Holiness – A gift available to all
Infulenced by his devotion to St. Francis de Sales, Don Bosco’s understanding of holiness is, ‘as a gift from the God which is available to all, no matter what their circumstances or age’.
In the Salesian tradition, holiness becomes a handing over of oneself in faith, hope and love to Jesus. It involves daily choices, a striving for a life that is lived with love, serenity, patience, and an acceptance of the trials and joys of each day, certain that in the eyes of God everything makes sense, everything is worthwhile, everything is important to him. Holiness is about the celebration of the human condition as loved by God. It has at its core a belief in the goodness of each person and his/her potential to act out of it. It is a call to charitable action and “to be completely what one is, but in the best possible way”.
Christian Charity at heart
While the Salesian oratory is open and welcoming of all, especially if they are poor or in need, at its heart would always be the principles of Christian Charity and a belief in the ever-present mystery of a loving God. The Christian faith is not something to be lived alone. Christians belong to a people who share a common cause of Jesus and come together to form Church. Bosco believed that the good Christian has the ability to fit into society through work and a lifestyle that is always guided by the standards of the Christian faith. Bosco summed up the purpose of Salesian work as ‘to help and do good to our neighbours, especially educating young people, bringing them up during their most dangerous years, instructing them in sciences and arts and guiding them in the practice of Religion and virtue’
Meeting Jesus in shared Sacraments
In the Salesian tradition involvement in the celebration of the sacraments allows us to acknowledge a sense of debt to our loving and creator God, to the God who is our salvation, our promise of eternal happiness and fulfilment. Through the sacraments, God’s voice and God’s life giving grace is experienced.
Bosco believed that regular attendance at the sacraments required of the person right intention and effort. In the Eucharist, following the example of Christ, the young person learns to put others first as the spirit of communion demands. Through the sacrament of Reconciliation the young person finds the strength to recognise his/her selfishness and sin, their own fragility and need for support and direction. The young learn to resist the temptation to become self-sufficient. They become aware of the loving mercy of God, and in being pardoned themselves, they are encouraged to respect and forgive others.
Inviting God in Prayer
Prayer for Mary Mazzarello and Don Bosco was a ‘dialogue with God’, rooted in the activities of their daily lives. Theirs was a humble, trusting, apostolic prayer, enlightened by the Word of God and nourished by the mysteries of their faith. Salesian prayer is simple, open to all, and speaks to life itself. It expresses a sense of celebration and seeks to involve the young in the joy of meeting Jesus through experiencing his Spirit. It does not look towards the magical. It encourages us to invite God into our moments of silence, and into the everyday situations where we find ourselves.