What is Communion and Liberation?
The essential factors of School of Community
Notes from a conversation with Father Giussani
Experience begins with an encounter with a different human reality. Any School of Community that ignored this would end up as ideology or abstraction.
In School of Community one must certainly talk about life, but in the light of the new experience we have encountered. Otherwise we will speak of our lives according to how we think and feel about them, with the natural reactions that life provokes in us, and in any case according to a criterion that is not that of belonging.
School of Community is the main tool of the new life, of the new way of following the goal of the new 'I'.
Everything depends on the person leading the School of Community. If the leader is a presence, then intelligence and affectivity are moved in a different way. It is novelty that gives leadership. If the leader gives a class, they are not a presence and will not move anything. At most they will move a dialectic, a discussion, a series of thoughts. And the day after, when we get up in the morning, all that movement of thoughts no longer has anything to do with our existence.
A. The sure sign that School of Community is being led is that you leave different from what you were when you arrived.
B. School of Community must be a development of the encounter we have had: the whole life of the Movement is summed up and extended in it.
C. Without the existential dimension (the link between the word and the real), there can be no School of Community: only with this dimension does it become the expression of an experience. If it does not lead to us identifying something to change and wanting that change to happen, then it is not a true School of Community.
How does one "do" School of Community?
As prayer. Since School of Community must sum up the phenomenon of the Movement itself in its development, let us remember that there is no search for the truth about Destiny, about God, without prayer. Pray, therefore, at the beginning of the meeting.
Prayer is necessary during the meetings too, as an attitude of the heart of a person who asks and a person who answers: an attitude of humility, happy and certain of what it means.
Prayer also becomes the discovery of the need for the sacrament, in which the initial event becomes presence once again.
How do we conduct School of Community?
First and foremost it is a school: a place and a method where you learn.
To learn means to increase one's awareness of the real.
To learn implies to understand the text in its meaning, that is, in its relationship with the real and in the reasons it puts forward to explain this relationship with the real.
In order to understand we must, inevitably, repeat (from Latin petere, 'to strive for'): to increase one's attention. Repeating with attention is equivalent to seeing.
When is it that we understand? To the extent that we experience the correspondence between the words we read and hear, and what we are living.
In this way, the real - to the extent that it is brought close to us - becomes an epiphany of one's awareness of belonging.
Four working points
I) Reading with intelligence, paying attention to the form of one's relationship with things, to the judgements that the reading leads us to, to the reasons it offers.
II) Communication of one's experience (everything may be relevant), in comparison with the text.
III) A culture that develops. The source of our motives and criteria must come from within the nature of experience and not from outside it. Our understanding will grow, the more we go into the event that has struck us, and the more we follow.
IV) The summing-up by the leader: an example, communicated to others, of the development of experience that the leader has had during the event of the School of Community.
The communicative outcome
From a School of Community that is understood and lived out in this way, will flow an affective urge to communicate, in three ways:
a) witness and mission;
b) attention to the needs of others, charity with practical outcomes;
c) culture: the affective urge to communicate inspires imaginative thinking, journeys of judgement, logical discoveries, with all the necessary tools that arise.