John Waters, an Irish journalist who follows Communion and Liberation, gave this personal witness to the gathering of ecclesial movements with Pope Francis, “The Modern Cross that Brings Us to our Knees” (May 18, 2013).
John is known to many of us in the USA because of his presence at the annual New York Encounter and because of his reflections in Traces magazine, or just because his writing finds a place on the online journal, Il Susidiario. John knows the reality of sin, evil , despair, and isolation. He knows what it means to be at bottom as a result of alcohol abuse. John is a very good man who knows what it means to be a fragile human being sustained by the grace of God and by friendship. Whatever way you come to know John Waters, you ought to know that he lives his life one-day-at-a time in God’s grace. Some days the cross is heavy, and yet there are people good people who help to carry the burden of the cross.
We live, my friends, in deceptive times. In the past, man strove for perfection, knowing it was unattainable in this reality. Guided by certain faith in a loving Creator, on whom he remained dependent, man reached for the stars, not expecting to touch them, but understanding that the act of reaching allowed him to become fully himself.
Today, mankind strives for omnipotence, believing this obtainable. Consequently, man feels overwhelmingly alone – that everything depends on his own efforts.
The delusion thus fostered afflicts us all. It invades our minds and changes how we think and feel. And sometimes we feel -in spite of ourselves – that we ought not to need God. Not, I stress, that we don’t need Him, but that we OUGHT NOT to need Him.
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
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