The few lines Fr. Giussani wrote about the beginning of the Meeting, (reprinted in this special number of Traces) express clearly the concern that guided him all his life: the generation of the subject, of an adult who is passionate about life. All the rest is the consequence of this. All the newness of his educative approach is concentrated in this gesture.
Fr. Giussani’s words just after the conclusion of the first Meeting in 1980 invite us to become conscious of the origin of everything. This is crucial for an anniversary like this 40th Meeting, because it helps us not take for granted the wellspring: this awareness is the only thing that will enable duration over time, while everything else seems to fade away. Fr. Giussani warned, “If it’s not an expression of [the new event],” of this awareness, “then it’s over, even if we do lots of things! If we [just] do lots of things, at the most we’ll produce resistance, we’ll build a wall of resistance against the flood. And this resistance will inevitably be overcome.”
Thus the fundamental question is to identify where an adult subject is generated, one able to create a cultural expression equal to the challenges of the times we live in. The answer to this question lies in the very history of the Meeting. If we look at who has supported it for years and who supports it today, the one adequate response is that the “place” that generated it, as Fr. Giussani already recognized in 1980, was the belonging to the Movement. Only the Christian event, lived as the wellspring of an ideal, is able to create friendship, that is, a space to encounter “a person with a message within.” As we have repeated all year, this was Fr. Giussani’s starting point for responding to the challenge of the 1968 protests and upheavals: not one’s own action, but “a presence charged with proposal,” is the only thing that can withstand the test of time.
In order to continue organizing a manifestation of this caliber, it is necessary to belong to the place that generates adults and can propose an ideal so fascinating that it is felt to be the greatest good for oneself, and thus offered as such to others as well.
From the very beginning, the Meeting has been a place of encounter, a space of freedom where you can share your identity in dialogue with other subjects, for mutual enrichment. Therefore, above all in a moment of conflicts, a place like the Meeting is all the more relevant.
May the celebration of this important milestone not obscure the restlessness of which Saint Augustine wrote, which flows more or less consciously from the inner depths of whoever will be in Rimini–organizers, volunteers, guests and visitors–the restlessness that Fr. Giussani urged at the end of his talk at the 1985 Meeting: “My hope for me and for you is to be restless always, to never be at rest again!”
(This text is the introduction of a special issue of Traces dedicated to the Meeting on its 40th anniversary, which brings together some of the discourses of Don Giussani and Julián Carrón from past editions.)
- Carrón introduction for Traces special issue 508 KBCarrón's introduction for Traces special issue