There is a phrase of Dostoevsky that accompanies me these
days, when I have to speak of Christianity to all kinds of people in Italy and
abroad: “Can an educated man, a European of our time, believe–truly believe–in
the divinity of the Son of God, Jesus Christ?” This question rings like a
challenge for all of us. It is precisely on the answer to this question that
the success of the faith depends today. In an address given in 1996, the then
cardinal Ratzinger answered that faith can have this hope “because it finds a
correspondence in human nature. In man there is a nostalgic hope for the
infinite that cannot be extinguished
.” In this phrase he indicated the
condition necessary: that Christianity needs to find the humanity that pulsates
in each of us in order to show all the greatness of its claim.

Yet how many
times are we tempted to look at the concrete humanity in which we find
ourselves–for example the unease, the dissatisfaction, the sadness, the
boredom–as an obstacle, a complication, an impediment to the realization of
what we desire. Thus we get angry with ourselves and with reality, succumbing
to the weight of circumstances, in the illusion of going ahead by cutting away
a piece of ourselves
. But unease, dissatisfaction, sadness, and boredom are not
symptoms of a illness to treat with medicines; this happens more and more often
in a society that mistakes disquiet of the heart for panic and anxiety
. They
are rather signs of what the nature of the “I” is. Our desire is greater than
the whole universe
. The perception of emptiness in us and around us of which
Leopardi speaks (“want and emptiness”), and the boredom of which Heidegger
speaks, are the proof of the inexorable nature of our heart, of the boundless
character of our desire–nothing is able to give us satisfaction and peace. We
can forget it, betray it, or even deceive it, but we cannot shuffle it off.

Nativity & Adoration FBartolo.jpg

the real obstacle on our journey is not our concrete humanity, but disregard
for it.
Everything in us cries out the need for something to fill the void.
Even Nietzsche perceived this; he could not but address the “unknown god” that
makes all things. “Left alone, I raise my hands/ … to the unknown god / I want
to know you, you the Unknown,/ Who penetrate deep into my soul, / Shake up my
life like a storm,/ Beyond my grasp and yet so close to me!” (1864).

is the announcement that this unknown Mystery has become a familiar presence,
without which none of us could remain a man for long, but would end up
overwhelmed by confusion, seeing his own face decompose, becauseonly the
divine can ‘save’ man
, that is to say, the true and essential dimensions of the
human figure and his destiny” (Fr. Giussani).

The most convincing sign that
Christ is God, the greatest miracle that astonished everyone–even more than the
healing of cripples and the curing of the blind–was an incomparable gaze. The
sign that Christ is not a theory or a set of rules is that look, which is found
throughout the Gospel: His way of dealing with humanity, of forming relationships
with those He met on His way
. Think of Zacchaeus and of Magdalene: He didn’t
ask them to change, but embraced them, just as He found them, in their wounded,
bleeding humanity, needful of everything. And their life, embraced, re-awoke in
that moment in all its original profundity. 
Who would not want to be reached
by such a look now? For “one cannot keep on living unless Christ is a presence
like a mother is a presence for her child, unless Christ is a presence now –
now! -I cannot love myself now and I cannot love you now
” (Fr. Giussani). This
is the only way, as men of our time, reasonably and critically, to answer
Dostoevsky’s question.

But how do we know that Christ is alive now? Because his
gaze is not a fact of the past, but is still present in the world just as it
was before
. Since the day of His resurrection, the Church exists only in order
to make God’s affection an experience, through people who are His mysterious
Body, witnesses in history today of that gaze capable of embracing all that is

Father Julián Carrón, President of the Fraternity of Communion & Liberation

Corriere della Sera, 24 December 2009