“Updating” Calasanctian Spirituality, refers to integrating it into the new challenges that our world poses at many levels, to face them, to understand them, and to learn to work them as the raw material with which we elaborate the work of art of what we can be on a personal and institutional level. Some challenges:

  1. A change of age: We glimpse nebulously what this change means, but we do not know where it will take us. Some people talk about it with certain negative connotations; as a force for hidden factual and monetary powers that manipulate the consciences and structures of social and cultural; but if the new order implies a more supportive humanity, in building a better world, where the rights and dignity of all are respected, starting with the poorest, then the Piarists are in congratulations, and we must seek our place in that process.
  1. The global world: The coronavirus pandemic, covid-19, which in a matter of weeks changed our mental chip, is an example of what globality means, understood as the planetary connection, where each and every one of us are agents, for better or worse, however much we want to ignore or reject it. 
  1. Racial and ethnic sensitivity, gender, and respect for each person, defense of life from its conception: our spirituality cannot escape from this context that calls us to update the Calasanctian spirituality. Without letting ourselves be carried away with ideologies that make a small reality a manipulated worldview, possibly the Holy Spirit calls us to visit new frontiers, in new realities of unprecedented Piarist service (working with exiles, refugee camps, with rejected peoples, in situations of despair), to bring the hope of the Gospel.
  1. The ecological sensitivity that, coupled with the sensitivity of globality, connects us to issues such as climate change and the role that our lifestyle plays in preserving planet earth.
  1. Multiculturalism, interculturality and inculturation: it is a fact that in most of our communities members of the Order of different nationalities, cultures and languages are living. It is an experience of “catholicity” (universality) that is both grace and task, always encouraged by the Holy Spirit who creates unity in diversity.
  1. A Church that with Pope Francis seeks as much simplicity as possible, while attacked from the inside and outside, with the shameful stain of sexual abuse of the clergy. Although our Order is not tremendously tainted by this sinful reality, we must recognize that in one way or another we are splattered.

 

Lines of the future

  • From synodality, which involves a task of administration and life in the code of communion, with a service of authority understood as ‘pastoring’ and listening attentively to all brothers and sisters, in order to bring the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
  • With a systemic structure, based on projects according to lifelines that respond to the needs of the Church and the world, to be truly meaningful and attractive.
  • Alarm clocks of new vocations, for a new Piarist generation.
  • From the contemplation of Christ and the unreserved love for Him, your Order will be able to obtain that light and courage that will allow it to draw up routes of prophetic apostolate, which respond to the changing expectations of the times. But it is necessary, first of all, that every member of your religious family finds in Christ the strength to renew his life: He is the model to imitate and follow, so that he can then effectively propose it to others.”[1]
  • Attention that we must give to interculturality inwards and in our environment, and to inculturation, to help germinate the seeds of the Word.

“The Word (the Word, the Sense of Life) became flesh, and dwelled among us.” “The process of inculturation, in addition to language, includes other aspects, such as: knowing the history and culture of the country; approaching its people cordially and living with them; valuing what they value, changing our mindset; adopting the simplicity of their way of life, their uses and customs. As a sign of incarnation, the desirability of applying for a change of nationality may arise”[2]

  • Our spirituality, raised with clear criteria, as a path of holiness..
  • Cultivate “the spirit of prayer”, in the daily life of our life and ministry.
  • Our spirituality as a process of growth, integration and witness, guarantee of a future of hope.
  • Piarist spirituality, in the words of Calasanz, is mixed, which requires us to be mystical in action and contemplative in action. (Tonti, 26)

 

Concrete lines of action

  • Continue to deepen the meaning of our Calasanctian Spirituality, in the current context of the expansion and consolidation of the Order.
  • To bet on a passionately lived spirituality, so that it is the essential condition and the unquestionable spring for a fertile pastoral care.
  • Together with the laity, to make known the figure of our Holy Founder, not only from the coordinates of his time and culture, but above all from the existential process that, from the spiritual experience, led him to very high levels of “pedagogical and evangelizing holiness of children”.
  • Continue to raise awareness of the importance of revitalizing personal and community prayer, as an essential element of our identity as consecrated to the service of the Kingdom among the little ones.
  • Faced with the current situation of crisis and global change, to analyze in a Calasanctian spirit, in the light of the Holy Spirit, with synodal attitude, the possibility and effectiveness of new foundations in territories not yet explored as: refugee camps, reception centers for undocumented children and young people, nations in Asia and Africa in great need of Gospel liberating education.
  • To work thoroughly, systemically, gradually and robustly, prayer processes, spiritual direction, and psycho-spiritual integration, by all the means that new technologies offer.
  • In order for our spirituality not to be disconnected from reality, we must be well trained in matters of administration and finance, so that our vow of poverty leads us to be poor, simple detached and austere like Christ, as well as wise and practical.
  • To continue to deepen theologically, and living practically, the synodal spirit and the mystique of being part of creation, which the Father wants us to preserve and care for. Our Calasanctian charism in the midst of children and young people is an ideal school and platform to carry out God’s dream.
  • To live practically the spirituality of restitution, which consists in “freely returning what has been given to you for service to your brothers and sisters: life, gifts, time, the goods of which you are served. It is necessary to make “a true encounter with the poor and give rise to a sharing that becomes a [3]
  • “In the Encyclical Laudato si’ Pope Francis has exhorted that in seminaries and religious houses of formation people be educated for responsible austerity, for the grateful contemplation of the world, for the care of the fragility of the poor and the environment.”[4]
  • To live a joyful Calasanctian spirituality, of psycho-spiritual integration, on the path of Piarist attractive holiness, that awakens in young people the desire to be Piarist.
  • To introduce the members of the Piarist Order, from the beginning of the initial formation, in the dynamics of spiritual discernment, which allows looking with the gaze of God. Only in this way, we can understand what our Constitutions proclaim in point no.1: “The Piarist religious family, with a humbly grateful attitude, recognizes itself as the work of God and the fortunate daring and perseverant patience of St. Joseph Calasanz. For he, under the breath of the Spirit, gave himself in body and soul to the Christian education of children, especially the poor, in a spirit of intelligence and piety.”
  • A spirituality without ideological abstractions, well assimilated from cognitive conviction, and dialogue with the historical, cultural, geographical reality, etc. of the people we serve and with whom we live.
  • To live our Calasanctian Spirituality, as the source from which our specific charism, which is oriented in time on our specific mission, by our fourth vow to educate, and embodied in different ministries, in communion with the Local Church where we live.
  • In light of the four principles that Pope Francis offers in the encyclical ‘Evangelii Gaudium’, live our Calasanctian spirituality and evaluate it: + Time is greater than space + Reality is more important than the idea + The whole is superior to the part + Unity prevails over conflict and diversity.

 

Fr. Fernando Negro Marco Sch. P.

[1] From the Letter that Pope John Paul II sent to the 45th General Chapter of the Order, Rome, 2003.

[2] “Bamenda Document”, Guidance for the Presence of Pious Schools in Africa”, ICCE Publications, Madrid, 1989, p. 12

[3] POPE FRANCIS, Message on the occasion of World Day of the Poor, Rome (June 13, 2017),

[4] Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, “Economics at. Service of Charisma and Mission”, Editrice Vaticana, 12 December 2017, no. 19