Educating is choosing life

Message from Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, SJ, Archbishop of Buenos Aires,

educational communities, at the beginning of the school year, as in the Mass in the Metropolitan Cathedral on April 9, 2003


Exactly one year ago, my message began to educational communities talking about a critical and decisive moment in the life of our people. Many things have happened since then: suffering, confusion, anger, but also much put the shoulder by many men and women who gave of themselves to others without justification in indifference or in an effort to “save” others. On balance, we have the conviction that we should not expect any “savior” no proposal “magic” that will take us forward or make us fulfill our “true destiny”. No “true destiny”, no magic. What there is a town with its history full of questions and doubts, with barely holding its institutions, its values ​​seats among question marks with minimal tools to sustain a short term. Things too “heavy” to entrust them to a charismatic or a technician. Things that only through collective action historical building can lead to a more adventurous direction. And I think I am if I sense that your task as educators, will have to “make art” in this challenge. Collectively create a better reality, the limits and possibilities of history, is an act of hope. No certainties, not of mere bets: neither fate nor chance. Demands beliefs and virtues. Put into play all the resources, plus a “plus” imponderable that gives its drama.

The reflection of this year is also about hope, but particularly on a key component of its active dimension: creativity. Because if we are at a historical building and collective, our job as educators and not be limited to “keep doing business as usual”, even to “resist” extremely adverse to a reality: it is to create, to start putting bricks for a new building in the middle of the story, that is located in a present that has a past and wish-that-also a future.
Utopia and historical creation

We speak of “creation” has a connotation immediate believer. Faith in God the Creator tells us the history of men is not a vacuum without borders: has a beginning and also has an address. The God who created “heaven and earth” is the same that made a promise to his people, and his absolute power is the guarantee of the effectiveness of his Love Faith in creation, thus supporting the hope is . Human history, our history, the history of each of us, our families, our communities, we build concrete history every day in our schools, is never “finished”, never exhausted its possibilities, but you can always open to new things, to which so far had not been taken into account. In what seemed impossible. Because this story is part of a creation that is rooted in the power and love of God.

Again, it should be clarified that this is not some sort of certifying between pessimism and optimism. We are speaking of hope, and hope does not feel comfortable with either of those options. Let’s focus on creativity as a characteristic of an active hope. In what sense can be creative, creative, us humans? It will not be in the sense of “created from nothing” as God, obviously. Our ability to create is far more humble and bounded as it is a gift of God, above all, we must receive. We, in exercising our creativity, we must learn to move within the tension between novelty and continuity. That is what we must again result from what is already known. For human creativity, there is no “creation from nothing” or “identical repetition of the same.” Acting creatively implies taking seriously by what is, in all its density, and find the way by which from there to manifest something new.

At this point, we can reconvene, as we did already last year, one of the most important teachers of faith: St. Augustine. In his work The City of God, the Church Father reflected on the meaning of history from the perspective of eschatological salvation is in Christ. The imminent fall of the Roman Empire heralded a profound historical novelty: the end of an era and the uncertain beginning of another. And Augustine proposed comprehend the designs of God to enlighten the Church entrusted to his ministerio.Ya have discussed the key elements of this work in the post last year. Ultimately, we remitíamos to human history as a place of discernment among offers of grace, oriented towards the full realization of man, society and history in eschatological redemption, and the temptations of sin, trying to build a destination opposing the divine dynamic of salvation.

But there are other dimensions of this Augustinian thought that can guide us in the search for a historical creativity. To get your education, you must first ask about the meaning of utopia. First, utopias are fruit of the imagination, the future projection of a constellation of desires and aspirations. Utopia takes its strength from two elements: first, discomfort, dissatisfaction or discomfort generated by the current reality on the other, the unshakable conviction that another world is possible. Hence its mobilizing force. Far from being a mere consolation fantasized, alienation imaginary, utopia is a hope that the decision in a particular historical situation.

