Father of the Young

john-bosco

 

Happy feast of St. John Bosco!

I had forgotten it was his feast day—just as I forgot St. Angela Merici’s last week—but I got extremely excited during Mass.

I have to say something. I love John Bosco. That  excitement happens every time I hear about him. To me he is irresistible as a father and priest. All my life, I have loved to read about him, and the more stories I hear the more I wish he was my spiritual director and parish priest.

The things he did for his boys in the slums of Turin, the ways he showed them the passion of life and adventure and work while being virtuous and particularly pure. He was truly such a father to them. He wasn’t afraid to get into the mess of their lives and simple festivities, in a manner that reminds me of Hilaire Belloc’s phrase: “Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine, There’s always laughter and good red wine. At least I’ve always found it so. Benedicamus Domino!” He also had a very strong devotion to Our Lady, Help of Christians.

Two of my favorite quotes by John Bosco: “Come with me; we are going to Heaven,” and “Da mihi animas, caetera tolle. Give me souls, take away the rest.” (The second one he adopted from St. Francis de Sales’ motto for his new congregation the Salesians.) Not to mention John Bosco had a mysterious dog, Grigio, that appeared numerous times in hours of danger to protect him. And his own mother was simply the most amazing woman in the way she fostered his vocation, education, and work until the day she died.

St. John Bosco, pray for us! Pray for all the young people, but especially for your boys-the wild, free, wrestling, struggling, strong, adventurous, thoughtful, caring and rough boys who are tomorrow’s men.

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