We could consider this day, the day of charity, both for the meditation done, and then I would like to conclude these conversations by saying two words in relation to this which is then the greatest virtue, which "God is charity" and the commandments of the law of God, two: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and love your neighbor as yourself." And if we could do this, my dear brothers, eh, this is enough , sufficit.
And we have now also read the words of our dear Father, in that beautiful little chapter that precedes our constitutions. In the context of the constitutions there are no special things in relation to charity, but you know it, the second chapter in which it deals with the common life is all imbued with charity. Then, we know that the essence of our educational system is precisely charity. And let us make it, my dear confreres, that this blessed preventive system, let us not try to use it simply for others. We begin to use it for us. We begin to use this holy charity to our soul so that evil may also be prevented from it; so that we may nourish our soul with all those means of charity, which place the Lord at our disposal, who puts the rule at our disposal.
Among the writings of Don Bosco I chose two points that form the topic for this evening. It is not that there are very special things, however, thinking of the occasion in which these things were written, which we will now briefly read, it seems to me that they must be a great lesson for us and a great incentive.
The first thoughts are ten very short thoughts that our Don Bosco writes, in what we usually call, we have already mentioned, "Testament Letter". In the process of persuading that the Lord called him, he expressed, I would say, all his thoughts that he wanted to tell each of his children, in this letter, that without a really logical order, but that comes to touch all the most interesting points of the life of our congregation, it has specifically wished, at our instruction, to fix those points necessary for good progress and to perfectly achieve its purpose. There is a small chapter entitled: "To the brothers who live in the same house".
Charity among us, common life among us. We have already heard our father's word. In unum locum, in unum spiritum, in unicum agendi finem. And he wanted to shut up his way of thinking about the brothers who live in the same house. Feel. "First: all the brothers who live in the same house must form one heart and one soul with their director." There is no need to comment.
"Second: But remember well that the worst plague to escape is the murmuring. All the possible sacrifices are made but criticisms about superiors are never tolerated. Do not blame the orders given in the family, nor disapprove of the things heard in sermons, in conferences, or written or printed in the books of some confrere. Everyone suffers for the greater glory of God and in penance for his sins. For the sake of his soul he escapes criticism in administrative matters, in clothing, food and housing. Remember, my children, that the union between the director and the subjects and the agreement between the clerics forms a real earthly paradise in our homes. "
Here too there is no need for explanation. Let us not forget the beautiful meditation on the judgment of the Sabbath: Deus qui iudicat me. We hold our dear brothers in our tongue and more than the tongue, the head. Fortification of will. I repeat the same thought. If we find something that is not perfect - eh, why can there be perfection? Perfection, says our Saint Francis of Sales, we will see when we put our first foot in Heaven. - Of course, deficiencies, at any point we want to consider them, we will always have them. But we use this charity to those who are responsible in relation to the various tasks, and for whom we feel the need to tell him our opinion. Sometimes it can be good; but instead of saying it among those who cannot in any way shelter the question, but we go directly to the one who is responsible, true, to say: there is this and this. And because instead of doing this, we say: but because the one of here and there. These are inconclusive things. While instead if we really love, identically when it comes to defects, - who is who has no defects. But we all have it. - but if we want the good of that soul of our brother, that young man of ours, etc., but why talk about these defects in a conversation between individuals who have absolutely no interest in hearing those things? But doesn't it seem logical? my dear confreres. I've asked it a hundred thousand times; but I say: but why, why do we do so and do not go to the source that might really shelter all these things? And because instead of doing this, we say: but because the one of here and there. These are inconclusive things. While instead if we really love, identically when it comes to defects, - who is who has no defects. But we all have it. - but if we want the good of that soul of our brother, that young man of ours, etc., but why talk about these defects in a conversation between individuals who have absolutely no interest in hearing those things? But doesn't it seem logical? my dear confreres. I've asked it a hundred thousand times; but I say: but why, why do we do so and do not go to the source that might really shelter all these things? And because instead of doing this, we say: but because the one of here and there. These are inconclusive things. While instead if we really love, identically when it comes to defects, - who is who has no defects. But we all have it. - but if we want the good of that soul of our brother, that young man of ours, etc., but why talk about these defects in a conversation between individuals who have absolutely no interest in hearing those things? But doesn't it seem logical? my dear confreres. I've asked it a hundred thousand times; but I say: but why, why do we do so and do not go to the source that might really shelter all these things? - who is who has no defects. But we all have it. - but if we want the good of that soul of our brother, that young man of ours, etc., but why talk about these defects in a conversation between individuals who have absolutely no interest in hearing those things? But doesn't it seem logical? my dear confreres. I've asked it a hundred thousand times; but I say: but why, why do we do so and do not go to the source that might really shelter all these things? - who is who has no defects. But we all have it. - but if we want the good of that soul of our brother, that young man of ours, etc., but why talk about these defects in a conversation between individuals who have absolutely no interest in hearing those things? But doesn't it seem logical? my dear confreres. I've asked it a hundred thousand times; but I say: but why, why do we do so and do not go to the source that might really shelter all these things? I've asked it a hundred thousand times; but I say: but why, why do we do so and do not go to the source that might really shelter all these things? I've asked it a hundred thousand times; but I say: but why, why do we do so and do not go to the source that might really shelter all these things?
