An Invitation to the Real
In COVID time, her freedom almost "vaporized," Mary is thrown a lifeline--and then shares it with others.
2020 began with all of the typical settling in after the laughter and love of the holidays’ sweet memories. COVID-19 was an astonishing turn of events for everyone, somehow uniting the whole world in a crippling uncertainty. What was happening? Many of us closed our doors and pulled our shades to the outside world. This must have been the way the Apostles felt, locked in the Upper Room, afraid of their circumstances after Christ was crucified. My freedom seemed to have vaporized. Our churches were closing, silent, and for me, life became small, with an “end point” that was uninteresting, uncertain.
My question was simply this: What am I looking for? Answers!
In front of this uncertainty, the Church was unnaturally quiet. And then Father José threw out a lifeline! He asked us to adopt and embrace a monastic way in prayer, for ourselves and our families. Above all, he was asking us to trust enough to say ”yes” like Our Lady did. It was an invitation to the REAL:
1. The Hours (morning and evening)
2. The Angelus (three times a day)
3. Mass (at least weekly) and Confession (monthly)
4. The Rosary (daily if possible, using Giussani’s meditations)
Father José offered our Fraternity many texts of the Liturgy of the Hours for the Easter Season and Meditations by Father Giussani on The Rosary and The Angelus, asking us to embrace these gestures and teach our children, and reminding us that we are not alone! I thought of myself as a veteran of saying the Rosary, having used several beautiful meditations to accompany my prayer, but I must say, nothing compares to the meditations given to us by Giussani himself. They provide a rich depth and breadth that other works seemed to miss.
Father Giussani primarily refers to the Blessed Mother as ”Our Lady,” championing her “simplicity of heart” and her purest of motives. In his May 7, 1989, Traces contribution, “Mary: Faith and Faithfulness,” Giussani takes each of us by the hand and walks with us toward the Mystery, to our own destiny. He speaks often of Leopardi; Giussani loves Leopardi’s work because of the deep expressions of love, and those same expressions seem to bleed through Giussani’s Rosary Meditations, a reflection of the deepest love for Our Lady.
I would be lying if I said this experience was anything less than extraordinary! The Rosary became alive for me, dazzling! It was as if Giussani were there with me. I began setting my alarm again to say the Rosary as the sun came up. It is an extraordinary way to start the day, fresh. “Life is decided” Giussani said, “by the cry of a new sensation amidst the things we are used to.”
The story doesn't end there. When we experience an encounter such as this, we want to share it with our friends. Mary Magdalene went to Christ’s tomb in despair. Imagine her joy and need to run and share her joy with her friends when the angel told her that her Savior was alive!
I had that need. I began asking my Fraternity friends about the meditations, and vague acknowledgements were the typical response. Somehow I had to communicate this gift from our beloved Father Giussani that could generate an excitement like the one that I had experienced. It's what we are for each other. My “truest work" according to Giussani, is to build the Movement, to propose something with beauty in mind and live it with fidelity.
Our Movement has the little Red Book of Hours, and I so I had a little blue book made of Giussani’s Rosary & Angelus meditations. On pilgrimage, we shared a moment saying the Rosary together: mothers, fathers, children and our priest, Father Michael--together, outside, at The Mother Cabrini Shrine. Extraordinary.
The Rosary meditation are some of the greatest contributions Giussani ever gave us, and they came from Father José, at just the right time, the onset of our “Virus Experience.” Together, saying the Rosary inspired by the heart and words of a soon-to-be saint, Giussani, we experienced a Presence, a transfiguration, with a renewed awareness!
I continue to be struck by the way the Movement has remained by our side throughout the COVID experience. We are not alone! Reality is given for us to stand freely in our awareness of a Presence as we truly walk together toward a destiny. It is through this companionship that our work continues. We are planning an audio/video of the entire Rosary in the voices of our Fraternity and their families. Stay tuned.
Mary, Denver, Colorado
Original Freshness Meditation by Giussani
Just as the joy of the world--which is Christ--came to Our Lady, so also we can recover the original freshness of our life from her. The moment when the Blessed Mother said "Yes" truly changed the world, because it established the meaning of life for every man and for all of history.
If we could live with her simplicity day by day, if we could live in that yes when we wake up, when we eat breakfast, in every moment of our family relationships, in every moment of our social relationships, in all the circumstances God gives us, we would experience what the hymn says: “Alma redemptoris mater, quae previa coeli porta manes" ("Loving Mother of the Redeemer, gate of heaven"): every moment would be a gate to heaven.