1. THE CHARISM IS A LIVING MEMORY 0PEN T0 THE FUTURE
The charism is a living memorial open to the future. By keeping the memory alive, we open ourselves to the great educational challenges of today. At the same time, living the challenges, we feel the dynamism and the prophetic power of the charism. The themes proposed by Pope Francis (the suburbs, the culture of encounter, the mercy, the Church in the outskirt …) they are in tune and make us feel the relevance of the charism and the possibilities it opens us to. Then we feel that the charism is first of all a matter of style and animation of processes; more than to be defined, is a gift to go along with.
We live in a cultural setting definitely dominated by complexity, diversity and interdependence. Today to take to the heart the spiritual growth, the formation and education of youth implies not only to develop new models, but it requires a commitment to a radical change of perspective and positions. The challenge is not only for the recipients, then, but also for us. We ourselves, in fact, are invested by the same challenge and we are not to be able to cross it without becoming also, subjects to change, of a growth.
Today the educational challenges are many and come to us from different positions, but they are not asking to be interpreted by us, nor even to be resolved; they ask us to be inhabited in contradiction, to be inhabited without wanting to dominate them. What the young people sometimes ask us is not so much the resolution of a problem or qualified replacement in the decisions, inasmuch as to stand next, the closeness and the sharing of the contradiction of what’s happening.
It is necessary that everyone begins to reshape the patterns of relationships; only in this way we could fruitfully live the challenge that young people and society live today. Our small Family of Murialdo is still, and always will be, the place where everyone is called to put at the center the care for relations. The complexity of the world around us forces us to change ourselves first, we lay people, religious, priests who have chosen, by responding to their vocation, to accompany, the young especially the poor, in their search for life. Today, the fundamental question is not the crisis of values, it is not only the crisis of the family, neither the awareness that young people change their prospects instantly. The issue is not what happens around, what is happening to our young people, but where we place ourselves and how we set ourselves before that happens. Often our educational interventions are linked to a tradition, to a method, to an approach still too tied to the past, the “it was always done so”. Often our educational action and accompaniment is still carried out in our places, carefully crafted according to structures and settings that today no longer have the same meaning. It will be necessary to leave our physical and also mental structures to really live the change. The real educational challenge today is done not by defining ourselves as guides, but fellow travelers. A journey in which we too are protagonists of that growth and change: if I walk with the other really seizing the wealth of the encounter I have the opportunity to discover my vocation and thus help the other to live it, if, thanks to that rediscovery I save myself, I help the other to live his own salvation.
The relationship cannot be lived in an instrumental way, but it must be lived in truth and presence. At the center must be the taste of the relationship that has value in itself. I do not relate with you for an instrumental function, in order to form you, to help you, to save you, to convert you, to educate you in the faith. I relate with you in order to meet you, to walk with you, because in the relationship I live and realize my vocation and in that both might find God’s loving plan. The real educational challenge is walking along by witnessing faith and hope in a reality that is instead living the disappointment and distrust.
I always thought that the best image to represent a mentor, an educator today is not the manufacturer, but the “unfinished” by Michelangelo, or the discovery that the marvelous work is not born with the idea of giving shape to a piece of marble, but it is helping the imprisoned form, already present in the same marble, to come out.
To go out, to meet the other, the young especially the poor should not be an instrumental question tied with the ministry, with our activities, it must be a needed change for rediscover the living and present force of the charism. We cannot imprison it in beautiful but empty structures. We have actually created protected realities, organized and safe facilities. We need to get out, to reach out to others, not so much because they have moved, they have gone elsewhere, but only because we were the ones who pulled ourselves out. We as Church need to come out because we have built walls in our apostolate, in our mission. The others we have moved away from, have always “lived” somewhere else.
As Family of Murialdo we have, therefore, a clear mission: to meet the other motivated by a charism that sustains us, it inspires us and as such should be shared and put at the service. The charism is a gift, and as such must be guarded, but we cannot risk to treasure the ashes, we secular and religious, members of the same family, have to place ourselves around the same fire in order to bring that warmth in the world and in our lives.
For our reflection:
1. What does it mean to open up to “Educational Challenges”, as a Church, as a congregation, as a local reality, as Family of Murialdo?
2. How can we concretely practice the invitation of Pope Francis to live in the suburbs, to treat the culture of the encounter and thus not allow our facilities (physical and mental) to become fences?
3. The Murialdine charism is today is increasingly current and prophetic. How can we today witness and make known the love, the mercy of God as Murialdo did?
4. What processes, what paths do we imagine in order to rediscover the current strength, the inspiration of the charism