Tuesday, August 2, 2016


When we are young in formation some writers have a profound effect on our religious development.  Recently I read  the Archdiocese of Munich, Germany, will soon open a cause for the beatification of the theologian ROMANO GUARDINI, one of my favorite spiritual masters.

He was born  in Verona, Italy in 1885 but soon after his birth, his family moved to the city of Mainz, Germany, where his father went to pursue his career as an import/export merchant.  Romano grew up in a faithful, if not excessively devout, Catholic home.  This merely conventional Catholic upbringing left him unable to respond to the intellectual challenges posed by the rampant agnosticism and atheism he encountered as a young man attending the University of Munich.  He soon began to question his own faith and underwent a period of spiritual crisis that he would later compare to that of St. Augustine.  Guardini’s conversion moment came while on vacation from university at his parent’s home in Mainz.  The scripture passage that drew him out of his confusion was Matthew 10:39:  “Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.” 

Father Guardini taught at the University of Berlin until he was forced out by the Nazis in 1939.  He later taught at the University of Tübingen and the University of Munich.

He had a powerful influence on the thought of both Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI. The former once considered making Father Guardini the subject of his doctoral dissertation. 

According to Bishop Robert Barron  of Los Angeles & founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries (see Blog 7/29/16). “In 1986, after serving in a variety of capacities in the Jesuit province of Argentina, Jorge Mario Bergoglio (now Pope Francis)  began his doctoral studies in Germany. The focus of his research was Romano Guardini, who had been a key influence on, among many others, Karl Rahner, Henri de Lubac, and Joseph Ratzinger. As things turned out, Jorge Bergoglio never finished his doctoral degree (he probably started too late in life), but his immersion in the writings of Father Guardini decisively shaped his thinking.

Father Guardini's master work, The Spirit of the Liturgy, was the inspiration for a book of the same title by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. But the book he is perhaps most famous for, and one of our favorites is The Lord.

Romano Guardini was one of the first to offer to the modern world a vision of the Church nurturing the flourishing of free personality within community.

 “The Church is not an institution devised and built at table, but a living reality. She lives along the course of time by transforming Herself, like any living being, yet Her nature remains the same. At Her heart is Christ.”

He died in Munich in 1968.

1 comment:

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