Friday, March 23, 2007

The Journey to Truth

Members of Communion and Liberation worldwide, gathering weekly in Schools of Community, are currently reading The Journey to Truth Is an Experience, by Luigi Giussani, the priest-founder of CL.

In his preface to this book, which is a compilation and, in English, a translation of three booklets written and published by Monsignor Giussani during his lifetime, Marc Cardinal Ouellet, P.S.S. (the P.S.S. is for the religious order- The Society of Priests of Saint Sulpice, known popularly as Sulpicians) and who is archbishop of Quebec, Canada, reflecting on his own experience and contrasting it with that of Msgr. Giussani writes:

"At times life offers some momentous experiences that awaken and provoke a decisive change of direction. I remember one day in the Grand Séminaire in Montreal I noted that some of my companions did not seem to be making the same discoveries, on the spiritual plane, as I was. I was struck and disturbed by this and it led me to the Priests of Saint Sulpice, where I dedicated myself to priestly training. My discovery of something lacking in their formation was the catalyst for my vocation to train priests.

"Father Luigi Giussani took the reverse path. As a young priest he taught at the Major Seminary in Milan. One day, thanks to a chance conversation with some high-school students on a train, he became aware that something was missing in the Christian experience of youth taught in Catholic institutions. He was so troubled by this that he quit his professorial duties to dedicate himself to the Christian education of young high-school students. His courageous choice was at the origin of a great ecclesial movement that has never ceased to grow and develop in Italy and in numerous other countries."

Cardinal Ouellet refers to Msgr. Giussani as "a modern-day Socrates," who "develops free and responsible personalities, introducing them to the total reality of human experience. He knows how to gradually recall, question, and lead his interlocutor to a free choice that culminates in the encounter with Jesus Christ at the heart of life." In short, this is whole point and purpose of CL.

Put a bit more robustly, his Eminence continues:

"Two questions nourish the dialogue of the members of Communion and Liberation at the 'School of Community' and draw them together to educate them: 'Who am I?' and 'Who do you say I am?' The two go hand in hand and refer us to two analytical factors that are never neglected by the author: rational analysis and the gaze of the believer who tries to embrace all the factors of human experience, neglecting none. Whoever risks this Christian path of education knows that one must commit one’s freedom if one wishes to access the depths of an experience of God that carries its own confirmation within."

Tomorrow- Saturday, 24 March at noon in St. Peter's Square- members of Communion and Liberation- known as the celini- from throughout the world will enjoy an audience with one of our own, His Holiness, the Supreme Pontiff, Benedict XVI, to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Pontifical recognition of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation. May we pray in gratitude for this fraternity, this coming-together, this shared experience of life in Christ. On this joyous day, may we not hesitate to invoke the intercession of Monsignor Giussani, who no doubt looks down upon this gathering as a happy father from the house of the Father.

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