Frank discussions, advice, and opinions from a Catholic Director of Religious Education.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

God, Capaneus and the Mugwumps (Part One)

In his book, The Religious Sense, Monsignor Luigi Giusssani tells an interesting story about a young man who came to him for confession. Apparently, the youth had no faith to speak of, but went to the priest due to his mother's persistent requests. Monsignor Giussanni began to speak with him, but suddenly found himself laughed at as the young man brushed away his arguments.

"Listen, all that you are about to tell me is not worth as much as what I am about to tell you. You cannot deny that the true grandeur of man is represented by Dante's Capaneus, that giant chained by God to Hell, yet who cries to God, 'I cannot free myself from these chains because you bind me here. You cannot, however, prevent me from blaspheming you, and so I blaspheme you.' This is the true grandeur of man." -The Religious Sense, page 9

Intense, right? I can only imagine the look on Monsignor's face as this fellow spoke with such force and audacity. Yet, despite the shock he must have felt, Giussani composes himself and utters hauntingly: "But isn't it even greater to love the infinite?"
The boy left, but he had a point.

There is a terrible dignity in man's free will. It is the one true power of man, and this brash youth really appreciated that despite his error. To Giussani's credit, he doesn't debate this. It is grand, but he knew it was "greater to love"; to use our will to serve Another. 

Both men, though they disagreed, recognized the great dignity and importance of choice.  Consider that tonight, and check back tomorrow to find out what happened to the young man and why this is important for catechesis today.

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