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What Should We Be Following Now?
Notes from two interventions at the Spiritual Exercises of the Memores Domini Novices
in Italy (Molveno and Todi, May 30, 2004) and at the meeting of the Visitors/House Heads of Memores Domini (Milan, June 13, 2004)
by Luigi Giussani
I’m sorry if I exaggerate in the apprehension that makes me express a gratitude for these few minutes I was able to listen to you: I am shaken by this human sensitivity, this vivacity full of expectation, of observations and of possession.
With my voice I thank you for it, and pray you not to lose, even minimally, the fortune that you’ve had in finding this company in the history of your life and therefore in the history of your world.
With his usual warm and impetuous precision, Fr Pino spoke of man-measure-of-things. I believe that, of all the attempts that you have made to express your opinion on the situation you were dealing with, this expression of Fr Pino’s is the most perfect, objectively, aridly, if you like, but the most perfect.
Man-measure-of-things: this is the enemy, Christ’s only enemy. Man-measure-of-things, so much measure of things that, the more he opens up his gaze and opens the ears of his heart to hear what can enter into the awareness of our life–the presence of this Spirit, the presence of this unimaginable Presence–the more we are attentive to this, the more our life is agitated on all sides, not agitated in the effective sense, but like the wind, when, suddenly or gradually, the waves begin to move in a sea that was still.
May this movement of the waters of our heart before the problem of the ultimate measure of things, help us to understand the path we have to tread so as to illumine, so that that gaze that we cast on the world may become a true light.
And let’s thank the Lord for the great opportunity, the greatest opportunity of our life. May He make us thankful to these fellow travelers of ours, to those who guide this company, so thankful that we spare nothing in anyone’s regard, that we never be mean as regards anything we can offer!
I thank you so much. Sorry, but I wanted to say this. I wanted to intervene to tell you this thought, because whoever thinks that the problem is man-as-measure is too wretched, because from all sides we are forced to prevail over this malice.
I thank you so much. I hope to hear from you, I hope to get the notes from future conversations, because this is a point we shall have to–you really must–take up again with Fr Pino and with us all.
(To the Memores Domini Novices)
Thank you, Pino, for leaving me a few minutes to say how fully I agree with all the nuances, even the nuances of the interventions I heard. I understand that there is something lacking in the affirmation of such a treasure and in accepting the gift we have been given. There is something wanting, and I feel awkward defining what it is, what it looks like, perhaps because I have never felt this difference of certain moments, or of a certain moment in life, from what had united me and still unites me to the lives of others.
So I limit my concern to express the need for a fidelity that is called prayer, that is to develop, to be realized as prayer. Without this, there is such a lack that it tends to make the rest become a dangerous doubt. But the experience of the fact of Christ, as the Father’s will has made it possible for Him to give us, happens in only one way–namely, faithfulness to prayer. Prayer in its–I would almost say–banality of adherence to a fact already achieved, something we already follow.
I understand that what makes interesting the observations that are made or we make to one other will be the realization of what is meant by praying, what is meant by the ultimate hint at an inevitable Presence, the Presence that Fr Pino was making the center of his observations. Otherwise, what prevails is this emptiness, this empty repercussion of nothingness inside my “I” in relationship with God, if it is not expressed as entreaty, as prayer.
In answer to the request for a telegram to send to Chieti, for the celebration of a feast for St Camillus of Lellis, I took it on myself to send this message on behalf of all of us: “Faith is an obedience of the heart to that form of teaching to which we have been entrusted.”1 With all the passion of my human heart (and this I say clearly!), I wish for you that a love like this be the inspiration for your whole life. This will then constitute your generous prowess towards all those you will see.”
This morning, I was embarrassed by old age without expecting it, without having come to terms with it before. But then I came here and I saw that this old age has had the opposite and directly crucial effect on me, because I rarely experienced a meeting in these decades that was better than what I heard this morning in what Fr Pino had to say, so clear, so rich, so emotively provocative!
Okay. Thanks a lot, and excuse me.
(To the Memores Domini Visitors/House Heads)