Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Msgr. Luigi Giussani's Cause is Introduced

I am because I am made. Like my voice, which is the echo of a vibration, if I cease the vibration, it no longer exists. Like spring water rising up--it is, in its entirety, derived from its source. And like a flower which depends completely upon the support of its roots. So I do not consciously say "I am," in a sense that captures my entire stature as a human being if I do not  mean "I am made." The ultimate equilibrium of life depends upon this. The human being's natural truth, as we have seen, is his nature as creation--he exists because he is continually possessed. And, when he recognizes this, then he breathes fully, feels at peace, glad....
To be conscious of oneself right to the core is to perceive, at the depths of the self, an Other. This is prayer: to be conscious of oneself to the very center, to the point of meeting an Other. Thus prayer is the only human gesture which totally realizes the human being's stature.
 -- Msgr. Luigi Giussani, The Religious Sense (from chapter 10)

On February 22, 2005, the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, one of the great men of the Church of our time died after a long period of illness. A month and a half later, he would be followed into eternity by the Pope whom he had served with such exemplary devotion. Meanwhile, the Cardinal from Rome who came to celebrate his funeral--who had been his close friend and supporter for many years--was himself destined to sit next on the Chair of St. Peter. It is beautiful to read once again the homily he preached on that day. Here we recognize the voice that we have come to know and love as Pope Benedict XVI:

It is not surprising to find the figure of Luigi Giussani surrounded by Popes, especially the Popes of our time. Father Giussani was a man of the Church, a true homo ecclesiasticus, who also knew how to generate a witness to the Gospel that resonates profoundly with so many diverse people in the secularized culture that dominates today's world.

His words are not always easy to understand. But the effort yields fruit. For many, it has been life transforming. Why? His charism touches something essential in the human spirit; he witnesses to something that endures within the heart of the human person, even beneath the stubborn encrustation of materialistic and positivist prejudice that so often suffocates the search for truth. Through the charism of Fr. Giussani, Christ continues to find ways to break through, changing persons and engendering new life in surprising places.

It was with great joy that I learned the news that on February 22, 2012 the cause for his beatification and canonization will make its first step, when the President of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation presents the formal request to the Archdiocese of Milan. And the man who presides there as Cardinal Archbishop, Angelo Scola, is someone whose own faith and vocation has been shaped by Fr. Giussani and the movement of CL.

I post the link here, in Italian. I pray that the Church may find worthy of recognition this amazing man, whom I believe will be remembered as one of the great protagonists of the beginning of the New Evangelization.

Also worth linking is Rocco Palmo's appreciation of Giussani at the end of the remarkable year of 2005. He rightly observes that the funeral oration of then-Cardinal Ratzinger was a rare and striking pastoral appearance of an often-misunderstood churchman, whose beautiful homily was heard by many thousands at the funeral and the broadcast of Italian state television. It was, truly, his public debut as a pastor, and the themes of his tribute have since become the themes of his pontificate.