Category Archives: Luigi Giussani

Luigi Giussani, led by Christ –recalls Archbishop Prendergast for Communion & Liberation-Canada

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.

Purifying our love

Let’s face it: many Christians find Lent meaningless. There are some among us who get their ashes, make some crazy resolution –give up the daily consumption of 5 beers, are nice to a sibling, do homework– to make “penance” and the season of Lent more “holy.”  Silly things at Lent beget shallow experiences of conversion, perhaps even lend to a falsification of the Christian witness at during the time of Lent. Read the Pope’s lenten addresses an see what he has to say about the nature of this season we call purposeful, holy, penitential, even great. He would agree with me (wow that could be dangerous!) that unless you take Christ seriously who is standing in front of you in the person of your neighbor, Lent is going to be boring and miserable. How pure is your love for Jesus? How does your love for Jesus made real, concrete, fruitful? The following 3 paragraphs may begin to help answer these questions. Emphasis mine.

Christ attracts me primarily through things and people. My wounded, tired soul could stop at that. Idolatry is nothing other than to confuse the creature with the Creator, which is why there is a continual need for the purification of love.

My comments here come directly from a saying of Fr. Giussani that I have referred to many, many times and that, in the book I wrote about him, I cited as one of the loftiest, most impressive and truly innovative points in the Church’s recent
history: the definition of virginity as distance in possession, or possession that includes distance in it. We must take this expression in its entirety. In it is the exaltation of the human in Christ, which so characterized Fr. Giussani’s entire life, and the inevitability of sacrifice, which he always cited as the condition of the road. No one wants to do away with or repress friendship and sentiments, or to put them “in parentheses”, but we must be very clear and ask ourselves: what does God want of me? And what does that mean for the other, in light of the road that God has assigned to him?

Christ is not paradoxicalChrist gives us an abundance of human affections to help us to understand what it means to love him. It doesn’t scandalize me when someone says: “It seems that I love that person more than I love Jesus”, because our path towards the Infinite is without end, and, before you love the God that you don’t see, you love the neighbor that you see. But love the neighbor that you see so as to walk toward God, to walk toward the fullness of yourself.

An excerpt from an address tilted, “Our Fulfillment” by Father Massimo Camisasca, founder of the Fraternity of Saint Charles

The Fraternity is an international missionary congregation of priests begun in 1985 as a response to the work of Monsignor Luigi Giussani. The Fraternity has about 100 priests in 20 countries and 30 in formation to be ordained priests. To read the rest of the address, click here.

Luigi Giussani: the 5th anniversary of death

LGiussani and Rose.jpgFive years ago today Monsignor Luigi Giussani died after suffering the effects of Parkinson’s Disease. I continue to miss his voice and witness to faith we profess in Christ.

O God, the Lord of mercies, grant to the soul of Thy servant Luigi Giussani, priest, whose anniversary we are keeping, a place of refreshment, rest and happiness and the glory of Thy Light.
Pope John Paul IIs personal letter on man and work of Luigi Giussani.
Here is Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s homily for Monsignor Giussani on February 24, 2005.

Christ becoming man answers the desire for the infinite

The Christian event is the answer to the demand for the infinite which is the heart of man. So that man may walk along: “homo viator,” a man who draws near by the movement that has been put into him, that has been brought forth in him by the Mystery which makes all things and of
which he is made aware by the encounter, the encounters of life.

Monsignor Luigi Giussani
Founder of Communion and Liberation

Keeping the centrality of Christ

Monsignor Giussani, with his fearless and unfailing
faith, knew that, even in this situation, Christ, the encounter with Him,
remains central, because whoever does not give God, gives too little, and
whoever does not give God, whoever does not make people find God in the Fact of
Christ, does not build, but destroys, because he gets human activity lost in
ideological and false dogmatisms
. Fr Giussani kept the centrality of Christ
and, exactly in this way, with social works, with necessary service, he helped mankind
in this difficult world, where the responsibility of Christians for the poor in
the world is enormous and urgent.

(Pope Benedict XVI, Funeral Homily for Msgr Luigi Giussani, 24 February 2005, Milan)

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]
coat of arms



Humanities Blog Directory