Assisi, the Basilica of St. Francis

"You have given him rule over the works of Your hands"

At the end of March, a group of young people from the movement spent three days together in Assisi. The notes of Fr. Paolo Prosperi's introductory lecture on the theme of work.
Paolo Prosperi

Every year during Lent the Church invites us to fix our gaze on the great epic of the Exodus of the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt to the promised Land, the land of freedom, which is not America–the subject of the song that I had you listen to, not by chance –but the land of Canaan, “flowing with milk and honey.”

We could legitimately wonder why. If we have already been “freed from the yoke of evil,” as sung in a Lenten hymn familiar to many of you, why is there always need for a new exodus? Are we free or not? Each of us can answer for ourselves, partly yes, partly no, for many reasons, one of which is that many Egypts keep us prisoner, not just one. There are many forms of slavery in our life, and new ones are continually emerging with changes in circumstances and in the mentality that dominates our environment, a mindset that, as the School of Community we have been doing underlines insistently, inevitably exerts a seductive power over us whether we realize it or not. Every time and every moment in history has its “invisible Egypt.” The environment is characterized by a certain dominant ideology, a certain mindset that dominates society and becomes a challenge, a temptation, and a trial for Christians, and at the same time, exactly for this reason, also offers an opportunity for maturation and enrichment, because temptation, if faced and overcome with the sword of discernment, to use a term dear to Pope Francis, always makes us stronger and more aware, and thus paradoxically enriches us: "It is impossible to live in a general cultural context without coming under its influence […]. In our restless and confused spirit, the falsehood of the modern-day way of thinking is present, in which we ourselves participate, because we are children of this historical reality that is human life and we have to pass through all the hardships, the temptations, the bitter consequences, and keep that hope that is the life of life" (L. Giussani, To Give One’s Life for the Work of An Other, ed. Julian Carron, McGill-Queen’s University Press, Montreal, 2022, p. 44).

From the days together in Assisi

So then, let us ask ourselves, “Today, what is the Egypt we are all living in, breathing its air, whether we like it or not?” We could say many things. I would like to reflect with you above all on a particular feature of this new “Egypt,” which I will describe drawing inspiration from a little book by Byung Chul Han, an interesting Germanized Korean philosopher whom a friend recently told me about. The title of his book is The Burnout Society, and I encourage you to read it, especially the fans of [the Italian rock star] Vasco Rossi, since Han (relata refero!) is one of the thinkers who influence his music. So then, let’s begin! [...]

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