Follow by Email

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Beatification of Luigi Giussani

It is with great joy that, on this first day of Lent, I announce that first steps have been taken towards the beatification of Monsignor Luigi Giussani, the Italian founder of Communion and Liberation. He's probably the main reason why I'm Catholic, yet I'm afraid that I wouldn't have paid any attention to the CL Movement if I were still living in Italy. Over there all intellectuals identify the Movement with the extreme political conservatives, pretty much because of the same issues which are dividing America, namely issues related to sex. But at School of Community we have already read four books written by Msgr. Giussani, and there is absolutely nothing political about them, nor there is any talk about sexuality.He writes about faith from an intellectual point of view, reminding us at the same time of a very simple concept: If our faith doesn't change us into better persons, then we are not following Christ.

Msgr. Giussani made a real effort in articulating the rational aspect of faith, especially in "The Religious Sense". His writings are often on the same wavelength with those of Pope Benedict, who said:

"Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a Person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction."

Going to School of Community meetings I realized that we participants share a common experience: We are experiencing the presence of Christ in our lives as something that coincides with our inner self, and the rational aspect of this consists in the awareness that to deny it would mean to deny ourselves. We are magnetized by Jesus' exceptionality. This is already a miracle, which works through those pages that were written about Him two thousands years ago and that sound bizarre to many. Those who don't grasp His presence in the Gospels block the intelligence of their heart with rationalism. But we acknowledge an experience that is mysterious, but it's still of this world. Msgr. Giussani described it perfectly:

"There is a factor here inside…that decides this companionship, certain results…and resonances…of which you hear the echo, taste the fruit, see also the consequences, but you are not able to see it directly. If I say 'So, then it doesn't exits', I'm mistaken, because I eliminate something of experience."

At the same time, we feel that Christ is outside of our being, for we have changed and we know that we haven't done so out of will or self-convincing. We are aware that we couldn't have accomplished such an internal revolution on our own. We opened our heart to Jesus and He did it for us. Jesus doesn't speak of the truth, rather He IS the truth, and brings with Himself all the consequences of this recognition. His presence is unexplainable, surprising, yet real. We can only perceive it if we go beyond the limits of our reason, but the only rational thing we can do is to acknowledge it, for if we deny it we would have to deny ourselves.

"Faith is the subversive and surprising modality of everyday things." said Msgr. Giussani . How does it come about? By grace, I feel I received it by grace. My only merit is that I freely said yes to it and let it define myself. I did not create Jesus in my mind, rather I met Him, and my faith is the product of this encounter. But it wouldn't have lasted if I had not felt His companionship and its consequences in my life. A beautiful theory wouldn't do it for any of us. It would be like talking about love instead of living with our beloved.
Jesus said:
"I am with you, always, until the end of ages."
And He meant it.

1 comment:

Manny said...

God bless him. He seems like a good man.