Mercy That Embraces and Creates Anew

Every time I meet Father Giussani I have the impression of being “the only one,” as though he were there only for me. The last time I saw him, it seemed to me that I was awaited like a father awaits a returning child. When I am face-to-face with him, it is as though all the problems I want to talk to him about no longer exist; my relationship with him is enough, I don’t need anything else. I feel “victorious” because he is my father and everything he has is also mine and no one can take it away from me. Thus, when I saw him, I told him that I had come only to thank him for his life. I didn’t think I would talk to him about problems, because his life itself already shows us the way to approach them. Instead, he said to me, “If you belong to me, your problems also belong to me, and so I want to know about them.” So I answered, “In these years in Kampala, the “House” (of Memores Domini) has come into being, and through the House I have understood the Movement.” And he said, “You have understood the Movement because in the House there is someone who says Yes to Christ; that is, who obeys. The world is saved because someone says Yes. Thus you have been introduced to the knowledge of Jesus. Everything is simple because Jesus is a mercy that embraces you.” But more than the words he said to me, what moved me was the way he looked at me, the attention he paid to me even to the point of offering me good things to eat. I experienced Jesus’ mercy right there, facing him who kept me close to him and was full of tenderness for me. Even when I told him about mistakes I had made, he did not judge me, but defended me, like a father who always looks at his child with loving eyes (and because of this is defined as a father). I felt like “someone”–that is, myself–so that, as I went away from him, it seemed to me that I had nothing more to fear, as though everything had already been overcome. To have a fixed point that says to me, “You are mine,” changes one’s life, and the task is to accept being possessed by this sure point of affection.


When You Meet Christ, You Can’t Stand Still Any More

Juvenal Ñique Ríos, the 80-year-old Peruvian intellectual who knew Che Guevara and encountered CL some years ago, wrote to Father Giussani for the International Assembly of CL leaders.
Dearest Msgr. Luigi Giussani: Another year has passed in which we have become part of the same story, meeting through these lines, thanks to a friendship based on the Truth we have discovered and that we try to follow and to live with all our strength. This year now in progress is a very intense one in my country; people have been debating and are still debating about democracy and freedom. Here my people are suffering, but they do not take initiative; they doubt, they prefer to believe in doubt, and everything turns into a circus of falsity, where the hunger of the poor and the need for justice become hypocrisy on the lips of many politicians who have lost sight of (or maybe never knew) the true dimension of the mission they have to accomplish. But this whole situation becomes an occasion for continuing to be alert and aware. In fact, a reality like this demands a serious attitude. It doesn’t matter how old you are, but what you can do, independently of time and hardships. Years ago it was my lot to be in the streets, in the political prisons, in classrooms or in factories, always believing in justice, in the claims of the poor, fighting for my ideals. Today I return to the streets or the halls of certain universities walking along slowly, every minute running into restless young people who are eager to know an “ideal that can be lived,” that can be followed. Then the streets and halls become classrooms and there, talking, we grow together. There is no time to waste; the truth that we have met must be communicated, we must communicate that an ideal that can be lived does exist, and for which one can give everything, even one’s life. This is the serious attitude that I am talking about. I am talking about an attitude toward reality, not a passive attitude; I am talking about “action,” because the Word is, in all its dimensions, action. This is because when you are struck by the Truth that is incarnate in Christ, then you can’t stand still or be passive, you are pushed to act, to live so as not to remain static, but to follow, to let yourself be led by the Mystery of this Truth. I have not stopped thinking about the poor, I have not stopped feeling a thirst for justice, I have not stopped thinking about abandoned children or the moral crisis that afflicts our people. But now I think in a more total way; today, I think about the whole man. I can’t change the world as it stands now, but I change how I stand before the world, and everything I do has to reflect this change. I change the world in the measure in which I myself change. My frailties do not matter. What matters is that I let myself be guided by what has been met and discovered in the person of Christ. You will excuse me, Father Giussani, for having dwelt on this reflection, but I want to clarify that it arises from my recent encounter with the Communion and Liberation Movement. I would like to greet you and, as every year, greet my friends in CL. God’s grace allows us once again to gather together; you are there, and in this other part of the world there is a family that has become a people who pray for all of CL. In the name of my family, I tell you that it fills us with joy and makes us enormously proud to belong to the Fraternity of the Movement. What a responsibility this is for us! May you and everyone know that you have from us all our strength, our courage, our voice, all our lives. To all of you, a message of unity and the constant desire that our faith, reasonable and faithfully lived, may always sustain us. May the world know that for every faith that is silent, for every faith that dies, ours shouts and lives. Before closing, I embrace you, my friend Giussani; we embrace you with great reverence and affection, and in you we embrace each of our friends in CL. May Mary, our Mother, go with you and keep you as a brother.
Juvenal Ñique Ríos

Thank you, Ríos my friend! Every year you teach us a lesson of true humanity. Who among us can boast of such an intense and sincere total identification with the encounter we have had?


Youth is an Attitude of the Heart

With this phrase written in large letters, the young people of Communion and Liberation went to their Jubilee. They were welcomed by the Pope–the youngest of the young–who demonstrated a tireless enthusiasm in talking to us and a very moving faith in us, entrusting in us his hopes for the world. His words especially struck those of us who have already been out of college for a year and, in fear, have decided what to do in the world and, trembling, have started doing it, albeit with the dissatisfaction and doubt that fall on our choices at certain moments: what if happiness and fulfillment lay elsewhere? The Pope responded to these fears by overturning the problem, which is not, as he emphasized again and again, “what” to do, but “for whom.” Life is great if it is a witness to Christ in the circumstances we are in-work, studies, boy or girlfriend. Here he went into detail to make us understand that he was talking to each of us. After entrusting this task to us, which in his words begin to take on the flavor of everyday life, he bade us goodbye with this thought from St. Catherine: “If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze.”
Chiara and Sara



It’s Sunday and the sky is very cloudy, but it has finally stopped raining. The air has grown sodden, and I go outside to breathe a little better, when I suddenly realize I am looking at an enormous rainbow. What a marvel! My immediate thought was that Someone had put together all these colors in such a beautiful form, so that every person in every part of the world could admire them at the same time. This really struck me, it was another great discovery in my life. I think that something like this is truly rare, and I really hope that there will be many others for me to learn. Oh, how beautiful life is!
Cecilia (third year of middle school), Carate Brianza