The Nashville community with Bishop Mark Spalding. Courtesy of Meghan Isaacs.

Living With Fullness

After attending her community's annual memorial mass for Msgr. Luigi Giussani, Meghan reflects on what the Movement means for her own life and that of her newborn son.

On March 2, Bishop Mark Spalding of Nashville celebrated the annual memorial mass for Fr. Luigi Giussani with the local Communion and Liberation community. We were moved that he took time out of his busy schedule to celebrate mass for fifteen people and to join us afterward for lunch. Though he knew little about the Movement, he was clearly happy to see the Church alive among young people (most of our community members qualify as Millennials). In fact, he extended a standing offer to celebrate the memorial mass for us every year. His presence with us was truly that of a shepherd and a real sign of Christ present in the magisterium of the Church.

Bishop Spalding left us with a strong call to evangelization, convinced we had something to offer the Church in Nashville. “Keep inviting people to your group!” he implored. Yet for me, this call to evangelization was challenging. As a first-time mom, even making it out of the house and to the mass with my six-week-old baby seemed an olympic feat. These days our family seems to be constantly in pure “survival mode.” What is more frustrating, however, is that conversations with other parents, coworkers, friends, etc. encourage it. We hear over and over, “It will get better,” and jokes about how we’ll sleep again and resume life when our son turns eighteen. So many of our peers also accept living in survival mode, and together we look forward to restarting “real life” when the kids are all grown. This is fine for small talk, but my desire (and my husband’s) is much greater than to simply survive. Instead, we long to live these days—chaotic and tiring as they may be—with fullness, aware of the Mystery working in our lives, and we desire the same for our son. The mass celebrating the life of Fr. Giussani and the history of the Movement was a concrete reminder that this history is for my son, too. I saw a place where I am accompanied and a relationship from which I can begin again each day. I saw that there is Someone who meets my desire now. I understood that the primary task of evangelization (of whom the first recipient is my son) is not to postpone my desires or to settle for survival mode.

In the end, the most beautiful part of the day for me was being there with our newborn son. I was struck by the impossibility that he would grow up in Tennessee in the 21st century within this history begun by Fr. Giussani across the ocean over fifty years ago. Yet there we were, singing “Povera Voce” in the chapel with our community. I was left awestruck, wondering, “Who am I to be entrusted with this child?” His existence is a fact—a miracle—that cannot be measured by my willingness or ability to do anything.

Meghan, Tennessee, USA