The belief that the world is perfectible and that the human person has the resources to achieve a fuller life feeds all utopian construction. But this belief goes hand in hand with a search for specific mediations that ideal is realizable. Because while the term “utopia” literally refers to something that is “nowhere”, something that does not exist in a reachable, why not aim for a complete alienation from historical reality. By contrast, is proposed as a possible development, but so far imagined. Let us note this point: something that does not yet exist, something new, but to which you have to go from there is. Thus, all utopias include a description of an ideal society, but also an analysis of the mechanisms or strategies that could make it possible. We would say that is a projection into the future that tends to return to his ways of looking this possibility, in this order: first, the ideal, vividly outlined, then certain mediations that they would hypothetically viable.

But also, in his “return” from this, is based mainly on the denial of the unwanted aspects of current reality. Springs from the rejection (not visceral but smart) to a situation considered as bad, unjust, dehumanizing, alienating, etc. In this regard, we note that utopia proposed the new … but free never the actual. Outlines the expectation of novelty from the current perception of what would be desirable if we could free ourselves of the factors that oppress us, tendencies that prevent us access to something higher. For two different sides, then, we see the inextricable link between the desired future and present supported. Utopia is not pure fantasy is also critical of reality and search for new paths.

In that rejection of the current towards another possible world, articulated as a leap into the future that must then find their ways to be viable, has two serious limitations: first, a certain quality “crazy”, typical of his character fantastic or imaginary , to lay emphasis on this dimension and not in the pragmatic aspects of their construction, can make it a mere dream, an impossible wish. Some of it resonates in a current use, “realistic”, the term. The second limit: in its rejection of the present and wish to introduce something new, may lie in a fierce and uncompromising authoritarianism that exceed what is wanted. How many utopian ideals have no place in the history of humanity, to all kinds of injustice, intolerance, persecution, abuses and dictatorships of various signs?

Well exactly are these two limits of utopian thinking that caused the now discredited, either by a supposed realism that is tied to the “possible”, meaning that possible as the only game of the dominant forces ruling capacity create human reality from an ethical aspiration, either by the cows at the promises of some new worlds that, in the last century, have only brought more suffering to the people.

And here we can re-read The City of God. Utopia, as we know, is a typically modern construction (although rooted in millenarian movements that spanned the second half of the Middle Ages). But St. Augustine, to raise his scheme of “two cities” (the city of God, governed by love, and the earthly city, selfishness) inextricably juxtaposed in secular history, gives us some clues to locate the relationship between novelty and continuity, which is precisely the critical point of utopian thinking and the key to all historical creativity. Indeed: the City of God is, first, a critique of the conception sacralizaba political power and the status quo. All of the old empire was based on this kind of belief. Religion was an essential part of any building that held symbolic and imaginary society from a sacred power. And this was not just a matter of the “pagan” once Christianity was adopted as the state religion of the Roman Empire, it was forming an “official theology” which held that political reality as if it were already accomplished God’s kingdom on earth .

Just to such theological reading of a historical reality opposed Augustine with his work. By showing the seeds of corruption in imperial Rome, was breaking any identification between the Kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of this world. And to present the City of God as a reality in the story, but somehow intertwined with the earthly city and only “separable” in the Last Judgement, gave rise to the possibility of another possible story, lived and constructed from other values and other ideals. If the “official theology” the story was the exclusive venue and exclusive Power self-referential, in the City of God is in space for a freedom that welcomes the gift of salvation and the divine plan for humanity and a world transfigured. Project to be finished in eschatology, it is true, but already in the story can go gestating new realities, knocking false determinism, opening and over the horizon of hope and creativity from a “plus” sense , a promise that is always inviting proceed.

We can also take the time “utopian” in his criticism of the models made sacred, and link to the realism with which the bishop of Hippo considered his active membership in the Church. For another aspect of our holy is his commitment and concrete struggle for building a strong Church, united, focused on the experience of faith of which he was a privileged witness, but also performing in a historic and ground in a community concrete. His firm stand against the Donatists (a stream that sought a church of the “pure” no place for sinners) highlighted the realistic belief that waiting for a new heaven and a new earth must not allow ourselves idly by present challenges in pursuit of a “pure” or “no earthly contamination”, but-on the contrary-should give us guidance and self-energy to “knead” the mud of the everyday, the ambiguous mud it is made of human history, to shape a world more worthy of the daughters and sons of God. No heaven on earth, only a more humane world, waiting for God’s eschatological action.

