The Paschal Mystery and Education
The Paschal Mystery crosses all dimensions of the human person, including that of educating and being educated. The same verb educare can be associated with the Latin verb "educere" which means: to bring out, to bring to light.
In this Easter season we wish to dialogue with an expert in this area: PROFESSOR VITTORE MARIANI, pedagogist, teacher and member of the board of the Center for Studies and Research on Disability and Marginality at the Catholic University of Milan.
Sr Dorina: Dear Professor Mariani, in the text you wrote, “In search of the human. Reflections and proposals for living in times of crisis" there is a particular expression that can help us rediscover the value of the educational charism of our Congregation. It clearly states: "It is necessary to start from education".
• Why do you believe this is the starting point?
Professor Mariani: In these times, marked by a profound crisis, on many levels, I am convinced that it is fundamental to educate and self-educate oneself for an integral promotion of the person. This process requires entering into this threefold and synergistic dynamic:
- to welcome and to be welcomed;
- to discover and rediscover human potential;
- to allow every person to live personally and humbly as a protagonist, to participate in community, social, civil and political life. Not towed at the mercy of overwhelming events.
This is a long, broad and profound process.
Sr Dorina: Our Foundress, Mother Bernarda, has always believed in the value of an integral education, as a fundamental tool for evangelizing and improving society, in all its aspects.
• What do you mean, based on your competence and experience, by "integral promotion of the person?”
Professor Mariani: I think it is significant to understand the integral promotion of the person as the complete education of the three areas of personality - which are closely interconnected - as it is expressed in a synthetically brilliant way by the Gospel:
"And Jesus grew in age, wisdom and grace" ( Lk 2,52)!
We can understand age as physical education, wisdom as intellect education, grace as religious education.
First of all, there is the physical, physical-motor education. This is decisive from early childhood when the child with his own body goes to discover reality. First welcomed by the mother's womb, and then away ... she goes to touch, manipulate, crawl, until she knows and experiences all the strength and beauty of the body that grows and changes.
Wisdom derives from the education of the intellect, promotes dynamic, open, fervent and passionate intelligence. It allows an astonished gaze on reality.
Grace, on the other hand, matures and feeds on religious education. It is an experience of oblative, gratuitous, selfless, humble love, of self-giving up to sacrifice, up to the cross. It is an experience of forgiveness and reconciliation, of mercy and living to serve. It is to embrace the Gospel style of the beatitudes which finds its climax in Eucharistic communion, which refers to the experience of being loved with an infinite, faithful, tender, empathetic and understanding love. It also contains and gives meaning to the relational, affective and sexual dimension.
Educating in and with grace is planning that becomes a project of life, throughout life, towards holiness which is perfection in charity, with all the lights and shadows that pass through us.
Sr Dorina: We are living the Easter season, the highlight of our liturgical year.
• In your opinion, how can we see religious education as an "Easter event", a process that passes from darkness to light, from death to life, from the painful restriction of the limited to harmony?
Professor Mariani: As a pedagogist, I can say that religious education is the value foundation of what matters in life and in everyday life, even when you have to go against the current.
It helps to create a path of existential harmony within the person (instinct-reason-faith relationship), because it helps to find the answer to the fundamental and irrepressible questions of life. It helps to discover the meaning and the overall meaning of living.
The path of sharing and communion in the Church and in society is a process of permanent self-education that makes the person responsible and protagonist in all areas of her life.
When you know and live the contents and values of the chosen religion, you always feel accompanied and supported, especially in times of trial, thanks to those virtues that are promoted within us, not in a naive way: faith, hope and charity.
The person, educated religiously and humanly, therefore feels introduced into reality in a creative way because she feels welcomed by "a good destiny.” Her human potential gradually comes to light and, over time, it becomes light for others too.
We sincerely thank Professor Mariani for what he has given us in this sharing and the material that inspired this interview.
L. Bianchini V. Mariani. “In search of the human. Reflections and proposals for living in times of crisis." Ancora, Milan, 2015.
"I am convinced that it is fundamental to educate
and self-educate oneself for an integral
promotion of the person."
has always believed in the value of an integral education,
as a fundamental tool for evangelizing
and improving society, in all its aspects.
Wisdom derives from the education of the intellect,
promotes dynamic, open,
fervent and passionate intelligence.
It allows an astonished gaze on reality.