Saturday, October 15, 2022

The Centenary of the Servant of God Luigi Giussani

October 15 is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Luigi Giussani, Catholic priest and founder of the ecclesial movement Communion and Liberation. Here I have attempted a digital graphic “sketch” of this incomparable “man of the Church” and “teacher of humanity” (as Saint John Paul II called him after Giussani’s death in 2005).

Giussani grasped the dramatic character of human life, and the apparent “paradox” of human freedom: “Freedom is dependence upon God. It is a paradox, but it is absolutely clear. The human being – the concrete human person, me, you – once we were not, now we are, and tomorrow will no longer be: thus we depend. And either we depend upon the flux of our material antecedents, and are consequently slaves of the powers that be, or we depend upon What lies at the origin of the movement of all things, beyond them, which is to say, God.”

Pope Francis indicated the heart of Giussani’s charism in his words during the event in Rome where tens of thousands of the people of CL from all over the world gathered to commemorate his centennial:

“Father Giussani was certainly a man of great personal charisma, capable of attracting thousands of young people and touching their hearts. We can ask ourselves: where did his charism come from? It came from something he had lived in the first person: as a boy, at only fifteen, he had been struck by the discovery of the mystery of Christ. He had guessed - not only with the mind but with the heart - that Christ is the unifying center of all reality, he is the answer to all human questions, he is the realization of every desire for happiness, for good, for love, for eternity present in the human heart. The amazement and charm of this first encounter with Christ never abandoned him.

“As the then Cardinal Ratzinger said to his funeral: ‘Don Giussani has always fixed the gaze of his life and his heart towards Christ. He understood in this way that Christianity is not an intellectual system, a package of dogmas, a moralism, but that Christianity is an encounter; a love story; it is an event.' Here lies the root of his charisma. Don Giussani attracted, convinced, converted hearts because he transmitted to others what he brought within after that fundamental experience of his: the passion for man and the passion for Christ as a fulfillment of man. Many young people have followed him because… what he said came from his experience and his heart, so he inspired trust, sympathy and interest.”

~Pope Francis (at meeting with CL movement, October 15, 2022)