Milan, November 3, 2008
Taking part in the Synod of Bishops, which, as you well know, had as its theme, “TheWord of God in the Life and Mission of the Church,” gave me a keener grasp of our responsibility in the Church and in the world. First of all, through what emerged during the work of the Synod: that the word of God is an “event”–Jesus Christ–who goes on being present in history through the Church’s life. Therefore, the relationship with the living tradition of the Church assimilates us with the novelty witnessed by the Biblical text and makes us share the same experience as those who met Jesus Himself. So, as the Pope said at the beginning of the Synod, all our fellow men can discover “the present in the past, the Holy Spirit who speaks to us today in the words of the past.” The Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation will point the way for our faith and as such we are all waiting for it.
Precisely in virtue of the Spirit’s action in His Holy Church, we all need a greater awareness. I lived the fact of being appointed by Benedict XVI as a Synod Father as a sign of esteem for our Movement, but above all as a call to give our contribution to the Church’s life. This call was then confirmed by my election as a relator: this meant being the spokesman for the Spanish language group and it implied, above all, greater involvement in the work of the Synod, collaborating directly with the Relator General in giving form to the final Propositions. Many came to me during the days spent together, moved by an interest in or by fondness for our experience.
All this aroused in me the desire to write to you so as to share the experience I had with you–because it concerns you, too–, since it has made me look back over our history to discover the step that I believe we are asked to take. I identify very concisely three phases in our history:
1st phase: the beginning. The birth of the Movement can be characterized by the same dynamics that occur whenever the Spirit breaks into history and arouses a charism for the good of the Church. Like every initiative of the Spirit, our charism, too, was welcomed not without misunderstandings and even hostility, because it could not in any way be confined within preconceived schemes. Not all the suffering of those years was, however, due to the natural resistance that the Spirit’s novelty always meets. It was also due to our immaturity, which only Fr. Giussani’s educative force enabled us to correct and overcome. The Church’s patience in our regard was a sign of her motherhood.
2nd phase: the recognition. The end of Paul VI’s pontificate and the pontificate of John Paul II meant for our Movement authoritative recognition and full acceptance in the life of the Church. The unforgettable expression of this was the meeting in St. Peter’s Square with Benedict XVI, on March 24, 2007. We find an ulterior confirmation in the esteem and interest shown by many at the Synod. So we are called to deepen further our own awareness of our experience.
3rd phase: the charism for the Church and for the world. Today, we are called to become more aware of the aim for which the Spirit gave a charism to Fr. Giussani: to contribute along with all the baptized to the building up and renewal of the Church for the good of the world. Following His usual method, God gives grace to one person so that through him it may reach everyone.We shall be unfaithful to the nature of our charism if the gift we have received is not shared with everyone, inside and outside the Church.
So each one of us must find out in his own circumstances how best he can contribute to the good of the Church. There are many ambits in which many of us are making Christ present with astonishing freedom and boldness. This presence of ours in real places where man’s life goes on must not fall short. At the same time, though, we are asked at times to collaborate inside the Church, too. Many of you have been giving this contribution for some time–as catechists in the parish, by charity work, and other forms of collaboration–and we must be found more and more available where our presence is asked for and welcomed. This contribution cannot but be in accordance with the nature of our charism, which finds its complete expression in witness.
I am convinced that this step that the Spirit is asking of us will bring us closer and closer to the heart of the mystery of Christ, in such a way as to be able to witness anywhere at all, even through our frailty.
Together in the adventure,
Fr. Julián Carrón
Milan, November 3, 2008