Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
God, our Father, has entrusted us with the Salesian charism as an expression of his love for the young. To be faithful to this call requires an ongoing conversion as individuals, as communities and as a Province. It is true that conversion challenges us to turn away from what we have grown accustomed to. Such change can induce fear and resistance. However, more importantly, conversion is a turning towards God, who has chosen us and sent us in his name. It is this aspect of conversion that I would like to emphasize as an attempt to re-kindle the fire of love that we received on behalf of the young at our profession: How can we grow in trust and confidence in this loving Father who calls us to serve the Young?
It has been proposed, and ratified, by our recent Provincial Council Meeting (7-8th August 2017) that we begin a personal and communal journey over the next 3 years in honour of the Trinity. We shall begin with ongoing reflection on, and prayer to, God our Father (2017-2018); the beloved Son (2018-2019); and the Spirit of their Love (2019-2020). This shall be followed by the twin pillars of Salesian spirituality: Mary as Mother and servant of the love of God for the young (2020-2021) and the Eucharist as the gift of self in love (2021-2022). We shall draw all of the above themes together from the perspective of St Francis de Sales (2022-2023).
In his great priestly prayer, Jesus addresses the Father as follows:
I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do (Jn. 17:4) It is this same work that we are invited to take up, through his Spirit, so as to glorify the Father:
For my work must be perfected in you and it will be brought to term only when my heart beats in yours, only when all hearts, now submissive and docile, beat for the Father together in
my Heart. [Hans Urs Von Balthasar, Heart of the World (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1978), 81.]
In Provincial newsletters, I will address the theme:
THE FATHERHOOD OF GOD AND DON BOSCO
It will be our spiritual focus for (2017-2018) and I encourage each of you to reflect on it, pray about it, and would welcome any contributions to this theme which can be included in subsequent letters. These contributions can come from individuals or communities. I particularly would like to invite the Rector, as the father of the community, to keep this spiritual focus to the forefront in meetings and days of recollection. I extend the invitation to the Salesian sisters, friends of Don Bosco and the young. Your contributions towards this theme would be greatly appreciated. Hopefully, this will feed into an assembly day and/or the retreat 2018.
In early September, when some of the issues raised at our recent Provincial Council meetings (7-8th August) have been processed, I will issue a circular letter. It was agreed that we would extend an invite to all the members of the Salesian family to an informal gathering at Knock (24.03.2018) for a day of prayer. Mary is the beloved daughter of the Father, the Mother of the Good Shepherd, and Spouse of the Holy Spirit. On this feast of the Assumption, I entrust each one of you, our Province and our Salesian charism to Mary, our help. Through her motherly and queenly intercession may she who was a constant guide and support to Don Bosco in his work, through the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit, make us signs and bearers of the love of her Son for young People.
Fr Eunan McDonnell SDB