instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Friday, June 17, 2005

The human drama

Logres directs me to a Godspy article, "Faith and the Human Drama," by Peter John Cameron, OP.

Fr. Cameron was the speaker at last week's Third Order Congress who made the point about Dominicans starting with the virtues rather than the commandments. He also wrote the passion play we saw Friday evening, and is the founding editor of the American edition of Magnificat.

The article shares a theme Fr. Cameron mentioned in his talk last week:
One main reason why the human being lives bereft of the meaning of life is because he has nothing to inspire him to search the depths of his self so as to discover the truth of his human "I." For the person who confronts the evidence of his own existence comes face to face with three key truths about the human "I":
  • first, I didn't make myself;
  • second, I have desires that I did not give myself and that I cannot delete which are infinite in their scope; and
  • third, I live with the expectation that I will be happy -- the certainty that I have been promised meaning and fulfillment in my life.
In his talk, he suggested Dominicans are well-suited to accompanying people as they face these truths. In the article, he describes theater's role in this.
We go to the theatre to experience an encounter -- not an encounter only with an "idea", but an encounter with a personal presence that corresponds to something primal and vital in the human soul.

... Theatre in the service of the evangelization of culture recognizes and takes full advantage of the "sacredness" of acting as a participation in God's chosen method of salvation -- the Father sent Jesus Christ the actor into human history.
Fr. Cameron also marshals quotations from our two most recent Popes to show that the medium of the theatre is, not action, but language. And when you have an actor present and speaking to an audience of people who have come to hear the actor speak to them, you have a vehicle that in important ways parallels the revelation of the Father's love in Jesus Christ. As Monsignor Luigi Giussani, the founder of the ecclesial Movement Communion and Liberation, is quoted, "the true motive of communication is affection."