Christianity: An Encounter that Shapes Life

Communion and Liberation and Crossroads present

The 2017 Luigi Giussani Series on Faith and Modernity

With Dr. Michael WALDSTEIN, Distinguished Fellow of The St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, and the Max Seckler Professor of Theology, Ave Maria University, and Fr. Solanus BENFATTI,CFR, Professor of Spirituality and Franciscan Traditions, St. Joseph's Seminary, Archdiocese of New York

The annual Giussani Series on Faith and Modernity is centered on the life and work of Msgr. Luigi Giussani, an Italian priest, thinker, and educator who pioneered a new way of speaking about Christ to modern men and women.

This year's presentation will focus on the heart of the Christian faith as described in Generating Traces in the History of the World:

Christianity is the announcement that God became a man, born of a woman, in a fixed place and at a fixed time. The Mystery that lies at the root of all things decided to make Himself known to man. It is a fact that happened in history.

"…The following day John was still there with two of his disciples. Fixing his eyes on Jesus, who was passing, he said ..." Picture the scene. After one hundred and fifty years of waiting, the Hebrew people, who had always had prophets throughout a thousand years of its history, finally has another: John the Baptist. Other ancient writers speak of him, he is historically documented. So, at long last, came John, called "the Baptizer." The way he lived impressed everyone. From the Pharisees to the humblest peasant, they left their homes to go to listen to him, at least once. Everybody - rich and poor, tax collectors and Pharisees, friends and foes, from Galilee and from Judea - went to hear John and to see the way he was living, on the far side of the Jordan, in a desert land, feeding on locusts and wild herbs. He always had a group of listeners around him. Among these people, that day were two who came for the first time. They came from the lake, which was rather far away, outside the area of built- up towns. They were two fishermen of Galilee. They felt out of place there, like two peasants going to town, and they were watching everything around them closely, especially the Baptist. With eyes and mouth wide open, they were watching him, paying close attention. Suddenly a young man, one of the group, who had joined the others in listening to the prophet, walked away on the path along the river leading north. Immediately John the Baptist focused his gaze on Him and cried out, "There is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" People did not budge: they were used to hearing the prophet come out, now and again, with strange, meaningless phrases, unconnected and out of context. So most of those present took no notice. But those two were there for the first time, hanging on his every word, following his gaze with their eyes, and they noticed that as he was saying those words he had his eyes on that individual who was walking away. And they set off after Him. They followed Him from a distance, afraid and embarrassed, yet strangely, profoundly, obscurely, magnetically moved to curiosity. "Those two disciples, hearing him speak like that, followed Jesus. Jesus turned around, saw that they were following Him, and said, 'What are you seeking?' They answered, 'Rabbi, where do you live?' He said to them, 'Come and see.'" “Come and see." This is the Christian formula, the Christian method. "They came and saw where he was staying; and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour."

The first chapter of St John's Gospel documents the very simple and profound manner in which Christianity emerged in history: the happening of a human event, the encounter with an exceptional presence. For John and Andrew, Christianity, i.e., the fulfillment of the Law, the fulfillment of the ancient promise in whose hope the faithful remnant of the Hebrew people (Anna the prophetess, Simeon, the shepherds, all described in the first chapters of St Luke) had lived, the Messiah, the One who was to come and for whom the people were waiting, was a man standing right before their eyes. They had come across Him, they had followed Him, they had gone to His home and spent the whole afternoon there with Him, filled with astonishment, openmouthed, watching Him speak. And when, on their way back, they said, "We have found the Messiah," they were repeating with certainty words they had heard from Him. The fulfillment of the great biblical promise was a man right before their eyes. Event: No word in the dictionary reflects the way in which the "issue" became real, became flesh in time, better than the word "event." (Luigi Giussani, Generating Traces in the History of the World, McGill)

The event is free and open to the public.
Limited seats. Reservation required
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About this Event

Date: Thursday, June 22, 2017
Time: 7pm
Location: The Sheen Center
18 Bleecker Street, New York, NY map


About the Speakers

Michael Waldstein
Professor of Theology, Ave Maria University

Fr. Solanus M. Benfatti, CFR
Franciscan of the Renewal, Author


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