In 1996 there was a gathering of Christians and Buddhists at the monastery of Our Lady of Gethsemani in Kentucky. At the meeting were scholars and monks from both traditions, as well as the Dalai Lama himself. After days of intense conversation and shared prayer, one of the Buddhist participants spoke to an urgent point. What had been bothering him throughout the conference was the prominent display, in almost every room of the monastery, of a suffering man pinioned to a cross. To his mind, the crucifix represented the agony to which the meditation and practices of his religion were the solution. And thus, he asked his Christian interlocutors, what precisely was the point in showing this terrible scene over and over again?...
...I love that man's question. More to the point, I love the bother that prompted it. Christians have become so accustomed to seeing the crucifix -- in churches, in schools, on seasonal greeting cards, worn as jewelry around people's necks -- that they have long since lost any sense of how awful and strange it is...
...On both the human and divine side...there is a radical, even disquieting extremism about Christianity, and the best spirits in the Christian tradition do nothing to soften it; on the contrary, they intensify it. -- Robert Barron, from The Strangest Way: Walking the Christian Path.
The sign of a life that goes forward in love for Christ, that is, that adheres to and participates in his companionship, is gladness. “I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you and your joy might be complete.” Christ said this a few hours before he died.
Joy alone is the mother of sacrifice, because sacrifice is not reasonable if it is not attracted by the beauty of the truth. It is beauty—“the splendor of the truth”—which calls us to sacrifice.
- from How a Movement Is Born
Notes from a talk by Msgr Giussani at the international meeting of Communion and Liberation leaders in August 1989.
Be in love with the Lord who has chosen you to begin something that could be very fruitful for his Kingdom: and don't worry about anything except being there, obedient and willing.
- Be deeply rooted in love for the Kingdom of God, which happens not because of what you do, but through the offering of sacrifice. It is only the Cross that saves he world.
- May this make you calm and joyful in whatever task you are assigned. ...So, even if you work doesn't go as you had dreamed, accept it happily; feel the kingdom of God, Brazil and the destiny of GS much more in never being discouraged, in adapting yourselves to everything, than in any other ability.
- Just as you have to be faithful to our community and to the values and the directives given for your spiritual life and for educating your persons, so for the activity and behaviour with others and the environment the rule is a deep adaptation: Do not have any pretensions and don't pass a negative judgement on anything.
Gratiam agimus propter magnam gloriam tuam (We give you thanks for your great glory).
And you, too, are a hem of that glory, not what you manage to do, but you yourselves, your offering.
- from Fr Giussani's letters to the first four students of Gioventù Studentesca (Young Student) who left for Brazil. It was 1962.
My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by. Still, let it be as you would have it, not as I.
Were we not marred, my child, were you not marred, encumbered by whole generations of catechism, of habit, of catechistic habit, my child, who would not be struck, who would not be frightened by these lines, by these few atrocious lines, by these terrifying words, by this terrifying prayer. When you think about it. Thus, everything was prepared, decided centuries ago and from centuries of centuries ago; back from eternal centuries and all centuries and the eternal centuries; back from eternity, everything was decided; the whole system, all this adaptation, your Christian adaptation; back from the fall, from all eternity but particularly, temporally back from the fall, the redemption was ready, the redemption was decided. And behold. All Christianity was ready, all Christianity was decided. He himself was ready, he himself at the core was waiting, at the core of the operation, at the beginning, at the top. He himself was prepared, his preparation was done. His will was decided from all eternity. This had been decided. No one forced his hand. Who, anyway, who would have forced his hand? Nothing forced him, nothing forced his hand, to take care of that affair, nothing if not an immense love, nothing had dragged him into that affair if not an immense love, his infinite, eternal love. -- Charles Péguy, Gethsemane, quoted during the Way of the Cross organized by Communion and Liberation.
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