MAY 26 - NOVEMBER 26, 1999
Present, and thus Working
Mass with the Emilian communities to remember Enzo Picinini six months after his death. A memory that transforms life, so that Christ may be everything in everyone. The homily delivered in Modena Cathedral.
BY LUCA FALCIOLA
"What does the mystery of God ask of us in a trial like this of great suffering? It asks us to remember always Christ as the meaning of life, at all levels and in all fields: Christ is everything in everyone."
(Fr. Giussani, May 26, 1999)
It was in order to remember this one, great, dramatic truth that on November 26th, six months after Enzo's death (on May 26th), the Emilian (from an area of N. Italy) CL communities came together in Modena Cathedral, which he loved so much. This was a gesture in which the memory of our mutual friend and father re-emerged with all its force for change in the present.
It all arose from the impelling need we felt that the great things we learned through him continue to bear that fruit for which Enzo sacrificed his life: our conversion. The form itself of this gesture was chosen to renew the great challenge of his presence that continues to show us that ideal horizon that opposes, with the boldness of faith, the violence and falsehood of the world. After a brief visit to his grave, more than a thousand people gathered together in the Cathedral to listen to passages from the witness Enzo bore at the CLU Exercises in 1998, and then to attend Mass.
A sense of thanksgiving rises from the hearts of all for a miracle that only the experience of the Movement has made possible: a life beyond life that challenges us in the present, that changes us, converts us.
The wish that Cardinal Biffi extended to us on the day of Enzo's funeral resounds even more true and real to us now: "Today we place in the furrows of this Emilian soil the mortal body of our friend Enzo. We place it there like a seed, that is, as a promise and a certainty." The aura of this promise is beginning to dawn in the eyes and hearts of the friends who make simplicity of heart the rule of their loyalty to the charism they encountered through him.
Pier Paolo Bellini
"Yahweh's mercies are not over, his deeds of faithful love not exhausted; every morning they are renewed.… I shall put my hope in him.… It is good to wait in silence for Yahweh to save."
Faced with the dramatic manifestation of the limits and frailty of the human condition, the prophet Jeremiah starts out by remembering, "This is what I shall keep in mind and so regain some hope."
But where does a memory come from that can restore hope, a memory that is not only nostalgia?
Among the many witnesses to friendship with Enzo that I have heard in the past months, one struck me for the charge of truth that it contains. It is from Juvenal, our Peruvian friend, who never knew Enzo personally, but who writes, "I cannot help adopting for myself the words of Mounier: 'Leave open for him the door not only of memory, but also of presence and of hope.'" The memory that restores hope is certainly made up of remembrance, but a remembrance that leaves open the door of the presence.
A remembrance that is not also presence doesn't change anything, because presence is something that disturbs, a presence doesn't leave things the way they were, it moves and provokes freedom, always.
Enzo was certainly a presence like this for everyone, even for those who only met him for a few minutes. Being a closer friend to him never meant being easier about things, but was a constant process of being put back in the race that St. Paul talked about: A life like a race; a courageous tension toward learning from everything because God is everything in everybody, an indomitable faithfulness in following so that Christ may be everything in everyone.
"I run to capture the goal because I too have been captured by Jesus Christ." What made his life a presence, being in a race, is this fact of having been reached and captured by the physical fact of the Mystery present in the precariousness of a flesh, the event of the mystery present in a human encounter. The memory of Christ as a presence, for 2,000 years now, passes through the unsettling fragility of a flesh: "Whoever receives you, receives me." In the same way, the memory of Enzo as a presence passes not only and not so much through our minds (remembrance) but is a receiving of him as part of us, a presence that spreads today in the world through our own flesh. The incarnation of Christ in us takes place through the incarnation of the Church in us, through making a part of our flesh the faces, the history, the blood that Christ has used in order to generate what we are today.
What is asked of us this evening is to recognize that "Thou" which has made and makes Enzo an indispensable presence and to say "Yes" to it without yielding to the extortion and objection of our disproportion, our smallness next to his greatness.
Giussani has said, "Why do you contrast what you have with what I have? What do I have? I have simply said this 'Yes,' and it would not cost you a bit more than it costs me." This is the "Yes" of Peter, the "Yes" of Enzo, the "Yes" of Mary, whose help we ask in saying our own "Yes." Veni Sancte Spiritus…