When a young man enters the seminary he is dominated, at the end, by a single desire: to give everything to God. To offer his own life in a radical and definitive way.
But what does it mean to offer one’s own life?
Above all, it is a response to God. It is a gratuitous response, without calculations or reservations. It is the only response worthy of the offering that Christ himself has made for us. It is the desire to correspond to an unimaginable love that has entered one’s life. It is the encounter with God present in the Church, which becomes, for every man, vocation, calling. The love of Christ urges us on (2 Cor 5:14).
Offering everything. Piece by piece. The offering of our life takes place within every detail of our day to day.
For Fr. Giussani offering was a gesture that expresses our affection towards Christ, like a kiss or a hug. Offering means loving the instant, in order to love He who is the substance of that instant.
The young men who begin the path of seminary with us very soon run up against the concreteness of daily life. They entered in order to offer their whole life to Christ, at times, dominated by an image that is a bit romantic. In daily life, however, struggles and fragility emerge, and this, at times, is mortifying. “How can I give everything to God if I am not even able to forgive my brother seminarian?” “How can I offer everything, when a certain task or sacrifice that is asked of me is too heavy?”
It is precisely in this daily struggle that our offering might become luminous and expand our heart.
In every instant, even arid or tiring, I can affirm my love for Christ. The circumstance does not need to change. I can embrace the instant, with all of my struggles, and in this way, I can offer to God that same embrace. The attempt to forgive a brother, the joyful availability to accept a task even if it is demanding, the tenacity with which I begin again after every fall. Every instant can become filled with this impetus towards Christ, asking that He manifest Himself.
One can always make this offering. This means that one can always love Christ, in every moment. No circumstance can impede it. It’s just the opposite: the more difficult the circumstances, the more meritorious will be our attempt to make an offering of them. Fr. Giussani, in one of his texts, says that “giving one’s life, to the point of death, means extending it, moment for moment, in imperfect sacrifices.”
Learning to offer is a simple path, which takes time. And, slowly, our life becomes filled with joy because every second can be an occasion to love Christ. Every circumstance can be welcomed like a great gift, like the beloved who comes towards us.
Games at the summer camp of the Parish of Blessed Pietro Bonilli, in Santiago, Chile.