Traces N.8, September 2002

Living Fountain

What I want to tell you is like a clearer and more profound vindication than can be imagined on the apparent uselessness of life, on the apparent negativity of plans. Whoever has not experienced it, whoever has not felt it, and thus has not done it continually, creates in his life things that are really ugly. The most beautiful poetry in the world is Dante’s “Hymn to Our Lady” in the Paradiso, in which no one has been interested for centuries and now is maybe remembered by some fan of Benigni: “Maiden yet a Mother, daughter of thy Son, high beyond all other, lowlier is none, fixed goal of the eternal counsel,” the inexorable indication of Him who planned all things, designed the entire cosmos which is His expression. For “Thou the consummation planned by God’s decree when our lost creation nobler rose in thee. Thus His place prepared He who all things made ’mid his creatures tarried in thy bosom laid”–this is the most fascinating aspect of Dante’s expression–“there His love He nourished, warmth that gave increase to the Root whence flourished our eternal peace”–in this warmth grew our eternal peace, without faint-heartedness, without the shame of lies, without deception of any sort. Warmth is the word that indicates all the deep ineffable fascination of this life of the cosmos that the spirit of the Eternal set into motion. Dante goes on: “Here you are for us the midday torch of charity,” you are the sure point of love, “and below among mortals you are the living fountain of hope.”

I chose to read these lines to you again, because my wish for you lies completely in this idea: “Here you are for us the midday torch of charity, and below among mortals you are the living fountain of hope.”

Among all the nations of the universe you are the living fountain of hope, an endless source of hope. Again and again, you offer hope as the meaning of everything: the light of lights, the color of colors, the other of others.

You are the living fountain of hope. Hope is the one station where the great train of eternity makes a brief stop. You are the living fountain of hope for, without hope, there is no chance for life. Man’s life is hope, it is hope that I invite your eyes to seek–your eyes that have been sharpened in these days by the many voices you have heard. Among mortals you are the living fountain of hope. The figure of Our Lady is truly the figure of hope, the certainty that in the pavilions of the universe (as medieval people would say) you are the spring of water that can be heard running day and night, night and day.

May this living fountain of hope be every morning the most gripping and tenacious meaning of life possible. This is why we are friends. Let us remain friends. How can we remain friends? We cannot help being friends, because of this. Even in my decrepit old age I wanted to say this to you: hope is one, one alone, having in its objectivity its only content in the imposition of herself that Our Lady gives to the world. You are the living fountain of hope. May this fountain be lively every morning. In the past few years these thoughts have become familiar to me, and spontaneously one is assailed by joy, even if it only lasts a short while. It is a short while, but is an emergence of the truth of all of life.

You are the living fountain of hope. I wish you all to be my companions on the road, feeling a deep friendship even though we don’t know one another directly. We know each other indirectly, but even better than if we knew each other directly. Living fountain, “Maiden yet a Mother… Thou the consummation planned by God’s decree.” Fantastic! Saying it seventy years later is truly impressive. It is evident that nothing in the world is sure except in this. Ciao, and forgive my impertinence.
Luigi Giussani