The EoC: a way for everyone

We are publishing in advanced the introduction to the 2011 EoC Report, which will be published shortly

by Luigino Bruni

Bruni_rid_modWe present to you the "2011 EoC Report," with gratitude - to God, to Chiara, the entrepreneurs, the commissions, and all the EoC actors; the report of among the most difficult year because of the global economies and certainly that of the West. We were astonished and rejoiced with the results of this difficult year. As you will see when you flip through the pages, the profits and the companies that are part of our grand project (it is called like this until we find a better word that best satisfy us) both have increased. But the quality of development projects in the world has also increase, brought ahead in an ever closer and effective collaboration with AMU, as well as the increase of communion with the people who received aid.

While publishing these data we cannot forget the difficult situation, the worst in the last decades, which is going through the global economic system. It has complicated the lives of many of our companies and many of our fellow citizens, entrepreneurs, families, and especially the poor people who are suffering the consequences of the collapse of the financial system and much of the economic world, especially Europe. At the same time, never in the recent years has the EoC been looked at with interest by many with an increasing number of invitations to present it, many universities and cultural and economic centers of different countries talking about it (sometimes without us even knowing it). In other words, we are living in favorable time (kairos) for a new EoC season. In what sense?

The crises, both individual and collective, are ambivalent. We can get out of it worst if during the crisis our relations with ourselves, with God, with the others and with the world are worsened, but we can get out on top if the difficult moments help us to be silent, to discover or rediscover our true vocation, our “daimon” (in the words of Socrates). The charisms, such as that of Unity from which the EoC was born and nourished, are essential in moments of crisis because they have the task of indicating a path of positivity in times of passage. The crises that we are experiencing can and should be a favorable time to make a leap in the scale. It will be so, if we are able to make a new announcement of the Economy of Communion within the Focolare Movement (where in a distance of twenty years there is an entire generation gap from those early days), but also and above all, outside of itself, in the Church, and in the world.

But for this new phase to take place in this favorable time, there are two conditions necessary.

First, the EoC must be presented and understood for what it truly is: a great vision to change the entire economic system (“neither communism, nor consumerism, but communion,” Chiara); a different idea of capitalism. So far we have mostly presented the EoC as an ethic, a way for entrepreneurs, and developing projects for the poor, staying mainly within the Focolare Movement. We did it like St. Francis in relation to the church of St. Damian in Assisi. When Francis heard the call of God, “go Francis and reconstruct my Church,” he first understood it as a physical reconstruction (with stones and beams) of the ruined church of St. Damian. Francis realized only later that the Church to be rebuilt was not made of stone but the Church of Christ. This is the same for us as well and perhaps for an internal logic to the charisms (starting with the concrete and possible, and then the understanding that the mission is different and more universal), we have taken up the call of Chiara to give birth to a new Economy of Communion, taking care of the entrepreneurs and the poor of our Movement. Lately, however, even thanks to the big event in Sao Paulo (Brazil) last May, we understood, finally all together as a body, that the new economy that Chiara wanted and wants is more than this: that the EoC is a gift for everyone, a contribution to an economy of communion for everyone, an act of love to improve the lives of our people. It is like saying – changing metaphor – that today we do not see the EoC tree but its seed. There is nothing wrong with that, indeed there is much good to see and care for the seed, as long as we do not think that what we see today (the little more than eight hundred companies and the movement around them) is already the tree and not the seed.

And now we come to the second condition. In order to make this leap of scale – and thus begin to see a few leaves of the tree – we are asked, on one hand, that our projects may always be more credible both on the company side and that of helping the poor, and on the other hand, that the communion of goods may always be more a way of life of our communities, within and outside the businesses. If we want that the church becomes the Church, and that the seed becomes a tree, then it is necessary that the DNA of the seed is the right one, otherwise nothing will grow or the fruit will not be tasty and plentiful.

Happy New Year 2012, that it may be the year in which we begin to glimpse this new phase of the EoC, faithful to its roots, and for this pointed towards “that all may be one,” the great word of the charism of unity. And do not miss any opportunity to announce the EoC at all levels, by testimony but also with words, as Chiara’s prophecy, nothing more and nothing less of that blessed day in May 1991. Greetings to everyone, really to each one.

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