Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Chiara Lubich's 4 tips for online apologists

Following up on yesterday's 7 rules for effective apologists from Bl. James Alberione, here are Chiara Lubich's four "guiding principles for communications" which she drew from her Focolare communities' experience of living a spirituality of communion. (These were presented in a talk she gave during the Jubilee Year at a Focolare conference on communication; I present them with some editing for the sake of brevity.)

1. "Communication is essential: the effort to live the Gospel in everyday life...has always been indissolubly united with communicating it. What is not communicated is lost."

2. "When we speak or address some topic, we do not stop at merely relating the content of our thoughts. First we feel the need to know who we have before us...their needs, desires, problems. Likewise, we make ourselves known as well, explaining why we want to give this talk, what has led us to do it, its effects on ourselves, thereby creating a certain mutuality."

3. "Emphasize the positive. It has always been our way to put what is good into light, out of a conviction that it is infintely more constructive to point out what is good, dwelling on the good and positive, than to stop at the negative, even though whoever is in a position of responsiblity has the duty at the proper moment to point out errors, shortcomings and faiures."

4. "The person matters, not the media, which are merely an instrument. Bringing about unity first of all requires the indispensible means, which is the person, St Paul's 'new self,' who has welcomed the mandate of Christ..."

As I ponder these very wise guidelines (there is more substance to each one, but space doesn't permit me to include it all), I am especially struck by the "Theology of the Body" perspective in her second principle: to open oneself to the other, to receive the other in a kind of hospitality of heart before I begin to share what I have in my heart--and then, when I do, to share the "whole" story: not just the points I would like to make, but why those points matter to me, what discovering them or living them has done for me. It makes communication a sharing of life and not merely of ideas.

What especially stands out for you among Lubich's communications principles?

1 comment:

Angela Sealana said...

Thanks so much for sharing these, Sr. Anne. They are so simple and get to the heart of evangelization.

On the fourth point, I probably wouldn't have chosen to say the media don't matter. Rather, I might have said, "The person matters first and foremost." I tend to agree with Marshall MacLuhan on the value of each medium.