Constantly Risking Absurdity
Monday, April 11, 2005
Gregory Wolfe's piece on Monsignor Giussani

Gregory Wolfe is editor of Image and an essayist for the webzine Godspy. The following comes from a piece commemorating the passing of Monsignor Giussani, founder of Communion and Liberation, who passed away about a month before the Pope:

When he entered the classroom, instead of giving his students predigested bits of Thomas Aquinas, he read the poetry of the dark, despairing, Romantic Giacomo Leopardi with them. They spoke of the poet’s unfulfilled desires, his sadness and sense of mystery. And then he would ask them to consider Aquinas’s belief that this sadness might be “the desire for an absent good.” And so a companionship began.

In his funeral homily, Cardinal Ratzinger said of Giussani: “from the start [of his life] he was touched—or, better—wounded, by the desire for beauty.” He believed that art provides the best analogy for the moment of recognition that is our experience of the Event. The spiritual life, he said, is “the development of a gaze.”

--Gregory Wolfe, "Current Events," Image Journal, Issue # 45, Spring 2005


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The intimations of a mild-mannered Paraguayan undergraduate, studying Eng. Lit. and philosophy in a small, midwestern Jesuit college.

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