Tag Archives: Luigi Giussani

Leading with the Passion of Christ, Regis Martin reminds

Luigi GiussaniRegis Martin wrote a superb article on Father Luigi Giussani for Crisis Magazine today (13 Feb 2014) in “Recalling Luigi Giussani’s Passion for Christ.” Martin certainly captured not only the essence of Giussani, but the entire life of the ecclesial movement of Communion and Liberation and the work of conversion to Christ Jesus.

To note, Father Luigi Giussani is being considered for sainthood by the Catholic Church, and thus bears the title title of Servant of God at stage of the process. Giussani died on 22 February 2005, with a funeral Mass offered and preached by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger.

Dr. Martin is a Professor of Theology and Faculty Associate with the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Among his academic interests is the thought of Hans Urs von Balthasar. He was educated by the Dominican friars at Rome’s Angelicum and has authored several books and articles. His recent book is Still Point: Loss, Longing, and Our Search for God (Ave Maria Press, 2012). Martin is a very well-regarded as a Catholic lay theologian.

Lord, increase our faith –educate us to see

mustard seedThe Church hears in the gospel for the 27th Sunday Through the Year Lord’s reference to the parable of the Mustard Seed (Luke 17:5-10). The teaching of the Mustard Seed also appears in Mark 4:30-32 and Matthew 17:20.

When the apostles say to Jesus, “Increase our faith,” He responds, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”

Today, we could easily hear in the desire of the apostles: educate us to see, to know, to experience this Kingdom you are talking about. Perhaps we can relate the concern the apostles present to what Saint Anselm famously said, ours is a “Fides quaerens intellectum” (a faith seeking understanding; or, faith is a trust in God, a love for God, the lens by which we we seek to know what a deep trust in God means in a concrete way connecting the dots of life).

The holy bishop of Hippo tells us,

A mustard seed looks small. Nothing is less noteworthy to the sight, but nothing is stronger to the taste. What does that signify but the very great fervor and inner strength of faith in the Church?

Sofia Cavalletti taught us, “The person who at a certain point becomes aware of the dynamic nature of the Kingdom of God, which is like a mustard seed, will gradually come to see this dynamism filling the universe and empowering man and his history” (Religious Potential of the Child, 165). Hence, the teaching is a recognition that faith as a gift of God is enclosed within our hearts, “like the pearl of great value and the mustard seed.”

This education in the faith may be connected with a reflection Father Luigi Giussani has,

“As a result of the education I received at home, my seminary training, and my reflections later in life, I came to believe deeply that only a faith arising from life experience and confirmed by it (and, therefore, relevant to life’s needs) could be sufficiently strong to survive in a world where everything pointed in the opposite direction, so much so that even theology for a long time had given in to a faith separated from life. Showing the relevance of faith to life’s needs, and therefore – and this ‘therefore’ is important –showing that faith is rational, implies a specific concept of rationality. When we say that faith exalts rationality, we mean that faith corresponds to some fundamental, original need that all men and women feel in their hearts.” (Luigi Giussani, The Risk of Education, pp. 11-12).

Indeed, Lord, increase in us the desire to be with you.

Jesus’ Ascent into Heaven

English: Ubisi Monastery. Ascension of Jesus d...

Ubisi Monastery. Ascension of Jesus detail

The Ascension is the feast of the human. With Jesus, physical, carnal humanity enters into the total dominion with which God makes all things. It is Christ who goes to the root of everything. It is the feast of the miracle, an event which by its strength recalls the mystery of God.

This is why the Ascension is the feast where all of Mystery gathers together and where all of the evidence of things is gathered together. It is an extraordinary and very strange feast, where all the faces of all things meet to cry out to unaware, inattentive, obscure, and unseeing man the light of which they are made, to give him back the meaning by which he entered into relationship with everything, to shout out to him the task he has in things, his role among things. Everything depends on him; all things were made for man.

Whoever tries to render witness to the Lord with his life is already part of the mystery of His Ascension, because Christ who ascended into heaven is Man for whom everything is made, Man who has begun to take possession of the things of the world.

Father Luigi Giussani
The Holy Rosary

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

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT, follows the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, and is an Oblate of Saint Benedict, works as a monastery farmer and a keeper of honey bees. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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