Don Bosco

Eucharistic concelebration presided over by Cardinal Raffaele Farina, SDB International Historical Congress Salesian General House

Eucharistic concelebration presided over
by Cardinal Raffaele Farina, SDB

International Historical Congress Salesian General House

November 23, 2014

Dear brothers, dear sisters, we
conclude with the Eucharistic celebration these four days of study, but also of meditation and prayer. With this celebration we want to thank the Lord for the gifts received.
Today, at the end of the liturgical year, we celebrate the solemnity of Christ the King of the Universe. The institution of the feast, more properly of the solemnity, of Christ the King dates back to the last century. It was established by Pius XI with the Encyclical Quas primas of 11 December 1925, and established on the last Sunday of October. In the Encyclical, the pontiff declares that with this feast he intends to affirm the sovereign authority of Christ over men and institutions before the progress of secularism in modern society.
This "socio-political" characterization of the solemnity of Christ the King was reinterpreted, after the Second Vatican Council, in a more spiritualistic and eschatological sense; both by resizing the text of the collection and by placing the solemnity on the last Sunday of the liturgical year, in the eschatological context of this Sunday. 


Dear brothers and dear sisters,

I will talk to you again about Don Bosco, even if you are satisfied, after four long days of conference work. I do not speak to you as a historian, although it is difficult to hide the profession I do, but as an admirer and in love with Don Bosco. I address the Salesians, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and the members of the Salesian Family; and I think of involving in some way those who professed with consecration a consecration that is the expression of a clear identity. We arrived at Don Bosco for different roads and paths, but we all have a trademark of excellence that honors us but above all commits us.

I would like to leave you two messages now.

1. First message

The first message concerns our Founder. The greatness of Don Bosco, his legacy is that of being (I say this at the present) the Founder of two great religious Congregations; and to have laid the foundations for the birth of a great Salesian family. Don Bosco also had a pedagogical intuition of common sense, that of the preventive system , but, note well, a system that is also the choice of a category of young people, among whom, without contravening any of the canonical laws, he could draw as many more vocations could. Let us also say that Don Bosco's youthful choice, which was naturally measured by his nature, was a choice of young people as future Salesians and possibly committed priests or lay people.
The Salesians as such, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, the members of the Salesian Family, with their consecrated life, their lifestyle, their testimony, would have multiplied vocations, which he needed for a spectrum of activities that exceeded and much the simple educational commitment, which he implemented in the first part, let's say, of his life. So let us rediscover Don Bosco. This is, I repeat, the first message I want to convey to you.
The magazine "Tracce", international magazine of Communion and Liberation, in the January 2009 issue, [1]begins the presentation of some figures of saints who in difficult social situations, using the tools that the reality of their time provided, have generated a new humanity. They have "put their hands in the dough", creating works that are still an example for everyone today. The magazine "Tracce" begins the series of Founders with S. Giovanni Bosco, "which, has built speakers, laboratories, schools, colleges, where it educated humanity, dignity, to be good citizens and Christian specimens, demanding as children and young educators, despite their poverty, quality and excellence; with the clear aim of choosing the best, to make them collaborators, priests and consecrated laymen, and nuns, to create one or more structures, which would provide the Church, without triumphalism,
In short, a Don Bosco that we Salesians have, in recent years, let us say, reduced and much, put in a corner, reducing it, a man who, like creativity, design, persuasive force and far-sightedness does not easily find comparisons and competitors, the we have reduced - I am referring to the reality of many situations and not to the advertising that we often make of Don Bosco's badge and brand, we have reduced it to become pastoralist and educational theorist.
We leave home, dear ones, and look at Don Bosco globally in the whole spectrum of his activity and his novelty, never finished and completely discovered. Fr Giussani, Founder of Communion and Liberation, defined it as follows:
"What are the characteristics of the holy Don Bosco? 1) First of all a simple ability to affirm the real [an operationally concrete man ]. - 2) Then a capacity for love to the recognized destiny of one's life, [to the mission entrusted to him by God and totally shared by him]. This love unites people and things in that same destiny, causing a boundless fruitfulness to spring up [vocations to no end ...]. - 3) Lastly, our saint is characterized by a capacity for joy that makes us glimpse the dimension of the eternal in this world ". [2]

