Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Encounter in New York

I spent three days in New York City without leaving the block of 33rd (or was it 34th St.?) and 8th Ave (or was it 7th?).  I didn't wave furiously behind any talk show windows.  I didn't even see Times Square, Central Park, the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty.  Yet, I can say, I didn't miss a thing.

Not that those "tourist attractions" aren't fine and dandy, but for me, my reality led me elsewhere: to the New Yorker Hotel and Manhattan Center (both on the same city block) for three days of lessons, exhibits and cultural performances.  I saw folk dancing from five unique countries, heard a presentation on the American painter, William Congdon, toured exhibits on the White Rose and John Henry Newman, and attended an awesome concert that toured through the roots of American music: blues, jazz, and rock and roll.

My weekend was explicitly a challenge to embrace reality with the positive hypothesis that it was PERFECT FOR ME.  And I fought that a lot--I had to be at meetings when my friends could sleep in...I had to volunteer when others could chat, etc.  But when I really obeyed, I saw with super-clarity that in this place with these people--the co-ordinators of the event are from the Movement Communion and Liberation--the infinite needs of my heart are taken seriously.

So, I could have gone to tour around New York City by myself, but, instead, I stayed to test this hypothesis of reality being positive.  Is reality positive?  How do you know?  I heard this over and over and continue to keep that question alive while I'm here in Indianapolis?  Is reality against me?  Or is there Someone who knows my name and is so Present in my life I can't avoid Him for much longer?

I'm so unbelievably grateful for the witnesses in my life who show me the simplicity of following Christ--just allow yourself to be surprised and allow yourself to be moved.  It is here, that we discover, not only our truest humanity, but the Beloved!  I'm not perfect at this recognition, nor do I have all the answers, but I do know that I'm on the path.

Another blog post about the New York Encounter from Fr. Alex Zenthoefer of the Diocese of Evansville:  http://fralexz.blogspot.com/2012/01/true-encounter-in-big-apple.html

Click below to see a small sampling of Fr. Carron's address to us about Fr. Giussani's book, At the Origin of the Christian Claim.  If you look VERY closely, you will see me in the audience! :)

What is Christianity?