New York-Milan

In these recent years, what has struck me most has been the experience of the Movement in America. Above all, it is a story of encounters, each one enough by itself to say that Jesus is true, so simple and exceptional are they. But precisely what we have seen in America has taught us to see what there is here in Lombardy, because the origin is the same. It is the encounter that is apparently casual, but in reality gratuitous, providential, and personal. It happened that individuals ideologically very distant casually encountered some Memores Domini; one of them had had Giussani as a teacher forty years earlier. They were invited to the house of these Memores and said, “Fr Giussani has succeeded where we failed, in creating communes.” Over time, this friendship grew, in mutual respect for each other’s experience, and two of them decided, after 25 years, to get married in church. In short, the encounter is a proposal to the “I” for the meaning of life. But herein lies the challenge for us, everyone remains very close to the Movement, but not certain. Dima of CLU said it well: “The Movement attenuates the mess resulting from a disastrous upbringing, but does not dent the worldly mentality.” This is the great challenge. The engineers tell us how to get out of this impasse: “We cannot postpone loving what has happened to us any longer.” From this point of view, the first exceptional fact is School of Community. This different judgment generates a characteristic of our communities: a sea of charity. From this point of view, the Company of Works is not only an organization, it is a grouping together of “I”s who want to discover the Christian encounter as an organic response to needs, which makes life more human. And the same applies to culture, as witnessed by the Cultural Center of Milan, the books, CDs, and periodicals. And in order to defend this conception, some of us have engaged in politics. But the public gestures characterize our company like the Way of the Cross in New York: the Way of the Cross in Caravaggio, the fundraising Christmas Tents, the Food Bank Days, the Pharmaceuticals Bank, the Artisans’ Fair, all to interest our fellow man. The heart of our presence is service to the Church: 1,000 catechists, educative presence in parish youth groups, Studium Christi, the renewal of the religious traditions of our land (pilgrimages), the manifold choirs that educate us to beauty. I am not making a shopping list, I am recounting the outcome of the encounter. Here too with us, more recently, we have had a sign of Giussani’s prophecy about the Jews. Several years ago, a conscientious objector presented himself to the Company of Works, assigned to us by mistake. He was Claudio Morpurgo, President of the Italian Jewish Youth. A profound friendship arose, made of time spent together and of dialogue that has continued to today, when he was named Vice President of the Association of Italian Jews.