Those who feel they must answer the call to building an economy of communion know that in order not to get lost they must look at the world from the perspective of those who are the last.
by Luigino Bruni
from the EoC Report 2016 on the "Economy of Communion - A New Culture" - Editorial insert of Città Nuova n.2/2017 - february 2017
The charismas are the continuation of the action of the prophets in the present. To understand St. Francis of Assisi or Chiara Lubich we must first of all think of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Moses. They are very similar, if we take a good look at these ones and the others. They all have met the Voice, they listened to it, they received a call, a task and they freed slaves. They then followed that voice and performed their task throughout their life and died before reaching the 'promised land'. They could only see it from a distance, because the promised land is always that of our children.
We do not understand the Economy of Communion if we do not think of it as an expression of the prophetic principle of the world. Those who have had the gift to live it, and those who, like us, got to know it in the world in these 25 years, have rewatched peoples leave Egypt, the sky open and the cherubs come down, a 'remnant' return from exile and crucifixes rise. Nothing more, but nothing less, either. If we had been more faithful we would have seen many more miracles, but, even in our infidelity, we have been flooded by miracles. The EoC will continue to see miracles for another 25, 50 or even 1000 years if it continues to be a prophecy.
But to do this it will also have to choose a viewing point from where to look at the world. Everyday. We can decide to judge society and our own actions placing ourselves on the pedestal of the powerful. From there, at the top, we see the world as a big market, where the comforts of life grow, while the poor become the dross, the price of this progress. However, if we choose to be the "impartial observer" (like Adam Smith) we can see several things: we judge human actions from the distance, we pronounce moral judgements but do not get down to the pitch to fight alongside the victims in order to reduce suffering and injustice.
Christianity has given a great gift to humanity when it chose the crucifix as its primary symbol. It could have chosen the risen Christ, but it didn't. Instead, it chose his point of view: "I have only one Spouse on earth: Jesus crucified and abandoned" (Chiara Lubich). We will be the prophesy, in a time that has an infinite need for it, if we don't lose this first look on the earth and sky.
The EoC and its people, in order to respond to the pain of the world, look at it from the perspective of the victims. They do it reliving the experience of Chiara's eyes and what she saw looking at Sao Paulo (Brazil), when she was able to observe capitalism from the favelas. She saw the skyscrapers, too, but she chose the favelas to judge the system. She took the gap between the skyscrapers and the shacks as a yardstick.
This latter choice of perspective is never abstract and detached: if we decide to look at the world placing ourselves next to the poor and the discarded, we cannot stay on the pedestal, we have to descend to the arena, stand next to the victims and fight for them – with them. In return we will be given new eyes, we will see things that others do not see, things that are sometimes very bad, at other times of infinite beauty. The EoC has been doing this for 25 years. If it is to stay alive it has to continue doing it every day, always better, always more.