The historical creativity, then, from a Christian perspective, is governed by the parable of the wheat and the tares. It is necessary to project utopias, while it is necessary to take care of what you get. There is no “clean slate.” Being creative is not throwing away all that is the current reality, however limited, corrupt and worn that it is present. There is no future without a present and without past: memory also involves creativity and insight, fairness and justice, wisdom and strength. If we try to give back to our country from a place of education, we can not lose sight of two poles: the utopian and unrealistic, because both are part of the historical creativity. We encourage the new, but not throw away what others (or even ourselves) have been built with effort.
A creative history in Argentina

Let us see this in a slightly more concrete. Why not give it a try, since we’re on topic, let us teach by history? Thinking about the founding of our country times, I was met by a character which usually is not recognized the importance that has been emerging in Argentina. I mean Manuel Belgrano.

What can you say about him, in addition to its participation in the first meeting and the creation of the flag? There was a man “successful”, at least in the terms in which we have come to use that word in this era of pragmatism and foolishness. His military campaigns lacked the luster and depth to beat out Jose de San Martin the title of “Liberator”. Lacked the pen of a writer and propagandist Sarmiento. As a politician, he was always relegated to a second line. Neither his private life was too striking: his health left much to be desired, he could not marry the woman he loved and died at fifty years in poverty. However, Sarmiento said it had been “one of the very few that does not have to apologize to posterity and the severe criticism of the story. His death is still a guarantor dark that was full citizen, patriot faultless”. In very few “successful” in our national history could say the same … Is that in addition to their personal virtues and untestable his deep Christian faith, Belgrano was a man who, at the right time, he found the energy, drive and balance that define true creativity: the difficult but fruitful combination of continuity and novelty realistic magnanimous. His influence at the dawn of our national identity is far greater than is supposed, and therefore can stand back to show us, in this time of uncertainty but also of defiance, “how to” to bring lasting foundation historical creation task.
A creative revolutionary

Belgrano lived in an age of utopias. Son of Italian and Creole had been studying law at some of the best universities in the metropolis: Salamanca, Madrid and Valladolid. In war-torn Europe of the Century, the young Belgrano had not only learned the discipline that had gone to study, but had an interest in the nascent brainstorming that were shaping a new age. In particular, the political economy. Firmly convinced of the most advanced ideas of progress of his time, did not hesitate to be inside a project to put all this in the service of a great cause in his homeland. So, in 1794 he was appointed first Permanent Secretary of the Royal Consulate of Industry and Trade of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, something similar to what today would be a portfolio of Finance. It was common that the strongly centralist Spain Bourbon locate in important post a creole son and abroad. But in Buenos Aires scarce men with similar training. The flaming Secretary soon confront the American reality, trying to fulfill its task of promoting the production and trade in a spirit truly transforming. He soon realized that the bright ideals of human rights and progress clashed with conservative attitudes of the colonial administration and the wealthy of Buenos Aires, traders who benefited from the Spanish monopoly and smuggling:

“… I knew that nothing would be done in favor of the provinces by men who postponed their special interests the ordinary. Nevertheless, since by my employment obligations could talk and write about as useful materials, I decided, at least, take the seeds that one day would be able to bear fruit, and because some stimulated the same spirit be devoted to its cultivation, and because the very order of things made germinate “, would say in his brief autobiography.

