Traces N.5, May 2016

Longing to Learn His Gaze

This issue’s editorial is the letter written by Fr. Julián Carrón to Communion and Liberation after the audience with Pope Francis on April 14th, and one year after the meeting with the Movement in St. Peter’s square.

Dear friends:
As you know, on April 14th I had the grace of Pope Francis receiving me in an audience, one year after the meeting with him in St. Peter’s Square that is still fresh in all of our memories. As I traveled to Rome, I was overwhelmingly moved as I read the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, through which the Holy Father once again offered us precious documentation of his gaze on our struggles and wounds, and those of our human brothers and sisters, in this case of families, in the light of the joyful love that has reached us through Christ. The Holy Father is well aware of the faithfulness with which we follow him and the Holy See, and for this–to my great surprise–he thanked me right away, at the beginning of our conversation. The audience was first and foremost an opportunity to express all of my and our gratitude for the untiring insistence with which he witnesses to us the care, full of mercy for humanity and for the world, which springs forth from faith in Christ. I conveyed to him with joyful conviction that all of us, myself first of all, want to learn his way of looking at man and at reality more and more; I assured him that I never tire of proposing it to you, my friends, each time that we meet. I told Pope Francis that his tender and fervently interested embrace of the life of every single person, meeting them in the concreteness of their circumstances, is especially visible–both through the actions that everyone has noticed, and through the Exhortation Amoris Laetitia. I informed him that I had invited the regional leaders of the Movement to immerse themselves in reading the document, to enter as much as possible into this gaze, so that, more and more, it may be our gaze in our relationships with friends and all those we meet. I’ll take advantage of the opportunity with this letter to extend that invitation to all of you. In the future, we will find ways to help each other to enter into the richness of the document together. During the meeting, I was able to describe where we are along the shared journey of the experience of the Movement throughout the world, about our direction and the difficulties. I was happy to find the Pope was well-informed about the path we have set upon over the last few years. You can imagine how much I–aware of the ultimate responsibility entrusted to me in the communional leadership of all of you–felt comforted by the Pope’s encouragement to continue without hesitation along the road of going deeper in the charism that we have received from Fr. Giussani. As I left the audience, I found myself full of wonder at having more clearly perceived the profound consonance between Pope Francis and Fr. Giussani.
Thus, I don’t think there’s anything that can help us more than constantly striving to identify with the witness that Pope Francis offers us each day. I found this consonance expressed in the following words from Fr. Giussani, which are truly freeing and have been the dominant theme of my days lately. I offer them to you as well, in case they may be of help in living the supreme responsibility of witness that Pope Francis and the Church expect from our Fraternity, which means from each one of us: “The Christ Event is the true source of the critical attitude, since it does not mean finding the limitations of things, but discovering their value. […] It is the Event of Christ that creates the new culture and gives rise to true criticism. Valuing the good in all things, however little or however much, commits us to create a new civilization, to love a new construction. Thus a new culture is born, as the bond uniting all the fragments of good that are found, in striving to give them importance and to make them work. You stress the positive, despite its limitations, and you leave the rest to the Father’s mercy” (Generating Traces in the History of the World, McGill-Queen’s University Press, Montreal 2010, p. 117). Let us not forget to pray each day for Pope Francis–who is truly a gift from God to His Church–in these times of monumental changes, as he is always asking everyone he meets to do, because of the awareness he has of his own need. May this prayer also become for us a reminder to recognize what is lacking in us during this Holy Year of Mercy.

Your friend in the thrilling adventure of faith,
Fr. Julián Carrón