The Feast of St. John Bosco

Today is the feast day of St. John Bosco (1815-1888), a man of great faith, thrust into a century of unbelief.  The gifted saint, did not let that stop him and he used his gifts to guide others and bring them to the Catholic faith.

In 1841, shortly after his ordination, St. John Bosco arrived in Turin to study theology.  It wasn't long before he had gathered up hundreds of street children.  They swarmed to his Sunday events not just for the catechism and worship he offered, but the games and food he provided them.

In his own words, Don John Bosco, talks about the role of charity in his educational method:

... It is more fitting to be persistent in punishing our own impatience and pride than to correct the boys.  We must be firm but kind and patient with them.

I give you as model the charity of Paul which he showed to his new converts.  They often reduced him to tears and entreaties when he found them lacking docility and even opposing his loving efforts.

See that no finds you motivated by impetuosity or willfulness.  It is difficult to keep calm when administering punishment, but this must be done if we are to keep ourselves from ... spilling out our anger.

Let us regard those boys ... as our own sons ... Let us not rule over them except for the purpose of serving them better.

This was the method of Jesus used with the apostles.  He put up with their ignorance and roughness and even their infidelity.  He treated sinners with a kindness and affection that caused some to be shocked, others to be scandalized, and still others to hope for God's mercy.  And so he bade us to be "gentle and humble of heart."

They are our sons, so in correcting their mistakes we must lay aside all anger and restrain it so firmly that it is extinguished entirely.

There must be no hostility in our minds, no contempt in our eyes, no insult on our lips.  We must use mercy for the present and have hope for the future, as is fitting for true fathers who are eager for real correction and improvement. - from Voices of the Saints by Bert Ghezzi



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