"Not to give God is to give too little"

The homily of Msgr Lepine, Archbishop of Montreal at the Memorial Mass for the centenary of Fr. Giussani's birth at Mary Queen of the World Cathedral.
Msgr Lepine, Archbishop of Montreal

"Not to give God is to give too little."
These are the words that Cardinal Ratzinger used in his homily at the funeral of Don Luigi Giussani. They deeply reflect the experience of Don Giussani. What does it mean "not to give God is to give too little"? Don Giussani experienced his own thirst for the Infinite as well as he listened to the thirst for the Infinite that was in the hearts of young people. This thirst for the Infinite is a thirst for God, a search for God, because only God is infinite.

When he was 15 or 16 years old, Fr. Giussani heard about Jesus Christ from the prologue of St. John: "And the Word was made flesh". When his teacher told him that "the Word was made flesh, infinite Beauty was made flesh, infinite Truth was made flesh, infinite Goodness was made flesh", his thirst for God, his thirst for Infinity, his thirst for infinite beauty became a thirst for Jesus Christ, because in Jesus Christ he found the Infinite present. This infinite is present not only in the sense that Jesus Christ is God with us and for us, but it is also present in the sense that the thirst of the human heart remains a thirst for the absolute.

The answer to the absolute thirst of every human heart - whatever needs we may experience in our lives, whatever the needs of the young or the not so young - is God. In every human being, in every human heart, there is a thirst for the absolute. In a mysterious way, during this pandemic, many people have discovered that their thirst is a thirst for God. We can thirst for many things: we can thirst for happiness, for success, for knowledge, for possessions, for love, without necessarily becoming aware that this thirst is a thirst for the absolute, a thirst for the Infinite.

Don Giussani realized that his thirst was a thirst for the Infinite. His thirst for beauty was a thirst for infinite beauty. From the moment when his thirst becomes a thirst for the infinite, only God can answer it. From the moment he discovers that Jesus Christ is the infinite present, his thirst for the infinite becomes thirst for Jesus Christ.

"Not to give God is to give too little": this is an important phrase for the Church. The Church feels called and invited to serve in the world: Christians, movements, dioceses, parishes. We feel called to serve in the world, to serve the human being, to serve the cause of truth, goodness, beauty in the human being. But at the same time, the human being we want to serve and help is made for more than we can do for him. For example, I can give a glass of water to someone - and it is important to do so - but at the same time, this person is made for more than this glass of water. I can help someone in their loneliness, in their illness, in their search for meaning - and it is important to do so - but at the same time, this other person before me needs more than anything I can do for them. He needs God, Jesus Christ. So not to give God is to give too little. In fact, to give all that we have given, to do all that we can, is too little if we do not give God. This challenges us in our evangelization effort. Is it important for us as Christians, as missionary disciples (as Pope Francis says), as the Communion and Liberation movement, as a diocese, as a priest, as a Church to give God to the world? Or are we satisfied with our many human gestures and generosity to others? Is it important for us to give God to the world? Because not to give God to the world is to give too little.


Through his whole life, Don Giussani never stopped talking about the experience of faith. The experience of faith is a life transformed when I open my heart to Jesus Christ. My life is transformed when I believe in Jesus Christ in a concrete and real way, and I accept Him. I cannot believe in Jesus Christ without my life being transformed. To give God to the world is to transform lives: solitary lives, distressed lives, isolated lives, sad lives, troubled lives. It is important and indispensable to help others, but it is also there to open ways to give God. Don Luigi Giussani had written all his life with this desire to give God. His thirst for God was transformed into a thirst for Jesus Christ when he saw in Jesus Christ the Word made flesh. And his thirst for Jesus Christ became a thirst for giving Jesus Christ. It is not enough to be thirsty for Jesus Christ: we are called to be thirsty to give Jesus Christ and to say, "I have found God, I have found Jesus Christ". We must be thirsty to give Jesus Christ in order not to be the only one to have found God. Every human being is made for God and needs Him.


On the 100th anniversary of the birth of Fr. Luigi Giussani, we celebrate a life filled with a double thirst: the thirst for God and the thirst to give God. We can certainly pray to him that our hearts may also be inhabited by this double thirst and that we may experience ourselves transformed by Jesus Christ. Don Giussani used to tell us over and over again: "my life would not be the same if it were not for my faith in Jesus Christ". This is why I am so eager to give Jesus Christ to others. Not to give God is to give too little, but to give God is to give everything. It is to give what humanity needs, it is to give what the world needs, it is to give what families need, it is to give what every human being needs.

Let us pray to Don Luigi Giussani so that our hearts be filled both with a thirst for Christ and a thirst for giving Him, that this thirst for Jesus Christ transform our lives. The world needs to see people whose life is transformed by their faith in Jesus Christ. To live our faith is already to give Jesus Christ, even without saying anything. The world needs to meet people whose life has been transformed by God. In this time of pandemic - where in biblical terms we don't know what God is doing, but we know He is at work - we don't know what He is leading us to, but we know He is preparing a gift for us and for humanity As we open our hearts - which will be transformed today by Jesus Christ so that we can be in this world stricken by pandemic, the presence of hope giving God so that hope can grow given God as to give joy in the world, having our lives transformed to bring joy around us. Joy is possible. Joy is not something that is possible only when there are no more problems. Joy is possible in the life I have today, in the world I'm in today if my life is transformed by Jesus Christ.

So let us be guided by the testimony of don Luigi Giussani. Let our lives be transformed by Christ so that through us, we may also touch other people. So that we not only have faith in Jesus Christ, but that we may also give Jesus Christ to the world.