Responsibles’ International Assembly

The Genius
of the Movement

From the homily of Cardinal Adrianus Simonis, Archbishop of Utrecht, La Thuile, August 18th

Over the course of the centuries, the Church begins over and over again. This is the theme of this year’s International Assembly, which places before us the fact that the victory of Christ is the Christian people. It is not about an undertaking of men, but the work of the Lord who intervenes without ceasing, offering some the chance to work in His fields.
Often, we men are caught up in so many commitments, in a continuous rhythm of life, but deep down we are disillusioned and bored. We know it; we’re unemployed if destiny does not have a face. In fact, the very word “destiny” becomes meaningless and is felt as a blind and hostile fate, almost as if it were a cynical, unforgiving mechanism.
The only fact that lasts through time is the call described by the Gospel. Within the uninterrupted wake continuing from that day of Easter, we have been called and are called every day and in every circumstance to accept that the work of life is the work of He who calls us.
With perspicacity, Fr Giussani still clarifies in his Tischreden that the apostles did not see Him rise from the dead. That Christ has risen from the dead can be seen from the fact that there is the people of God.
Brothers and sisters, Christ identifies Himself with a particular people among all peoples. This point conquers spiritualism, the illness that I see as the most dangerous risk today for the life of the Church among men.
Writing to the Holy Father in the fiftieth year since the birth of CL, a fact that he himself had not foreseen, Fr Giussani manifests the basis of his feeling, the urgency of the faith, revealing how the Movement that would soon flow forth was born on the foundation of a precise historical judgment of his. He writes, “I believe that the genius of the Movement that I saw coming to birth lies in having felt the urgency to proclaim the need to return to the elementary aspects of Christianity, that is to say, the passion of the Christian fact as such in its original elements, and nothing more.”
It is said that the characteristic of CL consists in not having something to underline, not having an aspect or some shade of meaning compared to another, but, instead, the whole. In fact, at this point I find the response to a question that (as a few of you know) has accompanied me for some time. Having taken up again the total historicity of the faith, such that Christianity is entirely in the event of an encounter, the text cited concludes, “For this reason, we do not feel that we are bearers of a particular spirituality, nor do we feel the need to identify it.”
This concern, which is the sign of feeling Catholic, is exactly the reason for my returning, once again, as I have been doing for thirteen years now, to share this friendship that accompanies me all year round.
Brothers and sisters, to close, the parable says that each of us is promised and given the same recompense. To each of us, however, in an absolutely personal and unique way, is distributed the fullness of life called happiness, the response that has as its sign the gladness that renews life as affective energy.