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Trust in the other

What does it mean to love? This is the most urgent question that recent events have provoked, especially in young people. And which calls on all adults. From "Repubblica", the letter of Matteo Severgnini, responsible of GS.
Matteo Severgnini*

Dear Director,

in the face of recent events, which challenge the humanity of each of us, a question arises: can the person be self-sufficient? Or as Leopardi would say, ‘what am I?’ and, therefore, ‘what does it mean to love?’. The urgency of an answer concerns everyone, first and foremost the family and school, but also the spheres of politics and work, culture, sport and communication, because the whole of society is founded on human relationships.

The recurrence of tragedies such as that of Giulia Cecchettin calls upon every adult to recover the awareness of the purpose and a renewed enthusiasm in the serious task of education: to offer the younger generations the hypothesis of a unitary proposal of meaning that they themselves, supported by a stable companionship, can personally verify, venturing into human existence and becoming its protagonists.

For this reason we feel called to offer, in a plural society, our contribution with a life proposal that introduces them to recognize the profound mystery inherent in every person.

The poet Rilke opens up a fruitful and promising horizon of meaning when he writes: “This is the paradox of love between man and woman: two infinite needs to be loved meet two fragile and limited capacities to love. On in the ambit of a greater love do they not consume themselves in pretension and do not resign themselves, but walk together, each towards a fullness of which the other is sign.” The beloved is a “sign”, they cannot respond exhaustively to the infinite desire to be loved that is present in the human heart.

The other is a sign of their and my original dependence on a Mystery greater than ourselves, as Fr. Giussani taught us when, for example, he recounted how he had asked two young people who were embracing each other in the street a strange question: “What does this have to do with the stars?”, reawakening the connection between the particular and the whole, restoring the proper proportion between that embrace and a greater destiny.

“To recognize depth where others see only the lifeless, mechanical appearance of things” (Pasolini), recognizing the other as a sign, as an irreducible reality, not in my possession, drives me towards its ‘veneration’, rather than towards an exhausting, even lethal consumption.

That “greater love (…) fullness of which the other is a sign” has been revealed in history in the face of Jesus from whom the Christian people were born, tirelessly trying and praying to live by loving the other with gratuitousness; the initiative of Cardinal Pizzaballa, who offered himself as a hostage in exchange for the liberation of other kidnapped people, and the mobilization of so many people for the Food Bank are testimony to this. In the embrace of that “greater love” it is possible to go as far as giving one's life for another, rather than snatching it away.

*responsible for Gioventù Studentesca (GS)