Traces N.2, February 2002

The Lesson of Charity

As this month’s editorial, we offer Fr Giussani’s article which appeared on the front page of the Italian daily newspaper Corriere della Sera, February 3, 2002

Dear Editor,
We cannot help voicing our participation in the gesture by which God, through the Pope and other religious leaders, has called today’s man to order with unmistakable clarity. “Justice, because there can be no true peace without respect for the dignity of persons and peoples. But forgiveness too, because human justice is subject to frailty and to the pressures of individual and group egoism,” John Paul II said in Assisi, certain that only God can administer justice. We took part in these things deeply moved by the Pope’s energy and the tension of the other religious figures.

May the call for an upbringing that starts with parents and yields a good and operative result find a welcome in the Pope’s hands and an adequate reading of history in his humanity, and thus a weightier counsel for the hardness of so many hearts, even of believers, so as to flood the heart of all believers with Christ’s mercy, “For he is the peace between us, and has made the two into one entity and broken down the barrier which used to keep them apart, by destroying in his own person the hostility” (Eph 2:14).

It is very clear that a real adherence to a conception of God as mercy can form persons to live what Christians feel to be expressed by the term used in all their catechisms: charity. By this we do not wish to negate others’ attitude, but to affirm sincerely what distinguishes us, in active respect for everyone else. In this way, may the presentation of the reasons emerging in the sensibility of believers find a broad consensus also in the instinct to educate which dwells in each of us, in the schools, and in the newspapers. May the destructive force be thus weakened, because the sincerity of attitude expressed in this way is an intense participation in the truth of living to the full. This sincerity “does not lead to opposition and still less to disdain of others, but rather to constructive dialogue, a dialogue in which each one, without relativism or syncretism of any kind, becomes more deeply aware of the duty to bear witness and to proclaim.”

May God who died on the cross to rise again illuminate the reason which all Christian hearts–especially young people and those who hold power in their hands–must find in this admonition from the Lord.

The Pope is a realist, therefore he invited everyone to pray: for praying is not like a last resort on the edge of a sea of ice in which every human urge toward a desired response seems to end up; it “is not to escape from history and the problems which it presents.”

Prayer, which is entreaty to God, is the outpost of man who throws himself so unarmed into the daily struggle. I thank the Holy Father for the example that he has always given, in this place of battle for Christians and non-Christians which is the world.
Luigi Giussani