Traces N.9, October 2012

The Most Precious Gift

The Meeting, with its final press release, takes stock of 2012 edition, presenting the theme and the title of the next one.

It is always exhilarating to begin a new work, but even more so when this work coincides with the decisive issue of life. And faith–acknowledging the Presence of Christ, in the circumstances that reality sets before us–is the fact that is the most decisive for our existence in every instant.
This is the reason Benedict XVI wanted the Year of Faith, which opens October 11th, “to rediscover and to receive once again this precious gift which is faith, in order to have a deeper knowledge of the truths that are our lifeblood, to lead the people of today, who are often distracted, to a renewed encounter with Jesus Christ, ‘the way, the truth and the life,’” as he said to the Italian Bishops in May. “Lifeblood,” because without it, life does not flow. It cannot flow. It is dissipated and desiccated in the often dramatic vicissitudes of our daily life. “Distraction,” because everything, or almost everything today, seems to conspire to draw our gaze away from that real Presence, from that encounter.

Once again, it is striking to note how the Pope’s words express the same urgent need Fr. Giussani voiced years ago, “to show how faith could be relevant to life’s needs. As a result of the education I received at home, my seminary training, and my reflections later in life, I came to believe deeply that only a faith arising from life experience and confirmed by it (and, therefore, relevant to life’s needs) could be sufficiently strong to survive in a world where everything pointed in the opposite direction.”
But it is also striking to discover another coincidence: a few days before the beginning of the Year of Faith, those who follow the charism of Fr. Giussani experienced another “new start” at the annual Beginning Day to renew their shared work in School of Community (you can find the text of the meeting in the Page One section of this issue). The theme was “Life As Vocation,” in which it is possible that every circumstance that God sets before us, even the most painful ones, even those in which all the darkness and drama emerge, can be recognized for what it is, that is, “the voice of God,” an opportunity for our maturation, to truly know ourselves, to arrive all the way to the consciousness that we can have of ourselves, to our point of origin, to Christ. When this happens–concluded Fr. Julián Carrón at Beginning Day–one can say, with Fr. Giussani: “The Lord is my strength and my song. He is the truth of all that exists here, the ultimate truth of all that exists here. Everything has its being in Him. He is my strength, therefore my sword and shield; my song, my sweetness that remains during the battle, the beauty that draws me into battle, that supports me in battle, be it an hour or a hundred days, in fact, there is the lifelong battle to stay aware of Jesus present. Our friendship promises us this, a help in walking within this memory.”

This is the journey we have before us this year, the chance to discover both ourselves and Christ, to gain an awareness that, strong in faith, enables us to face everything–everything!–without fear, as we read in many of the testimonies found in these pages. It is a simple journey (not easy, but simple) because it can be done following someone: the Pope, and the Church, in the place and in the faces in which she draws closest to us in our lives. This is what makes the beginning of the work exhilarating. This is the promise that lies in every step, starting with the first one, starting now.