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19.06.2017 01:21:09 80x read.
What is meant when speaking of the prophecy of the consecrated life?

What is meant when speaking of the prophecy of the consecrated life?


            First of all, I would like to confess how embarrassed I am standing on this side of the table, in other words, on the side for those who speak, present and communicate, instead of those who listen. Although I am obviously honoured to have been invited to speak, dear brothers, I must however sincerely say that I am afraid that I have nothing to say. There are three reasons for this:

1)    Because of the those here in assembly, who know more than me:

2)    Because I find myself in the situation of being much more a researcher than a person with knowledge;

3)    Because of the theme, or at least how it is formulated

Seeing that I am unable to eliminate the first two difficulties, I made an effort to summarise the third - this required a longer process - which I will try to synthesise, hoping that I don’t take advantage of your patience too much.


1. A linguistic problem

            I was saying that when I was asked to tackle the theme of “radicality and prophecy in consecrated life”, for a long time I asked myself what was exactly expected of me. It was clear to me that I was supposed to speak on consecrated life. However, the dual concept of radicality and prophecy was not so clear. This was due to the fact that no one had explained what was intended by these two terms, and also – and even more so – because it was not clear (at least not to me) what type of logical connection presumably exists between the two (radicality and prophecy, from radicality to prophecy, not radicality rather  prophecy, and finally, “radicality in prophecy”).

            It is not the first time that I find myself in such a puzzling situation. Today, when we are asked to “think of life”, in other words to reflect upon life to try and understand the structures of its sense, semantic fields that intertwine and intersect and incoherence and grey area, we often run into a preliminary problem, which is represented by language and communication. In fact, in order to speak of things we use words, but – as linguistics and semiotics have been teaching us for more than a century – the relationship between the words (signs) that we use and the reality (objects) to which we refer is not direct. The word or the sign reaches an object only through its “interpretation”, which we usually call “meaning” (many of us will remember the famous semiotic triangle of Ogden and Richards in their book of 1923, The Meaning of Meaning).  This is the way to make the process of codification of the sender and the decoding of the receiver possible. In an attempt to simplify at best, one could say that the sender starts from an idea, and “thinks it”, in other words, translates it into a concept, which is finally expressed through graphic and phonetics signs. The receiver, in order that communication work, must do the same the other way around, in other words starting from the signs and the words, perceiving the conceptual interpretation, thus identifying the object. 

  3__usg_may2016.docx [182.8KB]

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