Category Archives: Communion & Liberation

Only the Spirit can awaken diversity

detail of Pentecost Oxford.jpg

Pentecost is a difficult feast for some people. The Holy Spirit is sometimes called forgotten member of the Godhead. It  takes a lot of time to understand what it means to live by the Spirit, to be sustained by the Spirit, to be set in motion by the Spirit for the good of all. There is a creative tension with the Holy Spirit: a genuine freedom for something and being in harmony, in unity with all others, even when it rubs me the wrong way. Here, let’s agree that freedom means something along the lines as adhering to what God wants for us, that is, seeking out our destiny. It certainly doesn’t mean licentiousness. As the Pope points out in the paragraph I cited below, the Holy Spirit is awakens in me the reality of unity and not uniformity. And there is the rub for many: how do I live with unity and not get consumed by an ideology of uniformity?  Many can’t fathom living with a diversity of belief and practice of the faith. Here I am thinking how the gospel has been inculturated in the East and the West. For example, the rule of law in Eastern Christianity is different on many levels than it is in the Western form of Christianity. When we live parallel lives to that of the Church, or a life that dismisses the diversity of gifts, we can say with confidence that we are not living with the Spirit’s guidance.


…the Holy Spirit would appear to create disorder in the Church, since he brings the diversity of charisms and gifts; yet all this, by his working, is a great source of wealth, for the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of unity, which does not mean uniformity, but which leads everything back to harmony. In the Church, it is the Holy Spirit who creates harmony. One of Fathers of the Church has an expression which I love: the Holy Spirit himself is harmony“Ipse harmonia est”. Only the Spirit can awaken diversity, plurality and multiplicity, while at the same time building unity. Here too, when we are the ones who try to create diversity and close ourselves up in what makes us different and other, we bring division. When we are the ones who want to build unity in accordance with our human plans, we end up creating uniformity, standardization. But if instead we let ourselve be guided by the Spirit, richness, variety and diversity never become a source of conflict, because he impels us to experience variety within the communion of the Church. Journeying together in the Church, under the guidance of her pastors who possess a special charism and ministry, is a sign of the working of the Holy Spirit. Having a sense of the Church is something fundamental for every Christian, every community and every movement. It is the Church which brings Christ to me, and me to Christ; parallel journeys are dangerous! When we venture beyond (proagon) the Church’s teaching and community, and do not remain in them, we are not one with the God of Jesus Christ (cf. 2 Jn 9). So let us ask ourselves: Am I open to the harmony of the Holy Spirit, overcoming every form of exclusivity? Do I let myself be guided by him, living in the Church and with the Church?


Pope Francis

Homily for Pentecost, excerpt

19 May 2013

Responding to the mystery of the living God as beggars of faith

A person with certitude in someone or something is going to propose that you consider making an inquiry into what is the cause of your certainty and hope. Naturally we will want to share with others and to deepen within ourselves a reality that blossoms as a beautiful new flower. The draw of that flower is no mere superficial thing: there is hope, beauty, expectation, communication, an essentiality that is unique. This is the role of the Pope who gives good example and daily tells us the cause of his joy and hope in being a friend of Jesus Christ. He encourages to look deeper into our faith in Christ and not to settle for less than what has been offered, that is, everything.

“Being Christian is not just obeying orders but means being in Christ, thinking like Him, acting like Him, loving like Him; it means letting Him take possession of our life and change it, transform it and free it from the darkness of evil and sin” (Pope Francis, General Audience, April 10, 2013).

The head of the ecclesial movement, Communion and Liberation, Father Julián Carrón reflects on what it means to be a Christian today with the help of the new pope in L’Osservatore Romano (18 May 2013), in “As Beggars of Faith.” It is a brief reflection on what he sees going on with Pope Francis leading the Church as he meets with the Church’s many ecclesial movements.

The text of Father Carrón’s reflection is here: JCarrón As Beggars of Faith.pdf


Giussani helps us to understand the struggle for meaning, purpose and beauty

In a recent article for the Our Sunday Visitor newspaper, Father Robert takes up the concept of the religious sense that Father Giussani taught, and that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio –now Pope Francis spoke about. Shortly after the papal election I posted the chapter that Father Barron references in his article noted below, from A Generative Thought: An Introduction to the Works of Luigi Giussani (2003), where Bergoglio writes about our need to educate our religious sense and how Giussani influenced him in his method of dealing with ultimate questions.

You may read that chapter here that’s noted in a previous post on Communio.

Here is a paragraph of Barron’s OSV article. The full text is accessed here.

Part of Msgr. Giussani’s genius, Cardinal Bergoglio argued, was that he did not often commence his discourse with explicitly dogmatic or doctrinal language, but rather with an awakening of the often implicit religious sensibility that every person possesses. This sensibility expresses itself in terms of the most fundamental questions: What is my ultimate origin? What is my final destiny? Is there a meaning or logic that runs through the universe? Why, precisely, is there something rather than nothing? These interrogations lead ineluctably to God, for God alone can answer them.

Father Robert Barron

OSV Newsweekly, 5 May 2013

Doing School of Community

“How does School of Community become a point of comparison? First of all, it must be read by clarifying the meaning of the words together –not an interpretation of the words, but the literal sequence […] Secondly, space must be given to the exemplification of a comparison between what one lives and what one has read. One must ask himself how what he read and tried to understand literally judges life.”

Fr Giussani (published in Traces, 1992) and quoted in Fr Julián Carrón’s notes for his March 20, 2013 School of Community

Communion and Liberation’s prayer on St Benedict’s feast

passing of Benedict.jpgThis day blessed Benedict in the presence of his brethren ascended directly from his cell toward the East into heaven; this day, his hands raised, he breathed forth his soul in prayer; this day he was received by the Angels into glory. (Vespers Mag. Ant.)

Our prayer today is for all who follow the Rule of Saint Benedict and the gifts given to the Church and world by the Benedictines. Most especially our prayer today is with the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation who counts Saint Benedict as one of the co-patrons of the movement. May we who live the path given by the Servant of God Father Luigi Giussani to “incline our heart” unto the Lord’s.
Father Giussani once said to the Benedictine monks of Cascinazza (Milan), “Christ is present! The Christ announcement is that God became one of us and is present here, and gathers us together into one body, and through unity, His presence is made perceivable. This is heart of the Benedictine message of the earliest times. Well, this also defines the entire message of our Movement, and this is why feel Benedictine history to be the history to which we are the closest.”

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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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