01-03-2006 - Traces, n.3

Fr. Giussani

and friends with the same ideals

The witness of one of Fr. Giussani’s fellow students from the first years in the seminary, published in the magazine of the Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows, Rho, February 2006

by Fr. Giuseppe Elli

A year has gone by since the death of the unforgettable Monsignor Giussani, “Fr. Gius” as he liked to be called. I am writing as a fellow student and friend of his; a fellow student because we joined the seminary together on October 1, 1933, and because we followed the same course of studies and became priests together on May 26, 1945. We were fellow students and, more than that, we were friends because we shared the same ideals; one, above all–which Cardinal Ratzinger stressed in his farewell homily in Milan Cathedral on the day of Fr. Giussani’s burial–that is to say, the centrality of Christ in man’s life.
There were a lot of people in the Cathedral that evening: 27 bishops, hundreds of priests, and an innumerable crowd. Why was this? The answer I gave, in common with many other people, is because Fr. Giussani always lived that event that he had always preached and proclaimed, that is, that Christ is truly everything in man’s life, and therefore the only reason for living and for dying.
These are his words: “To live following Christ is to live better; it is like living a hundred times more.”
There is another ideal, too, that Fr. Giussani always preached and I always maintained, as well, which is the place that Our Lady occupies in our life, and it’s a place called “Hope.” These are his words: “Oh, Our Lady, you are the certainty of our hope. Without you we could not be sure of the future because the certainty of the future comes to us from Christ, the mystery of God who became man; but this could not have happened unless you were there, Our Lady.”
This is his exhortation: “Ad Jesum per Mariam”–“To Jesus through Mary”!