Some reflections of Giordani in line with the liturgy of this Lenten period.
Misery is atheist. Misery – Péguy said — is to economy what hell is to theology. It is hell on earth. Hell is then misery underground. With the hunger at its peak, and an empty stomach – as Manning said — we cannot speak of the Gospel.
Satan speaks to the hungry, and a tempter, he finds in misery the most suitable grounds for his work of degradation which is the destruction of divine values. Satan even tempted Jesus, exploiting that moment of hunger He was feeling.
Of course the easiest temptation of those who are hungry is to recall a vision of food and drinks. Also in modern times, materialistic atheism which is the metaphysics of Satan, has tempted and tried to reduce the entire issue of existence to a matter of cuisine – as defined by a livid Mazzini, reducing every value to questions of profits, interests salaries, and incomes: only to economy. Another way of de-sizing man, is reducing him to his intestinal organs. Instead «man does not live on bread alone.» He lives also on the Word of God and the spirit – he hungers also in his heart and intellect.
Igino Giordani, Words of Life, SEI Turin, 1954, pp. 69-70
Economic temptation, and political temptation in endless repetition: with these the attempt is that of taking from man that set of values that make of him a man, which is the soul, and through it, liberty, that is, his divine genealogy, in order to break him like the beasts, to solely physical necessities, and to see a son of God reduced to slavery.
Human dialectics oscillates between these two terms which religion harmonizes and idolatry divides: God and man, body and soul, theology and economy, liberty and bread. The resolution is the rational conduct of man who does not sacrifice any of these values, whether spiritual or temporal on the altar of sensual enjoyment.
Igino Giordani, Parole di vita, cit., p.71
Each of us, in moments of impatience, would like to transform the militant Church into a triumphant Church, if not into a retired one. We would like to relax, and lie down. Peter, the first pope, was an impetuous and enthusiastic personality, and when he had that vision on the mount and saw Jesus between Moses and Elias in the blazing light of a cloud of glory, expressed this sentiment typically like a beguiled fisherman: Lord, how nice it is here! Let us live here and stay here forever.
Oh, if we could stay always in a phase of transfiguration or glory: contemplating God face to face, unending beauty, instead of contemplating at all times, horrid faces, particular blokes, demagogues, “yes” men, creditors!...
Now, that vision in which the soul is raised to God’s level and lives the “life of eternity,” perhaps for a fleeting second is also fruit of the other contemplation: the ordinary one, of every minute in which we see God’s image and resemblance, perhaps only under a blouse, a shirt, in rags, or under an unpleasant banner.
Love your brother, the first you encounter, whatever he is called or how he appears, and discover Christ in him, in some way.
This truth is so easy and so difficult, smooth and so arduous: it obliges us to move out of the darkness of egoism.
Love is an eye, St. Ambrose said: a super radar through which, beneath a load of bones and rags, under that load of humanity, you discover the enlightening figure of God raising us from the social dregs themselves to the heights of a Tabor, in which the Lord converses in the sunlight, with our brother?? Saints.
Igino Giordani, Parole di vita, cit., pp.73-74