The Choice of Non-Possession
The Choice of Non-Possession
There is a fundamental reason, almost a common thread - we can call it non-possession - that runs through various articles in this issue of the DMA. It is a reminder that is all Salesian, and has even a Franciscan flavor, if we refer to the words of a famous recital on St. Francis of Assisi: "Rule 1 - We ask permission to
never have any possession."
It is a connotation of generosity which, if it becomes a lifestyle, can " make people freer, happier, and help them to look at life with more humor. Living freely strips away the desire to defend personal space, helps to re-dimension the claim to consider as "mine " what is a gift to be shared, one that belongs to everyone. It is a process of conversion that is difficult today; it is a provocation, an evangelical alternative to individualism.
The choice of non-possession, in addition to freeing one from fear of expropriation, will overcome the temptation of feeling that we are "owners" instead of "administrators". Such a view sustains the commitment to assiduous and responsible work and supports the efforts of those who know how to be responsible collaborators to complete themselves in creation. Our Rule of Life shows us a way forward with
the invitation to "submit ourselves generously to the common law of work" to make a contribution to the common good, putting at the disposition of others all that one is.
This , too, is a "sign of love" that can qualify our identity and characterize the face of our communities that are becoming more and more intercultural.
It is a choice rooted in the origins of the Institute. At Valdocco, at Mornese, “there was not a single person who educated, but the community in its wealth of gifts offered by the individual members in the integration and harmonization of differences.” This is the criteria which, along the line of recent documents, guides our journey today to “unite forces and coordinate initiatives.”
The attitude of non-possession also constitutes a training to live serenely that solitude which touches every human life and might become a threat to those who “not succeeding to free themselves from infantile attitudes of egocentricity, of self-centeredness”, assume forms of arrogance, rigidity, closure. While a healthy solitude could be “creative, fruitful, open to relationships” because “solitude and sociability are not two opposite and incompatible realities, but are, rather, complementary.”
Both inside and outside our communities there are many witnesses to non-possession. Like Maria Adele and Elio who say with conviction: “If we succeed (and we know how difficult it will be) in emptying ourselves and our egos, to place ourselves at the disposition of others, and we allow life to flow in us as an open glass ready to welcome the pure water that is offered to us each day...then we become capable of
doing things that we never imagined, because it is the Life that flows through us and fructifies the world.”