What were these seeds? “Establish schools is planted in the souls”, say our hero. The revolutionary spirit of Belgrano quickly discovered that the new, which could become a reality able to modify static and ossified, would come on the side of education. Thus, promoted by all means creating basic and specialized schools. The annual reports of the Consulate, the Mercantile Telegraph newspaper and later the E Trade, would be some of the means by which seek to “grow” these “seeds”. His preaching emphasize the need for technical education, designing school projects of agriculture, commerce, architecture, mathematics, drawing. Of these, only able to materialize the Nautical and Drawing. Belgrano long before others realized that education and training even in the disciplines and modern techniques were an important key to the development of their homeland. If unable to develop their projects, was because, as he wrote years later, “all or escollaban government in Buenos Aires or in court, or between the traders, individuals who composed this body, for whom there were more reason, no more justice, no more useful or more need than commercial interest, whatever it hit him, was a veto, but would appeal to tackle it. ” But that does not abandoned its efforts: on either side managed to continue disseminating and implementing their ideas. Because besides idealistic, the creator of the flag was very persistent, and she was not easily overcome, despite its moderate and conciliatory.

Besides making it economic development, Belgrano thought that “a cultured people can never be enslaved.” The dignity of the human person in his mind occupied, while Christian and illustrated, the central place. Hence, also will strive for the establishment of schools in the city and in the countryside, where providing all children the alphabet, along with basic math skills, the catechism, and some useful skills for living.

“Those are miserable huts where many creatures who reach the age of puberty, without having been exercised in anything but idleness, must be addressed to the last point,” he wrote in 1796. “One of the principal means to be adopted for this purpose are the free schools, where can the unfortunate sending their children, without having to pay anything for their education, there are could dictate good maxims, and inspire love work, because in a town where idleness reigns, trade declines and takes his misery. ”

No other was the spirit of his insistence (in Regulation School Geometry, Architecture, Drawing and Perspective, written by his own hand) in equal rights for Spanish, Creole and Indian and providing jobs for four orphans, “the dispossessed of our land.” In the same vein, Belgrano gives utmost importance to the education of girls, at a time when it was still far practical recognition of conditions and equal rights for men and women. We see a true creator in action, someone who, far from being satisfied with the position reached and make it work in his favor, he devoted the best of their energies to trying to shape a new society, different, better for everyone. Open to the most advanced ideas of his time and, at the same time, aware of the need for anyone to stay out of this new world that was taking shape. But something else was not an idealist who desentendía practical difficulties of their projects. For all of them wanted to predict the mode of financing, human resources and materials that would make possible. At this point he did not hesitate to make the same items that would be needed to sustain a serious educational effort. Shortly after the Revolution of 1810 donated 165 volumes to the public library in Buenos Aires (now the National Library). It is also known that allocated the prize of 40,000 pesos which was awarded for his victory in the Battle of Salta to build four schools in Tarija, Salta, Tucuman and Santiago del Estero. He himself writes the regulations for these schools, in which he showed how those resources should be used to support teachers, provide supplies and books to the children of poor parents, etc. A striking detail: argued that the teacher should be regarded as “Father of the Nation” and should have a seat on the local council. Another detail, not so striking: these schools failed to build ever.
“What you see is not all there”

Before the Archbishop seems unduly trying to become a history teacher, I would rescue Apparently some lessons about creativity. Beyond the profound differences in time, there is a lot of standing, of force, in the attitude of Belgrano always try to look beyond, to not stay with the known, good or bad with this. That attitude “utopian” in the most valuable sense of the word, is without doubt one of the essential components of creativity. To paraphrase (and investing) a popular expression, we could say that creativity springs from the hope that states that “… what you see is not all there.”

Thus the challenge of being creative requires us suspicious of all speech, thought, statement or proposal that is presented as “the only possible way.” There’s always more. There is always another possibility. Perhaps more difficult, perhaps more committed, perhaps more resisted by those who are well installed and which things are going very well … Argentines have already suffered this kind of discourse over the last decade, with the weight and brightness of academia and science, with the supreme wisdom of the technical and titles. Empty promises of the “gurus” of the moment, and we have seen where led. Today everyone seems to know “what would you have done instead of what was done.” And everyone seems to forget that “what was done” was presented by the “priests” of economic knowledge and “opinion makers” of communication as “the only possible way.” Be creative, however, is to assert that there is always an open horizon. And it is not just an idiot who tried optimism copy of a hero of the past two centuries. The statement that “what you see is not all there” is derived directly from the faith in the Risen Christ, novelty ultimately declaring provisional and incomplete throughout another embodiment, novelty measures the distance between the actual and the manifestation of heaven new and new earth. Distance that only saves the hope and active arm: creativity which belies all false consummation and opens new horizons and alternatives.

