Around the world in past 2 weeks Communion and Liberation’s Schools of Community have been praying for the good of Communion and Liberation while remembering the fifth anniversary of death of Monsignor Luigi Giussani. In the Archdiocese of Ottawa last Monday (February 22) Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, SJ celebrated Mass for CL-Ottawa and here is a portion of his homily. One of the touching points in His Grace’s homily is the phrase, “to follow Christ.” The same phrase I used for my coat of arms; see above.
Five years ago today, Don Luigi Giussani, the founder of a movement that came to be known as Communion and Liberation was called home to God by the Lord Jesus Christ. Cardinal Ratzinger, our present pope was sent by Pope John Paul II as his legate to the funeral ceremony in Milan. On that occasion, he testified to the way in which Don Giussani had allowed himself to be led by Christ in a loving relationship from his earliest years, just as Peter had from the moment of his first encounter with Jesus: “This love affair with Christ, this love story which is the whole of his life, was however far from every superficial enthusiasm, from every vague romanticism. Really seeing Christ, he knew that to encounter Christ means to follow Christ. This encounter is a road, a journey, a journey that passes also-as we heard in the psalm-through the ‘valley of darkness.’ In the Gospel, we heard of the last darkness of Christ’s suffering, of the apparent absence of God, when the world’s Sun was eclipsed. He knew that to follow is to pass through a ‘valley of darkness,’ to take the way of the cross, and to live all
the same in true joy.”
St. Francis Xavier expressed this in a lovely poem, “O Deus, Ego Amo Te,” translated touchingly by his brother Jesuit, the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins:
O GOD, I love thee, I love thee-
Not out of hope of heaven for me
Nor fearing not to love and be
In the everlasting burning.
Thou, thou, my Jesus, after me
Didst reach thine arms out dying,
For my sake sufferedst nails, and lance,
Mocked and marred countenance,
Sorrows passing number,
Sweat and care and cumber,
Yea and death, and this for me,
And thou couldst see me sinning:
Then I, why should not I love thee,
Jesu, so much in love with me?
Not for heaven’s sake;
not to be out of hell by loving thee;
Not for any gains I see;
But just the way that thou didst me
I do love and I will love thee:
What must I love thee, Lord, for then?
For being my king and God. Amen.