Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Don Giussani on the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter

Luigi Giussani's funeral in il Duomo di Milano

Given his complete fidelity to the Church, it seems to me entirely fitting that Monsignor Luigi Giussani passed into eternity on the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, Apostle. In keeping with this same theme, it also seems fitting that the Successor of St. Peter at the time of his death, Bl. Pope John Paul II, a friend and advocate of Communion and Liberation, sent the future pope, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who, even as pope, maintains deep personal ties to the Movement, as his envoy to Milan to preside at Don Gius' funeral. As one would expect, the future pope's homily was nothing short of remarkable, meaning wholly fitting for the occasion.

In describing Giussani's "love affair with Christ," Ratzinger noted that this "love story" constituted "the whole of Giussani's life." This love story "was at the same time quite far removed from any superficial enthusiasm or vague romanticism." Don Giussani knew and taught others that "to encounter Christ means to follow him. This encounter is a road, a journey, a journey that also passes— as we heard in the psalm—through the 'valley of darkness.' In the Gospel we heard of the final darkness of Christ’s suffering, of the seeming absence of God, of the eclipse of the Sun of the world. Giussani knew that to follow means to pass through a 'valley of darkness,' to take the Way of the Cross, and all the while to live in true joy.

"Why is this so? The Lord himself translated the mystery of the Cross, which is really the mystery of love, by means of a formula that expresses the reality of our life in its entirety. The Lord says, 'Whoever seeks his own life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will find it.'"

Giussani's grave

Luigi Giussani, on this your anniversary, pray for us.

Tomorrow marks the first ever public celebration of this important anniversary in Utah. A memorial mass will be celebrated in The Cathedral of the Madeleine beginning at 7:15 PM.

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