Saturday, February 23, 2008

Monsignor Luigi Giussani, 1922-2005


Teacher, friend, passionate witness

...My first thought goes to your Founder, Mons. Luigi Giussani, to whom many memories bind me and who became a true friend of mine. Our last meeting, as Mons. Carrón mentioned, took place at the Cathedral in Milan, in February about two years ago, when our beloved John Paul II sent me to preside at his solemn funeral. Through him, the Holy Spirit raised in the Church a Movement, yours, that would witness to the beauty of being Christian in an age when the opinion was spreading that Christianity is a difficult and oppressive way to live. Fr Giussani then committed himself to awaken in youth the love for Christ, "Way, Truth and Life", repeating that only he is the way towards the fulfillment of the deepest desires of the human heart, and that Christ does not save us regardless of our humanity, but through it. As I was able to recall in his funeral homily, this courageous priest, who grew up in a home poor in bread but rich in music, as he himself liked to say, from the beginning was touched, or rather wounded, by the desire for beauty, though not any sort of beauty. He sought Beauty itself, the infinite Beauty which is found in Christ...

...On an anniversary dear to you, the Pope still wants yet again to repeat that the original pedagogical intuition of Communion and Liberation lies in reproposing the Christian event within contemporary culture in a fascinating and harmonious way, perceived as a font of new values and able to orient one's entire existence.

The event that changed the life of the Founder has also "wounded" a great many of his spiritual sons and daughters, and has given way to multiple religious and ecclesial experiences which form the history of your vast and well-organized spiritual Family. Communion and Liberation is a community experience of faith, born in the Church not by the will of an organized hierarchy but originating from a renewed encounter with Christ and thus, we can say, by an impulse derived ultimately from the Holy Spirit. Still today, it offers a profound way of life and it actualizes the Christian faith, both in a total fidelity and communion with the Successor of Peter and with the Pastors who assure the governing of the Church and through spontaneity and freedom that permit new and prophetic, apostolic and missionary achievements... (ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI TO COMMUNION AND LIBERATION PILGRIMAGE PARTICIPANTS, St Peter's Square, Saturday, 24 March 2007)


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Dumbstruck by the Mystery

...our temptation is always to impose our prejudices or our measure on reality -- except when we are faced with a fact that leaves us dumbstruck, and instead of dominating the fact ourselves, we are dominated, overcome by it. If there were no moments of this kind, the Mystery could do anything, but in the end, we would reduce everything to the usual explanation. But not even a Nobel Prize winner can stop himself from being dumbstruck before an absolutely gratuitous gesture. If there were not these moments, we would find answers, explanations, and interpretations to avoid being struck by anything. It is good that some things happen that we cannot dominate, then we have to take them seriously, and this is the great question of philosophy. If the conditions for the possibility of knowledge (see Kant) impose themselves on reality or if there is something that is so powerfully disproportionate that it does not let itself be "grasped" by the conditions of possibility, then the horizon opens. If this were not the case, then we could dominate everything and be in peace, or at least without drama. Instead, not even the intelligence of a Nobel Prize winner could prevent him from coming face-to-face with a fact that made him dumbstruck -- instead of dominating, it was he who was dominated. Here begins the drama, because I am called to answer. It is the drama that unfolds between us and the Mystery, through certain facts, certain moments, in which the Mystery imposes itself with this evidence. These are facts that we cannot put in our pocket, which we cannot reduce to antecedent factors.
-- Julian Carron in "Friends, that is, Witnesses."