Notebook

Is that enough?

Today, the feast of the great St Teresa, marks the centenary of the birth of Don Luigi Giussani. He continues to inspire countless people to radical, intelligent discipleship. I recently came across an exchange Giussani once had, on his way to give a lecture, with a journalist. Huge crowds were waiting. The journalist asked: ‘Why are all these people waiting for you?’ Giussani replied, ‘Because I believe in what I say.’ – ‘Is that enough?’ – ‘Yes.’ It’s good to be reminded of this from one who was a stranger to all gimmick. Cardinal Ratzinger preached at Don Giussani’s funeral. He stressed Giussani’s keen sense of Christianity as an encounter, an event. The secret of his efficacy as a teacher, educator and helper of the poor was his being always turned towards that encounter, well aware that ‘as soon as we substitute moralism for faith, doing for believing, we fall into particularisms; we lose our criteria and sense of orientation, and in the end we do not edify, but divide.’