Saturday, January 30, 2010

How To Make Sense Out Of Absurdity

How does one convey the Christian message to the people of our time? The old way of dealing with the message falls on deaf ears, the message was heard and discarded, it is understood to be a bunch of dos and don'ts and the response-- not interested. Disinterest is more evident today. The youth are bored by religion. They are searching but it is unending.This vacuum in lives is seen and experienced and some moved to do something.

In the twentieth century we have had a number Catholic movements started by lay people who felt this emptiness in life, Mr. Francisco (Kiko) Arg├╝ello is one of these. He started the Neocatechumenal Way in the slums of Spain in 1964 with Ms Carmen Hernandez.

In Kiko's own life he felt a profound existential crisis and accepted the philosophy of Sartre: the world is absurd all is absurd. He dedicated himself to art and although he was successful it all meant nothing. "It meant absolutely nothing, to live for what? To paint. And why paint? To make money. What for, If nothing satisfies me? I knew that sooner or later I'd shoot myself, I'd kill myself."

At the height of the crisis he read another philosopher, Bergson, "who says that intuition is a... way..., deeper than reason itself, of arriving at truth. And surprised, I found that, deep inside, my artist's intuition did not accept the absurdity of existence; I was aware of the beauty of a tree, of the beauty of things; there is something there that can't be absurd. Then if the absurd is not the truth, if there is a reason for being... the next step was: then somebody created us.... At that moment... something in me told me that God existed... that God loved me... that I was a son of God. And with great surprise I found...that this God that appeared in my heart, in my deepest soul, was Jesus Christ, the Jesus Christ of the Catholic Church."

As time past this teaching was embodied in a catechetical syntheses, founded on what is called the tripod: Word of God- Liturgy- Community that seeks to lead people to fraternal communion and mature faith. It is a message of Joy and given for free to anyone who opens his heart to receive it.

The priests of the Incheon Diocese this past week had a five day retreat conducted by a priest of the Neocatechumenal Way. It was the old story told in a way that made it clear to all that Christianity is not a teaching of morality or dogma but accepting Jesus into our lives. He came to divinize us. To make us like Him. He made us to be happy in the only way that true joy can be found, living in and with Him.

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