|01-06-2006 - Traces, n.6
GIUSSANI. FROM BAPTISM, A NEW CREATURE
We offer here an excerpt from Fr. Giussani’s words at the Bishops’ Synod on the Laity (Rome, October 9, 1987, published in L. Giussani, L’avvenimento Cristiano [The Christian Event], Bur, Milan, 2003, pp. 23-24)
Most Blessed Father, Venerable Fathers:
1. I would be even more uncomfortable speaking in this setting if the theme of the Synod did not concern foremost something that I also have in common with the laypeople who are here: Baptism. What is Christianity if not the event of a new man who by his nature becomes a new protagonist on the scene of the world? The eminent question of the entire Christian problem is that laypeople also experience the event of the new creature spoken of by Saint Paul. Such a man is given different tasks and functions, but this problem is secondary to the first.
In fact, this is the content of all Christian engagement, that of the prayer of Jesus: “Father, the hour has come! Give glory to Your Son…” (Jn 17:1).
2. Man today, endowed with operative possibilities as never before in history, has very great difficulty perceiving Christ as the clear and certain response to the meaning of his own ingeniousness. Often institutions do not offer this response vibrantly. It is not so much that verbal or cultural repetition of the annunciation is missing. Man today expects perhaps unconsciously the experience of the encounter with people for whom the fact of Christ is such a present reality that their life is changed. What will shake today’s man is a human impact, an event that echoes the initial event, when Jesus raised His eyes and said, “Zacchaeus, hurry down. I mean to stay at your house today” (cf. Lk 19:5).
3. In this way, the mystery of the Church, which has been handed on to us from two thousand years ago, must always re-happen through grace, must always be a presence that moves, that is, movement, movement that by its nature renders more human the way of living the environment in which it happens. For those who are called, something happens that is analogous to what the miracle was for the first disciples. Always, the experience of a liberation of the human accompanies the encounter with the redemptive event of Christ: those who follow Him will have eternal life, and the hundredfold here below (cf. Mt 19:28-29; Mk 10:28-30; Lk18:28-30).
4. Just as Baptism is a grace of the Spirit, so every realization of Baptism is a gift of the Spirit incarnated in the temperament and history of each person.
This gift of the Spirit can communicate itself with a particularly persuasive, pedagogic, and operative force so as to spark the involvement of people, a sphere of affinities and relationships, through which a stable dynamic of communion is realized, “living which is an aspect of obedience to the great mystery of the Spirit” (John Paul II, Be Teachers of the Christian Culture, To priests of Communion and Liberation, September 12, 1985, in La Traccia, 1985, p. 1083).