Dear Brothers and all Lasallians,
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we are living in a time of acute planetary awareness of the vulnerability of our human condition. Vulnerability describes our condition of being dependent on each other. It reminds us that we are entrusted to each other every day, in our families and communities, in our services, in the supermarket, in the means of transport, in the street Our vulnerability means that we are handed over, delivered to others, exposed without even our consent. It imposes on us a duty of attention and responsibility towards others and ourselves.
This time of Lent, of quarantine for some, imposes on us a real duty of conversion and attention to our vulnerability. In view of the concern for our community and personal health, our behaviour must change. The experience and the awareness of our common exposure to the disease indicates the need for more responsibility in our behaviour. The awareness of our common vulnerability to illness obliges us to live the values of solidarity with personal and collective responsibility.
Being vulnerable is no longer something that only happens to others. Everyone is vulnerable, rich or poor, young or old, educated or ignorant, with or without any power. It means that we are, whether we like it or not, handed over to one another, responsible for one another. Vulnerability evokes a kind of intimacy shared with things, with beings, with people. This intimacy is neither completely conscious nor completely spontaneous. It needs to be learned and accompanied by discernment. Instead of cultivating such intimacy, we prefer to seek autonomy; we look to science and power to put us in a position of domination and control. Thus, we develop a misleading sense of invulnerability.
Now we have the coronavirus; this invisible thing has arrived. Fear has invaded everyone with it. Suddenly, we discover everywhere the value of solidarity; work ceased to be the top priority as did financial profit and business travels. Parents suddenly find themselves with time for their family. Someone observed that parents, having become home teachers for their children, could improve their personal level of education. The way this virus is spreading highlights a kind of social equality and leads everyone to agree on the value of lives to be protected. The exposure to the vulnerability of our mortal condition forces us to draw on our internal resources, to appeal to our most intimate values: courage, sense of dedication and sacrifice, resilience
As human beings, we are predators. Vulnerability submits us all to the condition of prey. The consciousness of being a prey, that is to say a possible victim of the disease, arouses in us the feeling of the precariousness of our existence. We are unable to guarantee the duration and the stability of our personal and collective existence. The etymological relationship between "prayer" and "precarious" suggests that it is the condition of precariousness, ours and also that of the world, that makes one pray. The awareness or our precariousness naturally takes us beyond a routine and stereotypical practice of prayer and faith.
John-Baptist de La Salle entrusted the Institute to Saint Joseph by making him his patron. His feast, on this March 19, 2020, is an opportunity to put ourselves under his protection, he who knew how to watch over Mary and the Child Jesus.
Saint Joseph, Pray for us.
Brother Pierre Ouattara General Councillor
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