Tuesday, September 18, 2007


My favorite part of my Traces magazine is always the first section, the text from Fr. Giussani, the late founder of the Catholic movement Communion and Liberation. But over the last six months, I have been holding on to these articles more tightly. It came about because, during a difficult time, I found the answers to my questions on those pages. But I also found it too easy to lose track of these lucid answers without returning over and over to them. Simply, I found certainty in my situation from these teachings of Fr. Giussani.

Who ever talks about certainty in matters of faith? We hear about morality, charity, forgiveness, important things. But it's rare that anyone, from the pulpit or elsewhere, addresses the issue of faith and certainty. If there's anything characteristic of our times, it's skepticism and uncertainty. You can't be sure of anyone; you can only count on yourself. Faith is a nice addition to life, if you go in for that sort of thing. But it's completely subjective and personal. Pope Benedict's challenge at Regensburg went right to the heart of our uncertainty which comes from an anemic faith severed from reason.

The most recent month's article by Fr. Giussani is titled "Being Certain of a Few Great Things." The certainty he talks about is one which overcomes every circumstance and leaves one with true gladness. Instead of reacting to issues in a critical, fearful way, as we Christians tend to do from the trenches, with certainty, life is faced with creativity, in a new way.
“We have to become poorer,” using this word in a truly Christian way, going to the core of its value. Poorer… What does “poorer” mean? Do you remember what he said? “Being certain of a few great things.” The poor man is he who is certain of a few great things, so that–certain of a few great things–he builds the cathedral and lives in a hovel, a hundred thousand times more a man than those whose ultimate horizon is a totally comfortable apartment and then, if that desire is fulfilled, goes so far as to give an offering for the Church. Poor: certain of a few great things. Why does poverty mean being certain? Because certainty means abandoning oneself, overcoming oneself; it means that I am tiny, nothing, and that the true and great thing is an Other; this is poverty. This is the poverty that makes us full and free, that makes us active and vital, because the law of man, the stable dynamism of the natural mechanism that is called man, is love, and love is the affirmation of something else as the meaning of oneself. For this reason, it’s not easy to find people among us who are certain because there still isn’t poverty among us. Poverty, in fact, is a very adult conquest. […]
This is a poverty which removes fear and thrives on trust. It is one which acknowledges that Christ is greater than everything, including my weakness and my circumstances. Fr. Giussani states that, "[W]e all say `Christ', but it's as if this Christ didn't exist." This is the way we often live, and the culture around us suffocates us with the lie of not acknowledging this greatest certainty. Because, as the Psalm says so lucidly and beautifully, "Your love is better than life."

I read and reread this so that I will begin to know it and to start looking at everything from the point of view of this certainty in Christ. The victory is His, now.

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