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sexta-feira, 6 de janeiro de 2017

Who was Divo Barsotti?

   Divo Barsotti was born in 1914 in Palaia, a little village near Pisa.  He became a priest in 1937, after rediscovering Catholicism thanks to his meeting with Russian spirituality. He was a quite unorthodox priest, always trying to find his right place and to discover what was the plan of God for his life. So his first assignments in parishes and for some pastoral work did not suit his yearning for something else, that something else that he will probably start to see around 1947 when he starts to counsel spiritually a group of women, the first nucleus of his Community of God’s Sons and Daughters. In 1954 he resided in Settignano, considered the mother house of this new religious congregation. After failures, disappointments and false starts, the Community started to flourish and is now present in Italy and in few other countries around the world.

Father Barsotti was in contact with other personalities of the ecclesiastical world, as Hans Urs Von Balthasar (his spiritual director for some months), Giorgio La Pira, Giuseppe Dossetti, Giacomo Biffi and many others. In 1971 Paul VI asked him to preach the spiritual exercises for the Roman Curia. In his books he touched on several topics as spirituality, mysticism, Russian spirituality, Giacomo Leopardi, Fedor Dostoevskij and others. He passed away in 2006 in his Casa San Sergio in Settignano, near Florence. Several books were dedicated to his life and work (Tognetti, 2006; Fagioli, 2008; Albertazzi, 2009; Porfiri, 2010; Porfiri, 2012; Tognetti, 2012) and on September 2014, the process for his beatification was

A Name To Remember

Aurelio Porfiri
Life is not easy. I think saying that is a kind of platitude. Sometimes we hate to be alive because we cannot face the many problems and situations happening to us. But there is also something that make us love our life. One thing is for sure when we meet great people. I have to say I was blessed in this regard. I have come in contact with incredible people in my life. One of them, I may say for sure, was Divo Barsotti. The past year we have celebrated 100 years from his birth (1914-2006). Who was Divo Barsotti? If you don’t know it is like exploring a continent for the first time. He was a priest and a writer (hundreds of books) but most of all, he was a mystic. And an extraordinary one. How I came in contact with him? Indeed I never met him in person because at the time he was already very sick. But I was in contact with him through one of his assistants because I have to write a review of one of his books, the very occasion I came myself to know him. He sent me some autographed copies of his books (on my request) and the assistant assured me of the interest of Father Barsotti for my work on him. Indeed, from that time I start to be really into his thought and read book after book written by him. And I myself contributed with two books of mine on the studies of this great man: Abisso di Luce (Divo Barsotti and Liturgy) and Educare alla Vera Realta’ (Divo Barsotti and Education). These two books are intended to be part of a trilogy I want to dedicate to him. Hope to have the strength and time to achieve this.
His insights on liturgy were also extraordinary: “The word has to create something because the word of God is creating word: the word of man has to obtain something, because the word of man is plea; and what the man obtains, and what God creates is the Sacrifice, act of supreme love, total answer to the love divine: Jesus’ sacrifice” (La Messa, pag. 65, my translation). And also: “It is laughable to think that Christianity was exchanged for an Institute that protects the established order. Christian goes to God looking at Him and not seeing anything than Him” (La Fuga Immobile, Pag. 62, my translation). I guess Divo Barsotti is almost unknown in the Anglo-Saxon world and it is really a pity. He was one of the giants of Christianity of our times.