Prayer: The Outpost of Our Embattled Humanity

Notes from Luigi Giussani’s address to Opening Day for the adults of Communion and Liberation in the diocese of Milan. Milan, September 21, 2002.

Luigi Giussani

My words today are a thank you to God, in front of all of you, some of whom I know, but the vast majority of whom I do not know yet, although with them too I am destined to live eternity–an eternity that is in us and among us, that day by day vanquishes the ruin into which man would let himself fall.

I say what life has taught me. A great soul is needed, a great heart, the heart of a child, because the Lord has said in the Gospel, not “if you are not scholars, like many scholars, scientists, like many scientists, clever, like many clever people…” but “if you are not like children, you will never enter in.”

And how does the child demonstrate his presence? By crying, or laughing, or smiling, or sympathizing. The expression of the child is ultimately the one that says, “Mother!” “Mother.” Inside this word is everything that came forth out of nothingness, everything that comes forth day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment, out of our nothingness.

I urge myself, I have always urged myself every morning of my life to pray to God, in other words to be a child, because being a child means feeling this totality of grasp, this possession which an Other has of us. An Other: the Mystery.

The expression of this Mystery in us is entreaty, it is prayer, i.e., the entreaty of prayer, prayer as entreaty, as begging–man begging for Christ, just as Christ begs for man. There is the message that our flesh, reliving its work every morning, reliving the beginning of its daily work, has to give.

May the Lord accompany us toward understanding this. We ask Our Lady, Our Lady who is our mother, so generous and efficient for so many years, we ask this grace of Our Lady: to continue her pity, to continue her forgiveness, to continue her mercy, as Dante’s prayer says, thus making the breath of all the past centuries relive in us.

Even if we do not understand the words we say, let us use them just the same. We have no reason to say, for instance, “They are useless,” or, “They make no sense.” May prayer become entreaty, may it be accomplished in its essence, which is entreaty.

May prayer become, on the edge of our horizon, the outpost, the outpost of our humanity, of our embattled humanity, because the condition of battle is inevitable and inexorable; indeed, for the Lord it was the cross. The cross is what defined the eternal Mystery. The infinite Mystery produced Himself in our life; to impose Himself on our life He died on the cross, He let Himself die on the cross. But not one moment of His pain deprived Him of the ultimate joy that awaited Him beyond the horizon, beyond the horizon of His human eyes: the Father’s love.

Let us live prayer as the first outpost, the farthest outpost of the battle in our lives. May no errors of any sort, no repetition of our errors stop us–not stop us, because God is mercy. God is mercy, the Eternal is merciful; we shall see all.

Our Lady, help us, you who were made the Mother of your Son! We, your children, want to follow you and be born, be born again to the scent of your perfume and to your face.

Help us, Our Mother, to be sure in whatever becomes evident in the day that we have to live: pain or joy, or pain and joy.

Mother, Maiden, “Maiden yet a Mother, daughter of thy Son, high beyond all other, lowlier is none, Thou the consummation planned by God’s decree.”

The Mystery revealed Himself to us and reveals Himself daily as Being, as love. Being means loving, and for the man who is still alive, still in this earthly life, this being loved means being forgiven.

May the Lord help us, through the intercession of Mary, ever our Mother .