Father Luigi Giussani

A Charism To Live Today

On the 6th anniversary of his death, more than 200 Masses were offered throughout the world. Here are 3 extracts from the many homilies preached on those occasions, so as to grasp better "the secret, the passion, the power, and the joy of his every day."
Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi

On the 6th anniversary of his death, more than 200 Masses were offered throughout the world. Here are three extracts from the many homilies preached on those occasions, so as to grasp better "the secret, the passion, the power, and the joy of his every day," and the task that awaits us.

We are celebrating Fr. Giussani's dies natalis, the day of his definitive and eternal encounter with Christ, the culmination of that encounter that was the secret, the passion, the power, and the joy of his every day. Thus, the memory of his dies natalis gives us back the deepest and enthusing sense of Fr. Giussani's life and at the same time the particular sense of Communion and Liberation's spiritual, pastoral, educational, cultural, and social journey in the life and mission of the Church. For Christian life is not a mere idea, or precept, or initiative, or structure, or organization, but is, in its originary sense, a personal encounter with Christ.

By this encounter, Fr. Giussani was enthralled and won over, and he did nothing in his life except be the humble and intrepid "minister" of this encounter, enthralling in his turn and winning for Christ the people and realities he found on his way.... What can reawaken in us the desire, the hope, the need for a wisdom that can open us to the true meaning of living and loving, working and resting, suffering and dying? Lack of knowledge and sharing of this fundamental "sense" are the primary and crucial problems for our present and for our future. The answer to this unbearable lack can be nothing other than a concrete, living person, who can be met and experienced: Jesus Christ who is the wisdom of God made flesh, and crucified...

Dear friends, let us thank the Lord who with the faith has infused us with wisdom, has given us the "mind of Christ," that is to say, the ability to look at, know, evaluate, and judge reality–man, the world, and history–with the eyes and the mind of Christ.... This is the Christian faith, this is the horizon in which are set all our decisions, our choices, and our actions–in a word, our presence in the Church and in society. I am repeating to myself and confiding in you a conviction that I have at heart and that together we want to make more and more luminous as a credible and incisive witness in the historical moment we are living through....

In preparation, as it were, for May 1st, the day of the Venerable John Paul II's beatification, I conclude with the wish he left to you: "Never let the worm of habit, of routine, or old age, dwell in your belonging! Renew continually the discovery of the charism that has fascinated you, and it will lead you more forcefully to make yourselves servants of the one power who is Christ the Lord!" (Castelgandolfo, September 12, 1985). Through the intercession of Fr. Giussani whom we acknowledge as our brother and father, may it always be so, for the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, for the Memores Domini, for the Priestly Fraternity of St. Charles Borromeo, for the Sisters of Charity of the Assumption, and for all of us.
(Milan, February 28, 2011)

President of the Prefecture of Economic
Affairs of the Holy See
Six years have passed since his dies natalis, and the figure of Fr. Giussani shines more and more brightly and lives especially in the hearts of those who have been at his school, encountered Christ, and have had an indelible experience of him. … It would be wonderful to run through the steps of Fr. Giussani's religious experience and its development. Its first expression arose from the awareness of the ignorance of faith and above all the irrelevance of the person of Our Lord Jesus Christ even in young people engaged in the Church's life. His commitment was first of all to reawaken faith in them, to arouse the desire and the will to know the Christian faith better, to have an experience of Jesus Christ, and to rediscover the joy of belonging to Him and to the Church. Fr. Giussani was fascinated by the person of Jesus Christ.... His life and that of the Movement began a few years before the Council, lived through the Council, and the experience of the "post-Council." In the Church, new ways were tried, not always happy ones. Two currents in particular developed, both of them pernicious: the traditionalists and the progressives. Fr. Giussani's Movement could not be classified either as progressive or conservative. The reason is quite simple. It did not propose anything new or old.… In accepting the Church's tradition, Fr. Giussani did not find himself a prisoner of outdated schemes, but rather he perceived that in this way, instead of losing himself in the search for new doctrinal paths of which he felt no need, he was able to make use of the Church's rich philosophical, theological, and doctrinal heritage so as to deepen men's personal encounter with Christ and thus re-present the originary message with new force and vigor, in dialoguing in a sure way with contemporary culture and offering a certain answer to man's deepest needs. The centrality of the mystery of Christ, the incarnate Word, contemporary to every man... preserved Fr. Giussani from the temptations in which both renovators and traditionalists found themselves trapped, and enabled him to sail through the difficulties of life, particularly the post-conciliar period, upon the Barque of Peter and in fidelity to the Church....