What can be said also of the “grave” that we can put on a person, a student, a peer-when encasillamos, label and package under a label, a definition, a “concept”? How many times can we close the roads for renewal and growth of a person or of an educational institution, when we declare meekly that “the way things are,” “work,” or that “with so there’s nothing to do”? Of all possible institutions, schools just animated by Christian faith are those who least should resign and stay with the “already known.” Our schools are called to be signs of actual, living, that “what you see is not all there is” another world, another country, another society, another school, another family is possible. Called to be institutions where they rehearse new ways of relating, new ways of brotherhood, a new respect for the unprecedented nature of every human being, greater openness and honesty, a work environment marked by cooperation, justice and the valuation of each where left out handling relationships, competition, handlings “behind”, authoritarianism and favoritism involved. All speech closed definitively always conceals many delusions; hides what should not be seen. Try to muzzle the truth that is always open to the truly definitive, which is not of this world. We think a school open to new things, able to surprise and herself learn from everything and everyone. A school rooted in the truth, which is always a surprise. School is seed, in the sense that said Belgrano and, especially, in the evangelical sense of a new world, transfigured.

I make a proposal: in a society where lying, concealment and hypocrisy have lost basic trust that allows the social bond, what most revolutionary innovation that the truth? Talking truth, tell the truth, exposing our criteria, our values, our views. If we forbid it and continue with any kind of lie or dissimulation we also, as indeed overflowing, more responsible and even more charitable. Lying all diluted, really shows what is in the hearts. First proposal: always say the truth and from our schools. I assure you that the change is obvious: this will be something new in the middle of our community.
“Every man, every man”

There is a criterion, truly evangelical, that is foolproof to unmask “unique thoughts” that close the possibility of hope, and even false utopias that denature. Is the criterion of universality. “The whole man and all men” was the beginning of discernment that Paul VI proposed in relation to the true development. The preferential option for the poor of Latin American Bishops not looking for something else: to include all people, in all their dimensions, the project of a better society. Is that why we sound so “familiar” Manuel Belgrano’s insistence on education for all, particularly contemplating the needy to ensure full universality. In reality, a society may be desirable to discard a large or small amount of its members? Even from a selfish position, how can I be sure that I will not be excluded next?

Perhaps something that our society has learned over the past year. “There have always been poor among us”, but in recent decades were falling one by one the institutions intended to ensure everyone at least a chance to live a decent life. The increased and increasing unemployment was the most obvious sign. Long disappeared and devalued work, social security, provincial economies were disarticulating … Today we were horrified to see that children are dying of malnutrition. But a few years ago, who were included in the consumer world, or dreamed (or wanted to dream) that, while some became citizens of the first world, others descended to a kind of underworld no job, no sense No hope, no future, declared “not viable” or mere recipient of aid (long enough) by an unjust and heartless. Until they reached the “yard” and collapse, and that many Argentines found that infernal machine also came for them, for those who “came saving”.

If we accept that “some do and some do not,” the door is open for all who come after aberrations. This is also a focal point of creativity we seek. The ability to always look what happens to the side that was not taken into account in the calculations. “Re-look” to see if there was anyone out, no one forgotten. For many reasons. First, in the Christian logic, every man shall have his place and each is essential. Second, because an exclusive society is, in fact, a potential enemy of all society. And third, because it was forgotten that not going to give up so easily. If you could not walk in the door, try to do it through the window. Result: The exclusive and beautiful amnesiac society will have to become more and more repressive, to prevent outside Lazarus left to get a “slapping some” of the table of Dives.

