in the late afternoon of January 9 our beloved Jesús Carrascosa, 'Carras' to all of us, ascended to Heaven. The Lord called him to Himself a few weeks after the discovery of an illness that was immediately understood to be serious. Carras pronounced his definitive 'yes' to Christ with his wife Jone and his friends beside him, the close faces of that great companionship to which, after meeting Fr. Giussani, he tirelessly dedicated his life.
In his encounter with Fr. Giussani he found a convincing answer to what he was looking for: Christianity is a fact, and the method to learn this fact is to be within a companionship of friends who recognise themselves as united because Christ is present. In one of his testimonies during an Easter Triduum of GS students, he said: “Giussani said that faith is the recognition of a Presence; in other words, it does not merely concern someone who came and went, like I thought when I was a boy. He also said that to pray is to engage in memory of this Presence, which is the answer to all our questions. I have understood all of this thanks to don Giussani, and to young people like yourselves who followed him. I have discovered that the unifying factor is this You: the You of Christ is the unifying factor, which gives us this capacity for friendship which we call communion: ‘For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them,’ ‘and behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age,’ ‘I pray […] that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe.’ This being at one together, thanks to Him, is the key happiness in life.”
He has been a great friend to me. While I am sure that he is enjoying the embrace of Christ, for whom he spent every moment of his life without calculation, at this moment I strongly miss his contagious enthusiasm, his affection and his humble wisdom.
Just before Christmas I went to Madrid to meet him and Jone. I was struck to see him, in his fatigue and suffering, so full of joy, curiosity and availability. Just as Jone, well aware of what was going on, testified to me a profound confidence. In front of a man and a woman who were so free from the shackles of fear and pain, which normally afflict you in illness, you begin to yearn for the same joy, the same curiosity, the same availability. You become attached to them, to that bond that overwhelmingly expresses that there is something more: Christ, “Christ is the unifying factor, which gives us this capacity for friendship which we call communion.” Carras has been a father to many of us, because in following him we have learned to recognise that principle of true unity, of true communion. It was the same for me: he was a father to me because of the way he offered and proposed to me what he first followed, the presence of Christ.
This has become even clearer to me in recent times, seeing how easy it was for him to follow the steps that were asked of us by the Church with genuine intelligence and affection, matured in gratitude and prayer. And I learned in dialogues with him how moving it is for a father to walk together with a son along the path he once showed him as a young man.
United with all of you in prayer, I would also like to express the closeness and gratitude of our embrace to Jone with these tender words that Fr. Giussani said at the Fraternity Exercises: “Think of a family like that of Carras, who has taken the responsibility of leading the movement in all its missionary actions, which are present in sixty-four countries around the world. What a wife he must have, eh! Because I always say to men: you are like this, you are really good, but the first merit is that of your wife, who allows you to do these things. In any case, his wife is like him.” That he was fully aware and grateful for this was clear from the way he always looked at her, right up to his last moments.
Thank you Carras for your friendship, thank you for everything. Now that you contemplate the face of the Father you loved so much, continue to accompany us as we continue this exciting journey together.
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