8. TAKE LESSONS FROM THE PAST
LISTEN AND UNDERSTAND THE VOICES OF YOUR LAND,
OF YOUR COUNTRYMEN, OF THE WHOLE WORD, OF THE POOR, OF THE
The document: Educating in the style of the Good Shepherd – Guidelines for the Josephan Ministry constitutes an excellent tool for keeping alive the Murialdine educational sensitivity, for building communion and co-responsibility, and to interpret the educational, social and cultural issues. They can be approached and studied, in moments and training programs, from different optics spiritual, charismatic, ecclesial, anthropological, etc.
The experience of otherness that sometimes we live in approaching a text written by others and involving particular aspects of our lives, can arouse in us reactions of discomfort or detachment ; but, really, because it is external and not reducible to our identity, this otherness is at the foundation of the very possibility of communication and, in fact, is the only chance we have to pull over and get to know the other’s thoughts.
But when we emphasize this distance and the elements of “diversity” become significant or when the reading becomes the search for a text that expresses our thoughts, also the space of the relationship is reduced and we condemn ourselves to remain deprived of one’s wealth.
If we do not try to find in the text what reflects our sensitivity, but just the opposite, what’s different, the “other” from us and from our point of view, then we allow the confrontation and create the space to be able to reread our points of view and approach the reality with new eyes.
Said in other words, the bet is to give credit to the other’s point of view; not to take it uncritically, but to make a dialectical pole that will support our path of discernment.
Such space is what I believe is required in setting the text of the new Guidelines for the Josephan Ministry; a text that shows a new language and contains some new elements: being “guidelines” and not lines of action, it e emphasizes the unity between education and evangelization, the attention to present cultural challenges as a starting point for pastoral action …
But among the many suggestions I think that in the end what is worthwhile to dwell on is in the end the thrust, the “tone” that runs through the entire text.
The decision not to offer a kind of summary of practical-pastoral guidelines is not only due to the fact that the document contains different pastoral sensitivity and caters to cultures very distant and different from each other; this would be done even if the interlocutors were of one culture and nation.
A proposal for responsibility was chosen instead; towards our past, to ensure the charismatic continuity; to the present, to live the charism of charity; towards the future, to open ourselves to hope.
The attitude which we believe allows us to accept and to live this responsibility is that of discernment, indicated by the text not only as a preliminary stage to the project and to the pastoral practice, but as the attitude to assume, as a “permanent training condition.”
Only by accepting the responsibilities of listening we open the opportunity to critically read the present and create spaces for new training and evangelizers without denying what we were or what we did.
Discernment forces us to interpret reality with the eyes of faith, with hope in the future, with confidence in God and in the resources of the human heart.
This is why the Pastoral Guidelines indicate this as an essential prerequisite for the definition of the goals of the Josephan pastoral education .
From this we get the key to highlight such text: not so much in search of explication of the Gospel values or the charismatic ones or the operational practical indications covered in new ways.
To understand its meaning and to make it our own it implies to make it the starting point for a critical path that begins from the way we read the reality in order to discover resources and needs, values and challenges and then to imagine and create appropriate responses.
Finally, the Community dimension. It is intrinsic with the discernment, so that we can say that there is no “private” version.
Today more than ever we are asked to put ourselves in listening to each member of the community, to work together in pastoral choices, to enhance every gift.
Only if we accept the partiality of our view and our actions, beyond and above any temptation of greatness and for efficiency, accepting our limitations and our fears, we can find together the roads to be taken
Questions to be asked to the educators
– What are the social and cultural challenges that your city poses to the Christian community?
– What are the answers that the community should give?
– What educational attentions are required in this context?