Passion for man. I would summarize the entire life of Don Giussani with these words. Passion for the man before him, for the infinite people that he met. Passion that made him curious, eager for human relationships, but not intrusive in the lives of others.
I need to add: a passion for the destiny of man. He did not simply look at us for what we are, but for what could become within the following of that event that had touched and jolted his life forever: the Incarnation. He who is the origin and meaning of everything, God, is a man among us, a man who is present because he is alive and active in history.
In this way, Giussani, dealing with the vocations of an infinite number of people, has created a people and has built a bridge between different generations.
Today, the most important educational places—the family, the school, the Church—have a great difficulty in realizing an encounter between different generations. It seems that something blocks them. Maybe the response to this difficulty lies in the passion for the human, for the concrete man in front of us, for his infinite destiny. It is there that exists the possibility to pierce the crust of indifference and distance, and create the ability to listen, and then interest and discipleship.
Don Giussani did not deny what he had received, but at the same time felt strongly the lack of educational proposals of his time, either from the forgetfulness of the past or leaping into the future that severed the roots with its own history. He lived intensely the link with his land and its traditions, while at the same time rediscovering them in front of questions that young people asked him. He tried constantly to verify if what has been said and transmitted to him answered the expectations of his humanity and of others. He wanted to continually discover if it is really true that in following Christ, one becomes more human, if it is true that everything becomes greater when Christ is recognized as the center of existence, and therefore preserves truth, beauty and justice.
For all of these reasons, Giussani was a great man of culture that showed the cultural dimension of the faith. It was enough to listen to his lessons, lectures, and his meditations. He quoted poems, literary authors of every age and country from memory. It was not a display of culture. It was the expression of something within him and that he found in the words of great men that can more easily reach the hearts and minds of those in front of him. In music, as in literature, he saw the deep sign of human life. In the great artists he saw the ability to read the loneliness of man and at the same time the yearning for the encounter with others.
Giussani felt dialogue with men as a responsibility and a joy, as something always new and always alive. What he encountered became an event for him. One could agree or disagree with the things he said, but in what he said and lived there was a need that moved him, a tenderness for man and an invitation not to despair. He applied to himself every word he said and did because he felt that instant as necessary to his humanity and others.
Giussani was a man who loved to know and felt everything as part of himself. He yearned for others because he was eager to learn about their experience in every part of their lives. He looked to learn from every profession so that he could understand more about man and his existence. Everything interested him because everything seemed to be a response to his human expectations. Everything enriched him. And then he enriched us through the wealth which had penetrated him.
From left, Massimo Camisasca, Luigi Giussani and Paolo Pezzi on Lake Maggiore in the early nineties.