Well, an indispensable mission of every Christian educator is to bet on the inclusion, work for inclusion. Has not been an ancient practice of the Church to bring education to the most neglected? Have not been created for that purpose many congregations and educational works? Have we always been consistent with this commitment to service and inclusion? What did we miss this winds north Gospel? Because the Church also dreams provide free education to all who wish to receive their service, especially the poorest. But where does that leave us to ourselves? Obviously things did not fall like manna from heaven, and that in these times is not easy for us to sustain our institutions. Of course the state has its responsibility and role, and must ensure a variety of ways and free education for all, respecting the right to choose who also have the poor. But now I mean rather a question of mentality. The mindset with which we carry our schools, we transmit the mentality, the mentality we take measurements and options. Our schools must follow a well-defined criterion: that of fraternal solidarity. And that should be their hallmark in every one of its dimensions and activities, and also, let me say, that of each Christian teachers. No way their work is merely “good”. No job is, but yours in a special. It is a service to individuals, small, people come into your hands so that you help them become what they can be. “Founding Fathers” were called Belgrano, and you claimed for a seat on the council. I wish all our educational institutions could properly reward their teachers! Not only economically: also respect, participation, recognition. Economically, reality imposes limits we can not deny. But all teachers, principals, pastors, parents, pupils can be signs of a different world where everyone is recognized, accepted, included, dignified, and not only for its utility but for its intrinsic value as a human being, of daughter or son of God. Called to be creative in this critical time in our country, we must ask ourselves what we do as a church, a school, as teachers, to contribute to a culture and a truly inclusive and universal practice, and education to provide some possibilities, but to all who are within our reach, through the various means we have.

A second proposal: let us dare to play us entirely by the Christian value of fraternal solidarity. Let not the individualistic and competitive mentality so ingrained in our civic culture also finished colonizing our schools. Let us encourage and teach up to demand the release, the generosity, the primacy of the common good. Equality and respect for all foreigners (from neighboring countries), poor, indigent. From our schools we fight all forms of discrimination and prejudice. Learn and teach to give even from scarce resources of our institutions and families. And that this comes through in every decision, every word, in every project. Thus, we will be putting a very clear sign (and even controversial and contentious, if necessary) of the distinct society we want to create.
“From good intentions is paved the road to hell”

A third criterion to guide our creativity. Again, recognizing the action of the creator of the national flag, which always sought to secure the resources and means to carry out their projects. Intentions is not enough, nor with words. It should be put to work, and effectively. It is very nice to talk about solidarity, of a different society, theorizing about the importance of school and education updated, personalized, down-to-earth. There are tons of words on the information society, the knowledge capital of the world as the main current, and so forth. But “with good intentions is paved the road to hell.” A true creativity does not neglect, as we saw, the purposes, values, sense. But even leaving aside the specific aspects of project implementation. The “art” without “ethics” is empty and dehumanizing, the blind leading the blind, but the application ends without adequate consideration of the means to achieve them is doomed to become mere fantasy. Utopia, we said, and has the ability to mobilize standing “on” and “outside” and criticized the limited reality, too, and for that matter, has a look of “madness” of “alienation”, as not to develop their mediations to make attractive visions possible targets.

Therefore, to deal creatively with the present time, more and more we develop our capabilities, sharpen our tools, deepen our knowledge. Rebuild our ailing education system, from the small or prominent place we occupy touched involves training, accountability, professionalism. Nothing is done without the necessary resources, not only financial, but also human talents. Creativity is not mediocre thing. But neither of “enlightened” or “geniuses” but always need dreamers and prophets, the word falls into the void without builders who know their craft.

The school that plays to respond to these challenges must enter a dynamic dialogue and participation to solve new problems in new ways, knowing that no one has the sum of knowledge or inspiration, and that the contribution of each responsible and competent one is indispensable. The socio-economic exclusion, the crisis of meaning and values ​​and the social bond labilization are a reality that touches everyone, but in a special way affects our children and adolescents. It is necessary to find effective ways to accompany them and strengthen them against the risks they face. And not just AIDS or drugs, also individualism, consumerism frustrating, lack of opportunity, the temptation of violence and hopelessness, loss of ties and horizons, limiting the ability to love. Are we prepared? Do we have adequate professional teams? We go out to seek experiences, ideas, proposals, or we tend to stick with what we know, whether or not worked? Are we willing to build networks with generous opening to the diocesan? If a true Christian mysticism of openness to the adveniente and universal solidarity and concrete we add a generous and reasonable management of our human and organizational talents, not contenting ourselves with what we already have but looking for more and more improving our skills and capabilities , we will be able to respond to the current situation with a real creative attitude.

