Friday, February 22, 2019

Luigi Giussani: The Real Deal

Monsignor Luigi Giussani died 14 years ago today after a lengthy illness.

It does seem like a long time since 2005. We are now well into the 21st century. A generation of children have grown up since those days (including our three oldest). Yet the impact of Father Giussani's long life of Catholic Christian witness continues to grow.

This picture shows Giussani as I remember him nearly thirty years ago, with his big earthy face and gravelly voice, his pile of books and his emphatic gestures, his wisdom and his passion: a "teacher of humanity," John Paul II called him. He certainly taught mine.

In an era full of religious pretenders, Giussani was "the real deal." He was a humble man and a true father in Christ, a man who spent a long and often challenging life pointing to Christ, whose personal counsel I will always treasure and whose witness continues to be vital to my own life.

Last month was the eighth anniversary of this blog. The very first post in January of 2011 was a quotation from him that I like to recall, not because it's "his words" but because it helps me remember who Jesus is, and why I exist, and what is really at stake in life - why it's worth it to live every day.

"He was touched, or better, wounded, by the desire for beauty. He was not satisfied with any beauty whatever, a banal beauty, he was looking rather for Beauty itself, infinite Beauty, and thus he found Christ, in Christ true beauty, the path of life, the true joy" (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger [two months before he was elected Pope Benedict XVI], from the homily at the funeral of Luigi Giussani).