Traces N.4, April 1999

Unity, Freedom, and Charity

The editorial presented here is the letter that Father Giussani addressed to the Priestly Fraternity of the Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo on the occasion of the pontifical recognition

Dear Friends,
Our certitude, and therefore our joy, is great on this day on which His Holiness has recognized once again the ecclesial authenticity of the charism of Communion and Liberation, which is the methodological basis and aim of your Priestly Fraternity.
Our age is the age that most resembles the beginnings of the Church, when the spread of the faith in the world marked the context with three factors: unity, freedom and charity, in other words a new humanity and a new society.
In the West we are still enjoying the temporal fruits of this charity, fruits that are tangible in history, but few realize-because they are not told-from where this charity flows. It flows from the fact of the world's greatest Event: God became man; and into the realm of man, that is always based on possession and therefore on violence, he brought the river of love, that is to say of the possibility of unity or the Kingdom of God.

In our charism a human unity is perceived and lived in its ontological content, from which everything derives, which is given at Baptism, the sacrament in which Christ gives himself to each person, taking up all those chosen as part of His Body, visible in history.
The human advantage of this unity has its origin in that for which Christ dies, that is to say the relationship lived by the "I" of the creature with God the creator, in other words our freedom. In this sense our unity can have diverse forms because it is born of the one charism which is a gift of Christ's Spirit.
This unity comes from the awareness of a new reality, all intent on a morality that is born firstly as an experience of gratuitousness; this is the highest human summit in history in which man imitates God who is charity.

Since the whole value of man is through grace, the process that brings about fulfillment in the human person cannot take place without the presence of Christ.
Friends, we were strangers and in the charity of Christ we became one, just as now we remain in the unity in which Christ gathered us.
The realization of the charism that has been given us in freedom, in the Church has become "school of the children of God," affecting the way of conceiving our relationships with the world as a whole and with the whole of history, cannot fail to produce works and therefore consistent changes in human events; in particular the passage from an age of barbarity-after original sin man cannot live his relationships except as affirmation of violence-to an era of civilization, where the person is the center of the cosmos and of all the relationships with the cosmos that the Mystery makes existential.

The only civilization that in historical memory has managed to penetrate almost the whole world, evidenced even today in the places where it has begun to bring about this change, is the Christian civilization.
The "World"-in other words power-that opposes what is sound and grows like a cancer spreading everywhere, condemning everyone and leaving them defenceless, represents the enemy of this divine Event. For this reason the Christian educated in our charism has a keen perception of all the anguish and the provisional nature of even the best answer to this and to the expectation of this humanity, offering his own presence as a service to every man and becoming a source of a network of relationships in which the fraternity of Christ is the whole law.

Dear Friends, I am telling you all this because the intelligent passion that life in Christ arouses invites all the forces that God has called up in Christ to line up in order to resist the tragic victory, historically speaking, of Evil over Good and in order to live the sacrifice, even to the death, that may accompany the Church's victory over Evil.
May I find you all a presence collaborating with my weakness and my goodwill and may God look on our life in the wonderful evidence that what the charism has begun in me be strengthened in you by mercy, which is the name most appropriate to the nature of the Mystery and that therefore forms the core of the mission in which life finds the fullness of its meaning.
It is through this mercy that I feel the beloved figure of Msgr. Massimo Camisasca to be a sign of our priestly and missionary election. With him the unity that I beg from the Spirit for the glory of Christ in time is great, as is great the certainty concerning all that the will of the Mystery will do in the future.

Fr. Luigi Giussani
Milan, March 19, 1999