And here’s the third proposal: not hesitate to find the best in our schools. Let’s get some flatness, a certain style of “tie wire” that has long been a habit in our communities. Let’s worry for our teachers, our leaders, our chaplains, our administrative, are really good and serious thing. The spirit is important, but so is professional competence. Not to fall into the myth of “excellence” in the competitive sense and unsupportive that sometimes occurs, but to offer our community and our country the best of us, thoroughly jeopardizing our talents.
Creativity and tradition: “build from the healthy side”

The creativity that thrives on utopia, rooted in solidarity and seeks the most effective, yet may suffer from a disease that corrupts her into the worst of evils: to believe that it all starts with us, failing that, as noted, quickly degenerates into authoritarianism.

Let’s go back to 1810. A few months after the May Revolution, Belgrano is sent on a military mission to Paraguay. A year later, would be put in charge of the Northern Army’s mission realistic combat significant pockets in Upper Peru. With triumphs and setbacks, will occupy that post until 1814, in which it replaces after San Martin. Obviously, we will not do here chronicle the military campaigns of attorney made commanding armies, but I would like to draw your attention to a detail that shows the attitude of the hero and can walk us to develop our final thought about creativity . You will know that Belgrano was a boss truly recognized and loved by his subordinates, but also, in the troops, circulating about his person some humorous and sly comments: I was a prude, it was weak character … It is true that, for those soldiers, a son of wealthy merchants, formed in the top center of Buenos Aires and Spain, always devoted to books and intellectual tasks, would certainly look rather distant. But it is also true that much of the criticism had to do with his moderate attitude and, above all, with its strict prohibitions when it came to dealing with women, drinking, fighting, and card games other things to do to the discipline of the troops. Belgrano is considered the military campaigns conducted on behalf of the Revolution had to live up to the ideals that animated, ideals of human dignity, liberty and fraternity, all also based on the Christian virtues. So your troops demanded a true testimony of integrity and respect for the communities through which they passed.

Was especially severe with anything that might offend the religious beliefs of the peoples of the interior. In a proclamation to the troops to enter the Upper Peru ordered

“… Will respect the traditions, customs and even peoples’ concerns, which make fun of them with actions, words and even gestures will be shot.”

In addition to their religious convictions, was at stake for him the meaning of the revolution and, ultimately, the nation that wanted to build. Indeed, in one of his letters to San Martin, and the latter by the Northern Army, Belgrano wrote that “… the war (in Upper Peru) not only will you do with weapons, but with opinion, always holding fast the natural virtues, Christian and religious, as we have made enemies calling heretics, and only in this way have attracted people to arms barbarian, and told them that we were attacking the religion. “(.. .) should not let go of opinions exotic or unfamiliar men who tread the country. “was no stranger to these warnings that military and civilian leaders had earlier seriously shocked the inhabitants of those places with their attitudes and its anti-Catholic preaching, illustrated typical mentality of the French Revolution. Conversely, Belgrano knew that nothing can be built on the wanton destruction of the above, but must split the recognition of the identity and value of the other.

And this is where we completed our perspective on creativity as located in the tension between innovation and continuity. If being creative is about being able to open up to the new, that does not mean neglecting the element of continuity with the above. Only God creates out of nothing, we said above. And just as there is no way to cure a sick if we do not rely on what you have to healthy, just as we can not create something new in history if not from the materials that gives us the same story. Belgrano recognized that America united and strong which could only dream built on respect and affirmation of identities of peoples. If creativity is not able to take living aspects of the real and present, quickly becomes authoritarian imposition, replacement brutal “truth” on the other. Is not this one of the keys to our difficulty to lead a more positive dynamic? If ever, to build, we tend to turn and trample what others have done before, how can we establish something solid? How can we avoid sowing new hatreds later scuttle us what we could do?

