On the second day of the assembly, participants were challenged to go to the heart of social commitment: adoration of the Risen One, whose permanent wounds are visible not only in the poor, but also in each one of us.
Where does the heart of the Dehonian’s social commitment lie? If the General Conference takes its inspiration from the social commitment of the founder in his context, today this cannot be proposed again tout court because the cultural, social, and eccesial context has changed radically.
However, there is an indissoluble bond that unites Dehon, his first companion, and the Dehonians of today: the building of the Kingdom of God.
The Contemplative Dimension of Existence
Today was apparently an anomalous day since we didn’t talk about social projects – except at the end – but rather about the heart of the mission of every believer, a disciple of Jesus. Social commitment, interpreted through the eyes of faith, means first of all to place oneself in an attitude of adoration like the Magi, with the ability to raise one’s eyes upwards, to look outside oneself, to set out, and only after these actions, offer bread, making oneself bread.
Social commitment is born, then, from an act of adoration of the Risen One, which is encountered by touching the wounds of the neighbor that I meet on my way. This is the dynamic of the Eucharist adoration that SCJs received as their first apostilic mission.
At the School of the Prophets of Yesterday and Today
The morning culminated with a lecture by Cardinal Turkson, who outlined the social doctrine of the Church. What struck most of the participants was how the social teachings of the Church were not born with Leo XII but have its roots in the biblical traditions of the prophets, continuing in the New Testament with Jesus, continuing with the Church Fathers, and reaching us today. Dehon has placed himself in the wake of this prophetic tradition.
Prophets of Love
What about the Dehonians of today? How do Dehonians build the kingdom of God today? Fr. Giuliano Stenico, SCJ, has been committed to the excluded and the marginalized for over four years. In his afternoon report, he challenged the assembly to reinterpret the social commitment of today. To be able to bind up the wounds of others, one must first look at one’s own wounds and allow oneself to be touched and healed. This is true on both a personal and communal level. Social commitment is not so much a matter of “doing” but a style capable of generating relationship, awakening trust, and healing relationships
“I Call You, Papa”
A final aspect is the community’s response to social commitment. We know that not everyone is equally involved in social projects with the same intensity and commitment. And sometimes we find ourselves alone, or even misunderstood. For social commitment to be a concern of the whole community, it is indispensable that it remains in a state of continuous transformation, capable of accompanying, giving trust, creating a family atmosphere, and sharing. And truly in this way, the most vulnerable and wounded by life and society will be able to find parents and friends that life or society has denied.