A Wisdom That Springs From the First Songs

Notes from the concluding talk of Luigi Giussani at the Spiritual Retreat of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation Rimini , May 21, 2000.

Luigi Giussani

I am speaking to you… and all day today, all day yesterday and the day before–we have been talking to each other our entine life together. What is contained in our first songs is really true, right from the content of our first songs.
1. “I am not worthy of what You do for me, You who love someone like me so much.”1 It is a truly bitter fact that God has made us grow in a charity and in a living awareness of what man’s life is, of what the Movement is, of what all the Church is, of what man’s end is, what his destiny is–his destiny coincides with his end–and we are so unworthy.
“I am not worthy of what You do for me.” Think how, with every day that passes, I increase in myself the wonder at what God does! And God does it today because He has done it yesterday! This is why it is a new reality in the world, which has entered the world; it is a new unity that has entered into the world of the Church–and so we can also, or rather we must also, add that a new reality within the Church increases, makes blossom more lovingly and lucidly what the Church is.
You see, “I am not worthy of what You do for me, I who have nothing to give to You.” However, I tell You, “If you want, take me.”
2. I was thinking over again these days of the enormous amount of life and thought there has been among us. It is very significant that the first song that happened among us (I say “happened” because that is how it was) should already express the whole dimension of the question–that is of reason–that moves us; and on the other hand has already given the answer.
Think of the theme song of our Movement, of those words written by Maretta Campi, with the music of Adriana Mascagni: “If our voice is a voice that no longer has a reason then it is the poor voice of a man who does not exist.”2 But “it must cry out and implore that the breath of life may not end.” The impact that we have spoken of this morning, of which they spoke about so well this morning, the great impact of the desire for life, with its emotion, with its commitment–with the emotion of feeling, with the commitment of freedom–could even be something suffered as a need for realization.
“The poor voice of a man who does not exist:” if this voice were not to have a reason, it would be false and empty. Therefore if it must cry out and implore that the breath of life may not end, it must also “sing because there is life.” This is the immense reason, which cannot be compared with any other word. “All of life asks for eternity.” When we get up in the morning for a frenetic day, a tiresome day, or for a day free from particular engagements, “it must sing because there is life; all of life asks for eternity.”
The whole of life asks for eternity. Think of forty years in which the whole of life has asked for eternity! “It cannot die, it cannot end, this voice of ours that asks love for life.” This is why “it is not the poor voice of a man who doesn’t exist: our voice sings with a reason.”
As I was thinking these days of the ones who composed this song, with its words and its music–they were two friends, 15 or 16 years old–I was asking myself, who today is able to find such a synthetic and lively expression, capable of asking, an expression that anyone can recognize as serious and sincere?
3. When Judas stopped staying with Jesus and went out to betray Him, the Gospel says, Erat autem nox3–it was night.
To forget, or to let go of what we have been told, what we are told, would be to have our whole life fall into that darkness to which it would seem the life of the majority of men is destined.
We advance in life through a certainty that burns away all that threatens us and all our fear of the strength we might lack.
Hope for us is a certainty, a certainty for the future. For one who would walk without certainty regarding his destination, it would be like the tragedy of a poor man.
But we let darkness overcome us too often; above all, more than the desire for truth there is the disappointment of incredulity.
“If a man has everything but has no forgiveness, tell me how he can hope.”4 This line from a song by our friend Claudio Chieffo is perhaps the most human and overpowering observation that there is.
“If a man has everything but has no forgiveness, how can he hope?” If he does not recognize forgiveness, which is the most dramatic and most convincing aspect of the relationship that the Mystery has with us, in such a way that he does not accept forgiveness as the supreme form of the relationship between himself and other men (the Our Father says, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”). The man for whom what prevails is the sense of his own nothingness, the feeling of discouragement, is dominated, though, and allows himself to be dominated, he becomes a slave of what the world says. And the world, sooner or later, manages to deny the certainty of human happiness.
Erat autem nox, it was night. The darkness into which the source of our hope and its power fall is helped along by us, since that hope is not an answer that appears immediately living and realized. So we are like the awareness of a man when he is at the level of fraud. Thus all the advantage of our friendship, of our Fraternity, all the advantage of the Church in history is obscured.
Negativity prevails when man is Judas, when he cannot avoid this identification with Judas, with the betrayer. But instead of crying out he should “implore that the destiny of life may not end.”
There would have been nothing in the world that could have really helped us. But as we “need someone to free us from evil,” God has made Himself, the Mystery has made Himself tangibly present, flesh of our flesh.
To look at Jesus in the womb of his Blessed Mother is the most liberating, the greatest thing we can imagine. Let us help each other to walk more and more in the light of this, so that the failing of our energies does not obscure the truth of the light.