God’s Preferences

Notes from the address to the National Council of Communion and Liberation. Milan, Italy, March 27, 2004.
Luigi Giussani

I thank you very much for the generosity you put into your service to the Lord, and because of this try to sustain with all your strength, or at least with all your good will, the capability, all the capability of your efforts so that good may increase. I took the liberty of coming to greet you, I took the liberty of asking if I could greet you, so we could say a Hail Mary to Our Lady together; so I could beg you to offer the holy rosaries you say in these days, to have the people recite and you yourselves recite the rosary in this period out of gratitude, and thus as thanksgiving, on one hand, and as a cry for crucial help on the other, so that our working together, as well as our brotherhood, may have a pace, may mark the pace, that it may be the right pace and may pursue a good outcome. I came to greet you and to say a Hail Mary to Our Lady. HAIL MARY Forgive me if I did not think of the greater burden that would fall more heavily on the shoulders of those in charge of the running and government of our frail, weak, but profoundly sustained “society”­sustained by the Lord! I thank Giancarlo above all, who with his responsibility works together with God in an outstanding way. In any case, the essential thing is that we, above all, thank God for the help He gives us, for the benevolence with which He shows He has welcomed our presence into His flock and the world­because God’s flock is the whole world. This morning, I heard some of the things you said, and I was impressed at how the book we have been using as our starting point [Why the Church?], how important this book is for us and how all the talks emphasized this. What I heard made me feel your presence in a special way. It was like saying, “Finally, someone understands!” Then, I hope Our Lady may change what is imperfect in us and may give us a reward, the reward already in this world by which the Church is the garden of God, the house of the Lord. The house of the Lord: “home”! We are confident, despite what we are. We are rather confident, because God’s confidence in man, which is not his due, is not explained by the fact that the chosen man “pulled” this blessing from God down onto himself. In closing, I beg you, in these days, for the whole month of May, let’s make the whole month of May be devoted to thanking the Lord for the mercy He has always poured onto us; and secondly, may it open day after day, hour after hour, our confidence in face of the evidence that He has preferred us. Because the concept of preference­I am sorry for those who do not agree­is true: a preference is real. For me, for example, Pino is one of my greatest friends because of something that pertains to the purpose the Church expects to achieve. I have thought of a particular application of preference. The concept of preference is one with the concept of son. A son is a preference; preference is a term that “recognizes” immediately who Jesus is. And we have to tell each other how the Lord compels us to think what His figure as Father is, what it has done for the world, what it is for the world: through a Man who walked through the streets, who walks through the streets­we are the face of this Son in the streets! We are somewhat compelled by God’s preferences, we are forced to give what we would not give and to ask to expect what others give us, contrary to their first wish. Today, I chose to come meet you in person because what God is doing for us is something enormous­it is a great document of what the Lord Jesus is for all men who are born and were born and will be born. One of the things to which the Lord has most “trained” us is the sense of our own nothingness, of the real incapacity of man’s reality to sustain what the Lord has made of His plan. The plan of the world depends on one name: Jesus of Nazareth. And the plan of the world is something that starts in the morning when one opens his eyes and ends with difficulty in the evening when he shuts them. The more time passes, the more one feels an ethical frailty, more than physical; physical and ethical. Then, seeing the people the Lord deems to make him see, he understands­and above all he feels gratitude­why the Lord gives him those parents, gives him those traveling companions. And then, the Lord, through these persons, makes possible and makes me see as possible­let’s say the word­holiness! Holiness is the term used to designate the content of the great gift that is the Angel going to Our Lady, going to talk with Our Lady. As the days pass, the fact has taken on substance, which is something evident, the fact that one is a “povero cristo” [poor fellow]: “I am a povero cristo myself, but You, Christ, are here!,” in the surprise that certain things said would not exist if God did not exist, if they did not become, if they were not the greatest witness to the fact that God is “Our Father who art in heaven…”