Monday, January 17, 2011

A Deeper Understanding of What It Means to be Moral

"Morality is less a set of abstract principles or laws than a way of honoring a relationship." - Luigi Giussani."

"I am using the word ‘moral’ or ‘morality’ in its deepest, essential sense which is the position of a person in front of Being, that is, in front of life, in front of existence as origin, consistency, destiny—let’s say destiny, which encompasses everything.  It is not coherence with some rules, because this is moralism; morality is the position in front of Being. To have this sympathy in front of Being doesn’t require any special characteristic or energy of our will, something that makes one become a saint because he has this energy, while I, being a poor wretch, don’t have it. Morality is not this; it is not my capacity to be coherent with certain rules, but rather the position I have in front of the sun, my wife, the mountains, the gaze of Christ. Can anyone among us raise his hand and say that he is lacking something to be able to surrender to this gaze? Whatever the level of difficulty of the circumstance he is in at the moment, does he need some particular energy? He needs simply to surrender."

- Julian Carron. p. 35. Living is the Memory of Me. August 2010. La Thuile, Italy.  Assembly of Responsibles of Communion and Liberation. Trace (magazine).

In terms of understanding the above, one way in which I understand it is to say that to be fully moral is to be completely present with all of my humanity, before reality.  To me, being completely present means without defenses--being completely honest in relation to myself, as well as being completely vulnerable. To me, reality means life, existence, facts, our experiences, and encounters.  The above definition of morality is not based on rules but on respect for relationships.  To feel guilt over an act or a relationship is to be present before the memory of the act or relationship, with our humanity.  To become more moral in this sense, we must work to become more fully and completely human.

I should explain to readers who are either not Christians or fellow travelers of the Communion and Liberation movement that in reference to destiny, our ultimate destiny means union with Christ.  Furthermore, the more we follow Christ and attempt to live the gospel, the more human we become.  The fullness of humanity is to be found in Christ.

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