7. NE PERDANTUR
Murialdo’s exhortation: “ne perdantur” opens us to all teenagers and poor youths, and makes us “live” their point of view. The Pope encourages us to learn how to live from the peripheries, to learn to see things and solve problems from the perspective of the peripheries. Thus, we move away from the culture of discarding and work for a culture of inclusion and encounter.
To live the charism of Murialdo means to be fuelled by the commitment with those who have more importance in society: children, adolescents and young people – especially the poorest. The studies on the Founder often highlight the phrase “ne perdantur”. What is required is much more sensitivity to the poor and their cause. Commitment is requested. Sensitivity is a reaction originated in the heart; It is the fruit of love, but it remains on a superficial level of involvement. Instead, the compromise goes through emotional reactions to achieve degrees of involvement that translate into concrete attitudes of welcoming. The “ne perdantur” challenges the educator, religious and Christian to a relentless exodus from situations of dependency, from those domestic patronage relationships or from those who set themselves in a position of superiority. The “ne perdantur” is a continuous action of overcoming, of conquest by those who find themselves in a situation of vulnerability and marginalization. He who offers help so that the other does not get lost must realize when the time to retire from the scene has arrived . To know when the other is emancipated is to realize that he is able to walk on his own, to lift up his own flight.
This calls requires and alert us to the idea that we need “to go out of place”, “to discharge ourselves ” to go to the encounter, to go out of the rooms, of the management and offices … Our place is in “their” place, the place where the purpose of our work is for, for whom the reason of our existence is. Jesus left the center and went to the peripheries, he saw those no one sees, no one believes in… Murialdo welcomed, encouraged, rescued their dignity, saw their abilities, qualities, skills …He I saw God in every child and, even more, he made them realize God’s love in their lives.
So that no one should perish, “ne perdantur” … In the view of Murialdo, and in our view, it is unacceptable that a child or adolescent passes by us, our hands, our hearts, as something blank, raw , without having acquired values, without having had a change of attitude, without having built his own history … Being significant is another test of efficiency of our pastoral attitude. When a child, a teenager or a young man, identified as marginalized or at risk, passes by us or by our institutions, he can always leave our institution or us; however neither we nor the institution can’t get out of him. That means to have been being significant. a positive reference. It is not enough to deal with, it is necessary to influence . Only a positive reference is involved. Hardly enter into the category of “perdantur” he who feels welcomed, loved, called from the margin to the center. It is the recognition of human dignity; It is self-confidence that pervades the existence. It Is a project for the future, it means to glimpse horizons, ways out. Getting lost will have no room in such a life.
You need to look from above, to analyse the distance, to reflect, because the search for spirituality and reflection enriches our practice. Spirituality is what moves and brightens what we do. But it is also essential that we go down to the plain, we walked barefoot, with dusty sandals, side by side with impoverished children and girls, with those society has not valued, has not prioritized … with those who were marginalized … this exhortation is implicit in the words of Murialdo: “ne perdantur”.
Those who belong to the Family of Murialdo, lay, religious brothers and sisters, who share with the Josephites their mission and seek to live this charism with passion, are committed to be the Murialdo’s face . We cannot be mere executors of tasks. It is essential to be listeners, to hear the cry of young people, adolescents and children with whom we live and work. It is important that we read through the signs that they reveal, that we are attentive to listen beyond the words, listen to their silence. But besides being attentive and listening, it is essential to stop and reflect together: What are we doing? How are we doing? And … even more: How are we listening?
As witnesses of God’s love, we are educators called to live the faith. Faith reinforces the certainty that every boy and every girl brings the image of God. If we live God’s love, if we discover that He loves us with infinite, tender, personal, current and merciful love, if we have this certainty in our hearts and in our souls, we will discover in every young person, every teenager, every child, the image of the living God. Moreover, our mission is to make them discover and feel the love of God and they reach the certainty that even if no one else did, although they were somehow abandoned, though they feel not loved by anyone … God, surely, loves them!
“If one has a hundred sheep and loses one does he not leave the ninety-nine in the field to go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, with great joy, sets it on his shoulders.” This Is! That none of us gets lost. And that none of us should be left without shelter, without host, without a constant search in order to be found. That is the mystery of the Father’s love which should enrich our actions. That’s the attitude of the educator who, as a friend, brother and father, looking for the one who had been lost, finds him and puts him on his shoulders, comforting him with his embrace, close to his heart. And in that comfort we translate and put into practice the “ne perdantur”.
To welcome those who are lost, to welcome the most in need implies caring. Caring means to commit ourselves, it is more than to be at the side, to guide, to teach … Carelessness is a stigma of our time. We live in fluid times, people say … Leonardo Boff writes that we must take care and compassion. “Compassion is not have pity for others” but have “com-passion” is the ability to share the passion of the other. By compassion we are not alone, we are together. We walk together with the other and share joys and sorrows. We have to be sensitive, yes, but sensitive toward the most in need , toward those who are lost, so that this sensitivity is transformed into a concrete attitude, into a commitment.
1. “to discharge ” is not so easy. The modern world brings us to have room for us very much. But we need to “get out of that place”, “to put ourselves out ” to go to meet, to go out of the rooms, management and offices … Our place is in the place of “them,” of those who are the object of our work ,who are the reason for our existence. Jesus left the center and went to the peripheries, he saw what no one sees, those no one believes in … As an educator in the charism of Murialdo, list three specific attitudes that demonstrate this attitude of putting ourselves out in order to be next to those who are mostly ours.
2. In order that no one should perish, “ne perdantur” … In the view of Murialdo, in our view, it is unacceptable that a child or adolescent passes by us, our hands, our hearts, something blank, satin, without having acquired values, without having had a change of attitude, without having built his own story …
How can we give voice and opportunities to children and adolescents we work with so that they can build their own history and not get lost?
3. Care and compassion are attitudes that greatly reveal sensitivity. They are attitudes of commitment.
How do you evaluate your commitment, in your daily actions, with those who are mostly ours?
Carlos Alberto Pisoni
Joacir Della Giustina