Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Family, community, education

Luigi Giussani makes an interesting comment in his book, The Risk of Education: “Trying to educate children only through the family is neither intelligent nor sincere” (Giussani, p. 130). At first this sounds like a warning against being too restrictive or isolationists--protecthing your children against the world. In fact, what he means is that we cannot be protective simply within the family, but must form larger social units which have a protective function. We must join forces to protect against the destructive forces in society.

Any one who underplays the aggressive evils in the world is like those people from the Ministry of Magic in book 5 of Harry Potter who denied that Voldemort has returned. Only the secret Order of the Phoenix was wise enough to fight. Ver Sacrum. “The family is like a house battered by lightning and thunder. Social forces on all sides assault the family, and the family which is not aware of this situation will be influenced even more by these ruling forces.” (Giussani, p. 130)

We need to gather together to create within our society an alternative to the culture of death. “An intelligent family will come out of its complacent, comfortable position and create relationships, a social fabric, in opposition to the dominant social fabric.” (Giussani, p. 131) This is why movements like CL, Opus Dei, Schoenstatt or a home school group are so important.

And things are only bound to get worse. Giussani sees this as a moral imperative in the coming years as the evils intensify. “In fact, the more society tightens its grip in various areas—something bound to intensify—the only way to save our rights is to join forces with others.” (Giussani, p. 131).

Note: this is not a circle the wagons type attitude; rather, it is a requirement for evangelization--that is, going forth into the world to bring the light of Christ through acts of love, the promotion of truth and the creation of authentic beauty. The Order of the Phoenix went to battle Voldemort. We can't do it as individuals or as families; we are not strong enough or smart enough. This is why the medievals called the family an imperfect society--the family does not have in itself everything it takes to accomplish its own task. It needs to be integrated into a natural and supernatural communities that will give it what it needs.

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