In his book, Is It Possible to Live This Way?, Fr. Giussani reveals the secret of the religious experience in life taken up in communion with Jesus. Where is this secret? He replies, "Living with Him. How does one bear witness to Him? Living with Him. Someone who reads the Gospel every day, who receives Communion every day, someone who says, 'Come Lord Jesus,' someone who looks at certain of his companions for whom this has become habitual, can begin to feel what it means to live with Him. You can say living with Him in another way: living like Him." This is the ancient but ever new experience that Fr. Giussani has left us. Let us treasure it. It is the secret of full Christian existence.
(From L'Osservatore Romano, February 23, 2011)

Auxiliary Bishop of Miami
Father Giussani always had that quality of thinking faith deeply, personally; he internalized the faith of our catechism, the faith of our tradition. He was such an insightful articulator of that faith in expressing it in such a fresh and inviting way….

Today, I would like to share what Giussani has meant most to me in that articulation of the faith in such an attractive manner. It is his friendship with Christ, the encounter with Christ and friendship with Christ, Christ who comes to me. The many presences of Christ that come to our encounter are always that love that seeks the beloved, or the beloved that needs the lover. That encounter, as simple as it may be in a sacrament, in a person, is unique and unrepeatable. Benedict XVI, when he–a personal friend of Father Giussani–was elected Pope, in that first speech, talked about how great is that encounter with Christ, so much so that our hearts are transformed by it and we become light for others... There are Catholics in our midst who see their faith as the way of less effort, kind of a minimal effort, and we need to invite our brothers and sisters to rediscover the treasure, the pearl that is Christ. When one discovers that pearl, one cannot but live to love Him and to share Him with others.

Today in this Mass, it is also for me to thank the Lord, Eucaristia, for the movement of Communion and Liberation in our own archdiocese, which has blessed us in ways that were totally unexpected six years ago when it truly began flourishing here in Miami. Communion and Liberation is a movement that has a lot to offer, and has a unique contribution to offer to the life of the local church of Miami. I give thanks for the house of Memores Domini, this house of young men, consecrated to the Lord, who have given their lives for Christ.... And the School of Community for priests that for two years… has taken place at our College Seminary. So many seminarians from all the dioceses of Florida, both at St. John Vianney and at St. Vincent de Paul, have renewed their faith and have thought anew their faith thanks to the School of Community. And I am thankful for the quality of the international program at St. Brendan High School, where students coming from Italy and Spain are welcomed by different homes here in the archdiocese; the friendship that has developed between these families bespeaks of a program that we are very proud of. Last but not least, there is the presence in St. Michael's of Communion and Liberation and before at Visitation Parish....

The openness of the parish to this movement is a great blessing to the parish and it is a great blessing to the Movement. Particularly in its development in the United States, as Father Marino has said to me so many, many times, the parish is the context in which the Movement is to flourish. So, as you can see, we are very, very proud of what has happened in these six years which began exactly on the day that Father Giussani was passing away in Milan, and we were here in Miami praying for him. We look forward to the day when there might be a high school or an elementary school... that can show the richness of the pedagogy of the vision of Father Giussani in full gear, and I hope those that will be educated in that school and their parents and families will realize what a gift this charism is for our present and our future in this new evangelization.
(Miami, February 26, 2011)

Your Eminence: My and our thanks for your person is not only in reference to your heartfelt participation in the celebration this evening, on the sixth anniversary of Fr. Giussani's birth in heaven, but embraces your whole presence as Shepherd on the journey over all these years.
This finds an ideal and existentially provoking synthesis in the invitation you addressed to us on the occasion of the fourth centenary of the canonization of St. Charles Borromeo to reawaken and reinvigorate our awareness on the path to holiness, everyone's fundamental vocation and true, grand destiny in life [Homily, September 8, 2010].

Each of us is continually reminded of the greatness of our Destiny in the ever lively and ardent companionship of Fr. Giussani's charism, which enables us to verify in day-to-day circumstances, in these hard times for our country, what Your Eminence described as the "constitutive dimensions of the mystery of the Church: to be communion–in unity and variety–for the mission, for the announcement, and the witness of the Gospel today."
For this new step in our vocation to holiness, we ask, along with Your Eminence, following the invitation of the Holy Father in his message for Lent this year, the renewal of the awareness of our Baptism, "the encounter with Christ, which informs the entire existence of the baptized, imparting divine life and calling for sincere conversion; initiated and supported by Grace, it permits the baptized to reach the adult stature of Christ. (Benedict XVI's Message for Lent 2011)
Thank you, Eminence!