Tag Archives: Religious Sense

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

Pope Francis writes about Fr Luigi Giussani: he “helped me to pray”

JM Bergoglio.jpgResearch is running on steroids in the hours since Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected to be our new Roman Pontiff, Francis. This is especially true with members of Communion and Liberation who are eager to see what connection they can make with the new Pope. Who could blame us?

In the first paragraph Bergoglio writes about a lecture he gave on the Religious Sense where he says, “…I was not simply performing  a formal act of protocol … I was expressing the gratitude that is due to Msgr Giussani. For many years now, his writings have inspired me to reflect and have helped me to pray. They have taught me to be a better Christian, and I spoke at the presentation to bear witness to this.”

Pope Francis on the Religious Sense.pdf

(From, Eliza Buzzi, A Generative Thought: An Introduction to the Works Luigi Giussani, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2003).
Yesterday afternoon I posted here on Communio a Traces article, “The Attraction of the Cardinal.”

Are we engaged in reality?

This blog is dedicated to communion theology. What brings us a Christians–Catholics– in communion of the Trinity, the Church and one another. The trusted witness of another gives me certitude that Faith in Jesus Christ and His the Sacrament, the Church, is real and worthy of belonging, not just following. The head of the Communion and Liberation in the USA, Chris Bacich, wrote the following letter to us today. I offer it for your reflection in these days of Advent. Emphasis given is mine.

Dear Friends,

I’ve been wanting to write to you for some time (since
mid-November, really) about the opportunity I had to be with Fr. Carrón and a
few other friends from around the world in Italy.

He invited us to a
“mini-vacation” over a weekend and we spent a good amount of time
speaking about the Movement and the radical nature of its proposal.  In
particular, Fr. Carrón wanted to hear from us what change the work on the
school of community on chapters 10 and 11 of the Religious Sense
and the flyer produced in Italy on
the crisis had wrought in us.  He pointed, in particular, to the very
recent death (it had happened less than a week before we were with him) of a
young man from the CLU [Communion & Liberation University Students] in
Italy who had died in a motorcycle accident.  He held an assembly with the
university students, regarding this event, where he boldly insisted that
reality is always positive. (This assembly will be featured in the next
issue of Traces
Indeed, the theme of the CLU Spiritual Exercises in Italy will be “The
Inexorable Positivity of Reality.” His boldness in front of such a
tragic event, as well as the insistence of our charism at this time that the
crisis in which the world has fallen at this moment is something positive
encapsulates for me the clash of mentality that exists between us and the
mentality generated by the popular culture that so often rules our hearts and
minds, as well.

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The good zeal is not just for monks but for all Christians…

Service of monks.jpg

The daily grind makes us weary of the task at hand and sometimes we’re also weary of the “nonsense” of other people. There are times in which we are just ugly. Our own fragile and sinful lives can get in the way of things. Sadly, sometimes we get hurt, and we hurt others.

I was re-reading parts of Luigi Giussani’s Religious Sense this morning and then I saw that a friend made note of the Good zeal of monks (noted below) and I wondered… Why is it that we allow “wicked zeal of bitterness” to infiltrate our spirit and our relationships? Saint Benedict perceived a lack of coherence of what human beings say they believe and the lives lead. No doubt this same question/thought ought to concern every reasonable Christian if we are serious about faith in Jesus Christ and ultimate salvation. The tough thing about the Christian way of life is making sure that our faith informs our works and that we don’t replace faith with good works thinking that what we do will absolve our poor behavior. The good zeal Benedict exhorts his monks to have is really applicable to all baptized Christians and not merely the “professional Christians.”

Do we pay enough attention to reality? Am I too alienated from my own desires when I uncritically accept the ideas of others without doing the hard of work of verifying the truth of these ideas? Have I allowed wonder to take a back seat when looking at the reality I’ve been given by God? Have I sufficiently observed and understood what is in front of me? Have I love the Infinite, that is, the Triune God, to the best of my ability and without reservation? Where is my heart right now?

The Rule of Saint Benedict is insightful with regard to human nature: laziness, mediocrity, will not lead to ultimate happiness. That we have to put aside bitterness and that which does not build a deeper communion with God and neighbor. As Holy Father Saint Benedict and Father Luigi Giussani both said but in different ways: do we love?

Here is what the Rule of Saint Benedict says,

Just as there is a wicked zeal of bitterness which separates from God and leads to hell, so there is a good zeal which separates from evil and leads to God and everlasting life. This, then, is the good zeal which monks must foster with fervent love…. (72.1-3)

Giussani’s “The Religious Sense”: a variety of points of view

The Religious Sense.jpgThis coming year the Schools of Community throughout the world will be working on Monsignor Luigi Giussani’s seminal text, The Religious Sense (in English in 1997).

In The Religious Sense, Monsignor Giussani explores man’s search for meaning in the given-ness of life. He demonstrates that reason is known in understanding and recognition of truth, goodness and beauty. Regardless of faith tradition, all people are in search for these elements and we can know the meaning of truth, goodness and beauty by the criteria of the heart, that is, discovery of these element is found in the person himself by an openness to existence which has the capacity to affirm reality as it is –from experience– (reason) and not from what the lack of self-aware world says reason is, that is, from outside factors.
Several essays open up Giussani’s work:
Father Julián Carrón’s Milan presentation of “The Religious Sense, Verification of the Faith”, a version of which was given at the 2011 NY Encounter: The Religious Sense, Verification of the Faith.pdf
Father Luigi Giussani’s “The Religious Sense and Faith”: The Religious Sense and Faith.pdf
John Waters’ “The Religious Sense and myself”

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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