2. Second message

How do we live this Don Bosco? let us ask ourselves: does Don Bosco still attract us, how much do we love Don Bosco? One of the signs is that of reading. And this is my second message : do we still read about Don Bosco (what he wrote) and about Don Bosco (what was written about him)?
There is no return to Don Bosco, nor reading of his writings lasting, useful and effective, without trust, admiration and love for him.
"It is necessary to believe in the master", says St. Thomas quoting Aristotle, to whom he was inspired. The Salesian reader must do the same with Don Bosco. Repeating the name of Don Bosco every now and then means for us to browse through our titles of nobility, and this pride has the beauty and efficacy of the pride that a child feels compared to an illustrious father.
Don Bosco must be loved to be able to read it with fruit. I refer not to a generic reading, but only to that kind of reading that readers don't do well enough or don't do at all, except when they love.
The trust, the admiration, the love for the inheritance that Don Bosco left us, in writings and testimonies, creates a contact between us and him that called us, with his superiority. It sets the tone, it accustoms us to the peaks; the fact that we read it and understand it makes us think that, after all, we are of the same race. It also enables us to penetrate it in depth and unanimity, and to discover its essentiality, the main themes, the Salesian synthesis, simplicity. [3]And finally it creates that multifaceted and rich center of unity, in which the readings of many converge, illuminating and enriching each other. In other words, those - different in terms of culture, country, age, sex, psychology and environment - are attracted by admiration or a duty to study, curiosity or love from a single person, Don Bosco.
So these are the two messages I want to leave you this morning, underlining the fact that they do not exhaust the Salesian vocation, but they want to recall the urgency of the rebirth of the Salesian Congregation in number and quality, by: 1) redeeming our life consecrated and community; 2) rediscover the width of the spectrum, the range of Don Bosco's apostolic activities and the multiplicity of recipients in view of the multiplication of the Salesians and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, of those who in the spirit of Don Bosco will consecrate themselves to God; 3) read Don Bosco, his writings and what has been handed down from his life, his works, his thought, his holiness.

3. Conclusion

Dear Sisters and Dear Brothers, after the profession of faith, at the time of the presentation of the offerings, let us renew in silence, in our hearts, our religious consecration, and with it, our love for Don Bosco. We deeply feel the presence of God in our midst, and turn our thoughts and affections to him. Let's think about today's party. The apocalyptic readings we have heard and the prayers that follow concern the person who loves us and whom we adore and love, Jesus our Lord and King, and therefore they must not frighten us.
The liturgy invites us to reflect on the meaning of Christ and of history in our lives, in the life of each one of us, in the conviction that the boundaries of the Kingdom of God are interior, pass into the depths of our soul, and are truly known only to God, to the Most Holy Trinity.
And yet the community in which we live and to which we belong, the Church, lives from this our contemplation and sublimates it in its essence, astonished and happy in its identity as the body of Christ, Christ the Lord and King: it feels completely belonging to your liberating lordship. Each of us, every believer, must live this belonging of liberation in the ineffable terms of inner communion with Him, which is realized in the Eucharist, the body of Christ, and in the thanksgiving that pervades every moment of our day and of our life.
Let us be clear: Eucharist means "thanksgiving", thanks. Let us not forget that Jesus, King and Lord, is a jealous God: he answers our requests, he appreciates our thanks, but above all he expects from us a response of love: each of us knows what he asks of us.

[1] January 2009, p. 87-91.

[2] "Sand 1", with a great Quademi gods dispatch of communion .

[3] Sertillanges, Intellectual life 139.