So if we as educators really sow the seeds of a more just, more free and fraternal, we must learn to recognize the historical achievements of our founders, our artists, thinkers, politicians, educators, pastors … Maybe now we’re finding that at the time “of fat cows” we left dazzled by some “snake oil” and intellectual fashions of the others, and had forgotten some certainties very painfully learned by previous generations: the value social justice, hospitality, solidarity between generations, work and dignity of the person, the family as the basis of society …

Our schools should be a place where our children and young people to make contact with the vitality of our history. Not only disguising selling porridge in the act of May 25, but also learning to reflect on the successes and failures that shaped our current reality. But that assumes that before, all of us, as educators, we could perform-together-that process. Beyond the various options and ways of thinking, one must learn to develop basic agreements, shared-not-leveled down, on which to build. It is the only way to assert a collective identity that everyone can recognize.

Create from what exists is also be able to recognize the differences, previous knowledge, expectations and even the limits of our kids and their families. We know that education is by no means a one-way process. But act accordingly? Are we really willing to be taught, we, teachers? Are we able to take care of a relationship that we can all come out changed? Do we believe in our students, families in our neighborhood, in our people? The ability to “build from the healthy side” is, then, the fourth and final criterion for creative action today I want to share with you.

And I make the final proposal: let us encourage life to propose models for our students. Postmodern culture, which dilutes everything, said any proposal outdated concrete ethical. Present examples of valuable service, struggle for justice, commitment to community, holiness and heroism, tends to be seen as a kind of “time tunnel” useless or harmful. And over a territory devastated what remains but the survival instinct? To paraphrase a song that you know and certainly have sung, “Who said that all is lost: many have offered their heart?” propose testimony with conviction that these offerings have not been in vain. And even before the steamroller of “everything is the same, nothing is better”, we will have put unconcealed signs that something new is possible.

Our reflections have made four lessons about creativity historical need to stake these days, four principles of discernment:

Always look beyond “what you see is not all there.”

Observe a “whole man and all men”

Always look for the most appropriate and effective means “of good intentions is paved the road to hell.”

“Building from the healthy side,” rescuing the values ​​and positive accomplishments.

And, as a way (not the only one!) To go implementing this, four proposals:

-Always tell the truth.

-Play us for fraternal solidarity.

-Develop always our capabilities.

-Suggest testimony and concrete models of life.

Like the miracle of Jesus, our can multiply loaves and fishes (Matthew 14, 17-20). As in the example given by the Lord to his disciples, our small offering has a maximum value (Luke 21, 1-4). As in the parable, our little seeds become tree and harvest (Matthew 13, 23. 31-32). All this from the living source of the Eucharist, in which our bread and our wine are transformed to give us eternal life. We ask for a huge and difficult task. The faith in the Risen One, we can face it with creativity and hope, and always putting us in the place of the servants of that wedding, surprised collaborators first sign of Jesus who only followed the slogan of a Woman: “Do whatever he tells you “(John 2, 5). Creativity and life expectancy are grown. This year, in which synthesizing all this we mean force: To educate is to choose life, let us ask our Mother in the words of John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae:

Oh Mary

dawn of the new world,

Mother of the living,

to you do we entrust the cause of life:

Look, Mother, upon the vast numbers

of children allowed to be born,

of the poor whose lives are made difficult,

male and female victims

of brutal violence,

elderly and the sick killed

due to indifference

or out of misguided mercy.

Grant that all who believe in your Son

may proclaim with firmness and love

men of our time

the Gospel of life.

Obtain for them the grace to accept it

as a gift ever new,

the joy of celebrating it with gratitude

throughout its existence

and the courage to bear witness

record with caring for the construction,

together with all people of good will,

civilization of truth and love,

to the praise and glory of God the Creator

and lover of life.

Buenos Aires, in Lent, AD 2003

Jorge Mario Bergoglio S.J.
Archbishop of Buenos Aires

Posted in 2002

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