2nd PHASE: A SPIRITUAL FAMILY LED BY THE INSTITUTE FSC
THE EXPANSION OF THE LASALLIAN CHARISM IN SHARED MISSION
1. A double crisis precedes the 2nd phase of the Lasallian Association
2. A new threshold [step]: the entry of lay people in the Lasallian heritage
3. Vocational itinerary and process of communion for the mission
4. The Lasallian spiritual family
1. A double crisis precedes the 2nd phase of the Lasallian Association.
The 2nd phase in the Lasallian Association is preceded by a double crisis:
· The first one is the lack of Brothers to cover certain specialties in the educational works, or, simply, the number of posts required, which is finally solved, though often reluctantly, with the hiring of lay people, something which becomes more and more necessary.
· The solution given to the former crisis is partial and incorrect: the lay people came into the educational works as auxiliaries, to fulfil very specific pedagogic roles, but without facilitating for them their identification with the global Lasallian project. The resulting crisis is a serious one: the institutions start losing their Lasallian identity, since the Brothers, the only ones to 'tpossess" the Lasallian charism, are decreasing in numbers and are losing influence in the orientati6n of the educational project.
2. A new threshold [step]: the entry of lay people in the Lasallian heritage.
2.1 The solution of the crisis comes with the 2nd threshold of the Lasallian Association: it is the entry of lay people (both men and women, but priests too) in the shared mission and in the Lasallian spiritual heritage, first because of personal initiative and interest in some cases, and then because the Institute FSC starts to provide the means. Thus starts the second phase, the making of a spiritual fam ily, that is to say, a group of people united through affective and spiritual links in very different degrees.
2.2 On the Brothers' part, the passing over the threshold leads them to accept that spiritual family which overflows the Institute: they share their charism, their spirituality and their traditions with the lay people. This has consequences on the way of understanding the Brothers' identity, as well as on the discovery of new possibilities in the Lasallian charism.
3. Vocational itinerary and process of communion for the mission.
3.1 The Protagonists of this phase are all the people who collaborate in the fulfilment of the Lasallian educational works, not simply because of their being there, but inasmuch as they accept entering onto the double itinerary upon which the shared mission is developed.
3.2 The double itinerary which constitutes this second phase consists of a process ofcommunion for the mission, within which the vocational itineraiy of each educator is unfolded.
· For the educators, this threshold favours the entry into a vocational itinerary which leads them to discover a deeper sense in their educational endeavour, including the pastoral aspect. It develops firstly the vocational and community dimension of their identity; if faith is present in those people, the itinerary takes them to live out education as a meeting place with God; finally, they come to live education as a ministiy based on a stable commitment. But this final step belongs to the next threshold.
· For the whole group of educators, Brothers and Lay people, the process ofcommunion for the mission consists of a continuous creation of bonds among people. Those bonds promote, above all, mutual appreciation, solidarity and corresponsibility. Thus they give life to the educational community; they develop communion in faith until it gives birth to the Christian community; finally, they come together around God's work, they encourage mutual commitment and the experience of sharing the ministry; they lead to the formation of the ministerial community which makes itself responsible for giving life to the educational work based on the Lasallian charism. This final step merges with the next threshold, the one of the 3rd phase.
3.3 The 2nd phase tries to be, essentially, an experience of communion. Communion is the relationship established among people with a common spirit. The communion process does not limit itself to promoting the relationship among the makers of the Lasallian project; it must, at the same time, promote the sharing in the common Lasallian charism. In other words, it promotes a relationship from the starting point of the characteristic spirit of the Lasallian charism.
3.4 The Lasallian charism will be present in the whole process:
· It is the constructive ~~is in the building of the identity and formation of Lasallian educators. It is the orientation imprinted on the whole process and which implies a style, a special sensitivity in the face of certain needs, some preferences when selecting the recipients, some criteria and options when planning the answers and a way of valuing the mission.
· It gives birth to Lasallian spirituality, which accompanies the whole process of the educator's training:
1) revealing the meaning and the human depth of the educational task;
2)discovering it as a privileged place in the person's relationship with God.
· It is made visible through a historical heritage which brings along with it a type of culture.. Lasall ian culture refers, first of all, to the historical itinerary of De La Salle and his Institute, to certain pedagogical achievements and to certain expressions of faith. All this can be communicated at given moments of the training, depending on the receptivity of those for whom it is intended.
3.5 The process developed in this second phase leads naturally to the integration of the people in local communities at their different levels: the educational community, the community of faith. The educational works where this phase has been sufficiently developed will be able to run according to the demands of the Lasallian charism.
· But his process is long and complex, since it involves entering on an itinerary of life, which implies personal transformation; it also means entering into a new system of interpersonal relationships and an historical heritage which offers motivations and requires a time of training. Its development is absolutely necessary so that there can be people who are willing and capable of crossing the third threshold.
4. The Lasallian spiritual family
4.1 The sociological model resulting from the second phase is a spiritual family led by the Institute FSC, which takes shape in each place in communities of Brothers which call together other people with whom they share the mission and the various aspects of fraternal life and of their spirituality. The people integrated in the Lasallian spiritual Family receive riches for themselves and collaborate in certain aspects of the mission, but, on principle, have no kind of obligation ( even a moral one) which commits the whole person. They benefit from the Lasallian heritage, share in it in different degrees, but have not established a relationship of belonging or membership, but only of collaborating with the Institute or Association. Their responsibilit~ regarding the mission is limited to the conditions they establish in each moment.
· Its limitation, there fore, is clear: by itself it does not ask for the explicit commitment of the people who share in the Lasallian heritage, in the local communities and in concrete projects, and, consequently, it does not ensure the continuity of the Lasallian Project in its universal sense. Its own survival will depend on the constitution of the model produced by the third threshold.
4.2 The model favours the participation of many people with different identities in the Lasallian charism. It allows the Brothers to benefit from the relationship and the contribution of that variety of people. Especially, it helps them to become aware of what is most peculiar in their own identity and which they have to offer to others: being signs of reference to God, experts in brotherhood, prophets of the educational mission to the poor.
· It runs the risk of being a paternalistic clericalism when the dependence of lay people with regard to the Brothers lasts longer than necessary, thereby making it difficult for the lay people to mature.