Traces N.7, July/August 2012

The Journey of Summertime

We have often repeated (with Fr. Giussani) that our vacation is “the time of freedom,” because our free time reveals what we really care about most. But now we can substitute one expression with another–again from Fr. Giussani–that is becoming familiar: “the time of the person.” This phrase, which expresses so well the challenge we are facing in these hard times, has become a title suggested for the community vacations of the Movement. What is meant by “the time of the person”? What can we begin to discover about ourselves, in these weeks in which we are less occupied and the “social year” takes a break?
During a short vacation break in the mountains with a group of CL reponsibles, some points emerged in a dialogue with Fr. Julián Carrón that are worth taking note of, if we don’t want this provocation to end up just a slogan, and “the time of the person” become a label stuck onto a life that is drifting elsewhere.

The first fact is that the person is characterized by a journey. “It is not a concept, something closed, defined,” one of those present observed. “It’s a journey of growth.” It may be painful and tough, but it’s a journey. “And in order to make this journey, we have to run risks, risking our humanity right to the end.” There is no ambit that can spare us this risk. There is no place or circumstance that can make it automatic. There is no slogan that can replace the drama of living. Thank God.
Here, another factor comes into play, linked with this word “journey.” It cannot be taken for granted: starting off from here is not an obvious launching point. Before this year’s challenges (the crisis, politics, natural disasters) “many times we found ourselves shaken, confused,” Carrón said. “To say ‘I’ was the thing less taken for granted, even if we already had the ‘key’ for getting in.” Things don’t happen by chance. “In the life of those He calls, God does not allow anything to happen that is not for their maturing, for the maturing of those He has called,” Fr. Giussani said. “Which of us thought that what was happening was for our maturing?” Maturing: this is the challenge, and this is the journey that emerges before us, even in these coming weeks. All that happens–all: greatness and wretchedness; splendors and problems–are “asking me to take up a stance,” Carrón continued. “Either I can stop at the fact that there is an obstacle, or I can use it as a means for maturing.”

The great thing is that it is not something already decided. “We ourselves have to decide this: to use it for getting bogged down in the objection, or as an opportunity for something else.” To sink or to walk; to get wrapped up in ourselves and our ideas, or to mature. It’s not things that decide, it’s us, “our freedom,” the person.

Is there anything greater for which it is worth rejoicing or suffering, working or resting, walking in the mountains or going to the Rimini Meeting? The game is on. Have a good vacation, and a fine journey.