Communion that bears immeasurable fruit

We asked a few young participants of the Summer School to tell us what it was for them

Communion that bears immeasurable fruit

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We´re in the train that is taking us home, physically but not "spiritually" away from the first Summer School of the Economy of Communion, which took place in Rocca di Papa (Italy) from September 3-6, 2009.

After these four intense days of communion of scientific research, values, projects, ideas, thoughts, hopes, expectations...life...we thought to keep the experience going by continuing to live it on the train that is heading towards Padova. Sorry if we haven´t presented ourselves yet: we´re Antonella, Remigio and Marianna.

Exchanging our impressions and, every once in a while, looking out the window at the changing panorama, we thought to include all of you in what we have learned from this Summer School and give a few tidbits of the life stories told by some of the participants.  They are stories which touched our hearts deeply and have really made us reflect.

So we´ve thought to share our personal experience so that you can also participate in a part of the hope and joy lived in unity during these days. Of the many things that we learned, we want to underline a few in particular.

The first is the topic of poverty.

Many times we make the mistake of generically defining as poor any type of person who is in economic difficulty. And so we only think of poverty in these terms. Instead, poverty is a much vaster and deeper concept. The so-called poor, or better, those in need, are those people who find themselves in economic restriction for various reasons. And this type of poverty is SUFFERED.

Then, there is also another type of poverty: CHOSEN poverty. This includes all those people who, by personal choice, decide not to bury themselves underneath layers of useless material goods or masks in order to protect themselves from others, from what is different. Instead, they risk entering into the game, sharing ideas, thoughts and projects in order to arrive at an actual common goal that will definitely be bigger than what they would ever be able to do alone.

Karel from Czech Republic shared an experience related to this which really touched us. He shared the joy and freedom he experienced in giving, but it was a particular kind of giving: unconditional.

The first experiences was when he and his wife decided to reduce their personal budget, keeping 3/4 for themselves and giving the rest to those in need. This choice was made after realizing that most people use 95% of their income for their personal growth or for their own family.

This choice gave them a strong sense of freedom, as they were no longer worried by the things they had to buy in order to use their income.

But they still weren’t satisfied. They then decided to give even more, putting aside 10% of their total income in a separate bank account, so that they could send it to those far away who are in need.

This giving became even more radical in that they decided to put the 10% aside even in a moment when they didn´t have any income. Karel told us that he didn´t have a job for awhile.  Despite the fact that they continued to put the money aside in the bank account, they were able to go ahead the same.

He told us that the consequences were enormous: an immense interior joy and a true sense of freedom.

The second thing we learned has to do with the fact that an EOC businesses´s first objective is not that of helping the needy by giving them economic support. There is much more : The EOC businesses arise WITH the needy. That is, already in the constitution and projection phase of the business the poor are included, and it is WITH them that you "become a business"! This is one of the fundamental differences and one which radically changes the viewpoint from which one must look at things in order to thoroughly understand the EOC project.

One Italian entrepreneur made us all participants of his story. He shared that he had lent money to help a chicken raising business. This business wanted to give back the financial help received. However, instead of taking back the money, the entrepreneur requested that this business to do something for its community in order to help those in need.

The third thought is that of going outside of ourselves and share this so that it may be received by others.

As a baby is able to give love to those around him, but only because he has first received love from his mother, we too have received much from our lives, from different people and circumstances. So then, we are able to give friendship, time, availability, and ideas to those around us.

It´s through this continuous exchange of "receiving and giving" that, even on a higher level, the various scientific disciplines can dialogue among each other. That is how a new economy can arise, because it is illuminated by sociology, by anthropology, by mathematics, statistics and so on, in an infinite number of ways. Therefore, scholars cannot shut themselves into their own small piece of knowledge but should instead open themselves up to dialogue with others. As previously mentioned, it is in this way that the result will surely be much bigger with respect to that produced by only one thinking mind!

A touching story about the love received is that told by Genevieve Sanze from the Ivory Coast. She told us about an 8-year-old African girl who received a lot of joy from her experience.

During the war there, this girl had received a sum of money from her uncle equivalent to 20 euro cents. She first thought of hiding the sum in order to use it later to buy herself some sweets. However, one day, she saw that her mother was unhappy because she was unable to feed her children enough food. This small girl decided to take her money to go to the supermarket, but then thought it would be better not to go herself to buy the food but to give the money to her mother. This gesture made this mother so happy that there was no longer room in her heart to be sad, even though she knew that even with this money she couldn´t feed all of her children.

Unfortunately, it´s not possible write down all of the other beautiful experiences we made and heard together.  But what we can assure you of is that this summer school spoke of economic theories that contain life within them, and that is why they did not feel impossible. Rather, it seemed so close and possible that for students like us (others probably had other sensations), it made us wish we could immerge ourselves in study programs that would allow us to deepen this topic.

It also narrated life experiences that have enriched us within and have allowed us to make more conscious choices in our personal lives as well.

What we will take away with us is that sharing these things with others is important in many ways, and the fruits brought about by this sharing are immeasurable.

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