Tag Archives: Luigi Giussani

Confronting bourgeois religiosity

Several things have surfaced for me recently that has me wondering about what we are doing as a Christian people living our faith in a parochial setting today. Two things to read are the notes from a recent Communion and Liberation retreat and the Pope’s recent remarks in Croatia. Both go hand-in-hand: God is not a sentimental object and He remains an authority. But in order for me to say this with conviction I’ve got to accept that if I am in Christ I am a new creation (really!) and therefore a living presence. How many times during the Easter season did I understand that Christ was (is) the newness of life? The honest answer is: it is hard to tell.

Father Julián Carrón had the following to say in his introductory remarks for Communion & Liberation’s Fraternity Spiritual Exercises given this spring that bear significant attention for whatever ministry we find ourselves in (or not):

“It seems I am hearing today the same identical question Fr. Giussani was asked by a student. He himself recounts it: “Now people no longer perceive the correspondence between the Christian proposal in its originality, the Christian event, and everyday life. When you try hard to make it understood, they say, ‘But you’re so complicated, you’re so complicated!’ In high school, when I dictated what you study in School of Community, I had in class the son of Manzù, who had a priest he always went to. This priest stirred him up against what he read in the notes from my lessons, and told him, ‘See, this complicates, while, instead, religion is simple.’ In other words, ‘the reasons complicate’-and how many would say the same!–‘the search for the reasons complicates.’ Instead, it illuminates! This mindset is the reason Christ is no longer an authority, but a sentimental object, and God is a boogeyman and not a friend.” 

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Father Carrón tells us that John Paul was a pope seized by Christ

Father Julián Carrón, president of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation was interviewed by the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano on the beatification of Pope John Paul II. Father Carrón said that “beatification of John Paul II … is a ‘strong invitation’ to conversion.”

Keeping in mind what Blessed John Paul did for Communion and Liberation in recognizing the charism proposed by Father Luigi Giussani, Father Carrón recalled the words of John Paul who considered that a Movement “becomes a special instrument for a personal and ever-new adherence to the mystery of Christ.” For those who follow the path to Christ offered by Communion and Liberation will know that the vocation of being a part of Communion and Liberation –given by the Holy Spirit– means bringing “the truth, beauty and peace that are encountered in Christ the Redeemer” to the world.
Father Carrón’s remarks can be read here: Interview with Fr Carrón on the JP II Beatification.pdf

“Reality holds a signature from God … we must seek to decipher”

The transcript for the talk on whether a scientist can be a believer that was given at a lecture hosted by the New York Encounter in January has just been released by the Crossroads Cultural Center. Faith and reason is being explored here. It is a great question to ask if a believer in Christ –or perhaps a Jew or Muslim adherent– can be credible, true to his or her being given a certain intellectual formation. Does belief in God forfeit our true search for the Divine? Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete’s portion of the discussion is the most interesting to me and it is noted below (emphasis mine). A believer sometime has to work overtime to convince him or herself that faith and science are compatible. The other day my attention was drawn to what a little girl said about Lent: her view of life and the simplicity by which we have to look everything realizing that we don’t make ourselves; everything is given. Albacete answers the question of the compatibility of faith and science: The answer, I propose, is not only yes he can, but, in fact, it is faith that will sustain his or her passion for investigating nature, and prevent the process itself and its results from becoming enslaved to political, economic, and religious ideology.Let me know what you think.

In such a case, is awe, wonder, and joy at scientific
discoveries possible? When I was thinking about this, a friend sent me the text
of a speech given by Msgr. Luigi Giussani about the “love of being” that is
remarkably appropriate to this reflection.  Giussani’s argument is that the truth of Christianity can be
verified by a proper consideration of the evidence
for it. Evidence, he says,
is the correct word, even if the evidence for the Christian claim is given to
us through signs
. Signs are things that can be touched, seen, and experienced. The Apostles had Jesus in front of them and this presence was a sign of His
victory over death, and therefore of His mysterious identity. But what about
us? What happens with the passage of time? What signs are there for us as
evidence of the truth of the Christian claim, of the reasonableness of the
Christian claim?

The interpretation of the signs available to us engages our
liberty, he says. In this drama, our liberty is a manifestation of our love for
being. Without this love for being we are not truly free and we will never
grasp the evidence of the signs given to us. At this point, as an example of
this love for being, Giussani invokes the Magi.

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Charitable work and the common fund: 2 wings of the Christian witness

candles.jpgI always look for evidence –that is, I am looking for light on a situation that may not be very clear for me– i.e., for the reality, the truth and beauty of a vigorous Catholic life by seeing if people are willing to live the Gospel. We do our best given the graces we’ve received and our own open hearts. I find myself in need to know that others belief that that the promises (and extraordinary claims) of Christ are true and are lived. Novel, right? Not really. We Catholics have been concerned for the welfare of others since the time Jesus and because our Christianity has its roots in Judaism, even before Jesus. Just read the Old Testament and dig into the narrative there. But it is Jesus gives a new lens by which to see life and to live differently today by the fact of the Paschal Mystery (His life, death, resurrection and ascension).

When one follows the lay ecclesial movement of Communion and Liberation (CL) you quickly find out that you belong to a group of friends larger than oneself and that we aim to care for the needs (the faith, education, culture, social assistance) of others. The idea is rooted in what we read int he Acts of the Apostles and various letters of Saint Paul. Our doing good is not just another forum of activism. It is based on the Savior’s life and example.
Here are two points made by Father Julián Carrón, President of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation and the successor of Father Luigi Giussani, to flesh out these two wings of our companionship –either as Catholics who live their life only in the parish, and for those who belong to a group like CL.

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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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