to avoid being struck by anything. It is good that some things happen that we cannot dominate, then we have to take them seriously, and this is the great question of philosophy. If this were not the case, then we could dominate everything and be in peace, or at least without drama.
Instead, not even the intelligence of a Nobel Prize winner could prevent him from coming face-to-face with a fact that made him dumbstruck -- instead of dominating, it was he who was dominated. It is the drama that unfolds between us and the Mystery, through certain facts, certain moments, in which the Mystery imposes itself with this evidence. These are facts that we cannot put in our pocket, which we cannot reduce to antecedent factors. This blossoming will not bloom only at the end of time; it has already begun on the dawn of Easter. The Spirit of Jesus, the Word made flesh, becomes an experience possible for ordinary man, in His power to redeem the whole existence of each person and human history, in the radical change that He produces in the one who encounters Him, and, like John and Andrew, follows Him.



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