Presentation of a book on Giorgio La Pira; Cercatori del Paradiso (Seekers of Paradise) by Mario Agostino
The intense spiritual politics of Giorgio La Pira was the highlight of the book, “Cercatori del Paradiso (Seekers of Paradise) - The political novitiate of Giorgio La Pira” (New City), which was launched on October 1, 2016. It is the second volume of the series "Cassiciacum", which offers a forum for "young" writers of Sophia. The presentation was one of the events of LoppianoLab 2016. The theme of this year’s LoppianoLab was "Powerty -- The poverty of wealth and the wealth of poverty".
The president of Sophia; Piero Coda, prof. Mario Primicerius; former mayor of Florence and President of Fondazione Giorgio La Pira and the journalist Riccardo Clementi, moderated the meeting. Piero Coda recalled that since his youth he has been touched by the "extraordinary combination of radical social commitment and the profound prophecy of spiritual and Christian character" that distinguished Giorgio La Pira. The president also mentioned that he had personally encouraged Mario Agostino to publish his research on the "Trinitarian vision" of La Pira, a concept that the author matured precisely in Sophia.
The Easter of 1924 turned over a new leaf in La Pira’s life; it was a moment that led him to new depths of faith, expanding his inner self in prayer. According to Piero, it introduced him to what Bergson called a "dynamic religion", or, in broader terms, the "warm current of Christianity", bearer of social transformation. The president said "thanks to men such as La Pira, the Christian revelation later became the yeast of a vision that translates into the Italian Constitution and into the prophesy for Florence", idealized as "cosmopolis" and inserted into a global vision for a "new renaissance".
It is no coincidence that the same square in front of the entrance to the Institute is dedicated to Giorgio La Pira. It is to acknowledge his prophecy, similar to Igino Giordani and Chiara Lubich, the founders of the Focolare Movement, who were prophets of their time. "Although apparently it seems that they did not have a specific political inheritance - added Piero- today they represent the kairos, that is a moment of God, because with the flesh and blood of their testimony they managed to create an integration that is non integristica. Rather it was a prophetic one, born of the highest Christian mysticism and practice in favor of the marginalized."
Today the same could be said of Pope Francis, who essentially follows the three goals set by La Pira when he became the mayor of Florence in 1951: a "mystic of brotherhood -- of ‘us’; the preferential option for the poor, a poor Church for the poor;" and the "culture of encounter ". In the light of the present pontiff, the intuitions of La Pira "take on a deeper and more relevant meaning," Coda concluded.
During the event, Mario Agostino’s sister gave some musical performances that recalled Sicily and Florence. The former was the birthplace of both La Pira and the author of the book and the later is where both chose to live their later lives. Moreover, Giacomo Mininni and Giacomo Poggiali, assisting with the Opera per la Gioventù Giorgio La Pira, read some passages.
Mario Primicerio appreciated the book title, "Seekers of Paradise", pointing out that it represents the ongoing quest of La Pira. The author analyzed, with particular interest, the period of La Pira’s formation, before 1951. La Pira, a studious man, with a natural vocation for contemplation, "almost in spite of himself" was called to politics. He was well aware that the times in which he lived demanded a total commitment. Hence, for him politics became a "commitment of humanity and sanctity," a "way of building happiness in the community"; when he became mayor his vision was more realistic. It was an opportunity to meet in person the poor and to fully understand the value of the Constitution that he himself had helped write. "Coming from the Mediterranean meant La Pira was naturally a man of dialogue - said Professor Primicerius - who used to invite us to pray with the globe on the table".
Mario Agostino shared the difficulty of "seeing oneself in someone great" and, therefore, of the difficulty of talking about La Pira with the young people of today, and to help them understand the prophetic message he proclaimed. “La Pira while unsettling, gives a continuous response to our questions.” In the Italy of seventy years ago, where everything needed to be reconstructed, his witness was indisputable. This is in contrast with the "quietist" minds of today who believe nothing can improve in the current context, which is increasingly constrained by international economic dictates. But nothing prevents us, at least, from trying. Indeed, anyone who engages in the spiritual reconstruction can find an abundant of material resources.