Thus you say of supplies, as Don Bosco says, and in clothes and food and in household things, et cetera; but if we are in the family, we try precisely to help ourselves in this way.
And I repeat, my dear brothers. Let's do this. Let us try to remove precisely from our homes, from our province, remove this ugly reputation, which is nothing but grumbling. And we look in our conversations, when we see that the conversation slips into that field, but forward, oh, we have the courage to say or take away from these conversations or even when especially it was a question of denigrating the honor of a brother, we have the strength to say: "In front of me these things must not be said". And let's start. It is so, there is no other form you know, I thought of it. It seems to me that there is no other form. And it is in this way that we will actually manifest charity. Remember, it is a thought that I have repeated many times. Allow me to repeat it again.
In the midst of our young people, in the midst of our clerics, in the midst of our dear confreres, at times we formalize ourselves in the field of perfection, of holiness in things that we do not even have the smell of venial sin. There are those who worry about the distractions of inappropriate thoughts, etc., etc., and then they don't care about the sins of language, about the sins of thought against charity. These! My good brothers, believe me, I think that the Lord will bless us with a thousand doubles if we will strive precisely, in practice, to maintain ourselves among ourselves in that holy fraternal charity that is desired by him, and that offenses are also minimis, you know , those that dislike him most, because God is charity.
"I do not recommend any particular penances and mortifications, - we have already heard, - you will do yourself great credit and contribute to the glory of the congregation, if you will be able to bear each other's sorrows and the sorrows of Christian life with resignation. Give good advice whenever an occasion arises, especially when it comes to comforting an afflicted or helping to overcome some difficulty, or doing some service, whether in time that one enjoys health, or when one is in case of illness. "
Oh, this is flowery charity; and if we look at each other well, they are brothers, why should we not do this? And we have the opportunity, you see, every day. And think of this, that our Don Bosco suggests it does not simply mean Salesians among us; - but isn't that what we have read even these days? that he did it for any soul approaching him. And this is how we will truly demonstrate true charity to our students, or to those with whom we are in relationship; in short, our good missionaries in relation to their Christians in relation to those people.
We were saying this morning, we don't even miss an opportunity to be able to do a little good, even if it doesn't succeed according to what we ... But you see the Lord begins to bless the intention, it doesn't go mica to look at the result of our things . It is the heart with which we perform our duties. The Lord knows very well that we are distracted, the Lord knows very well that we do not succeed, but he desires to see this ardent desire to be able to do good to the soul in any condition: material good, intellectual good, moral good and go saying.
"Seeing that in the things of the house something happened or done blameworthy, especially for things that could only be interpreted against the law of God, if they are respectfully communicated to the Superior. It will know how to use due prudence in order to promote good and prevent evil. And with regard to the students, everyone keeps to the house regulations and the deliberations taken to preserve the discipline and the morality between the students and the artisans. Then each, - this is what you see, which strengthens those concepts that we said earlier in relation to this critical spirit - each one then, instead of making observations about what others are doing, works with every possible solicitude to fulfill the offices that were him entrusted. Everyone does their part. "
Under a certain respect, but we think first of all of us, because sometimes wanting to disperse, - it is the difficulty as I said yesterday when we find ourselves, that by office we must judge - but we obviously try, before judging ourselves. These are the thoughts that our dear father wanted to entrust to all his sons who live together in the same house.
A second series of thoughts that refer more directly to his educational system, that is, to the preventive system, I remove it from the famous letter I have already mentioned, "Dream Letter", it is said so, written by Rome in 1884, in which Don Bosco in a dream he sees the actual state, current of the Oratory, of each of the young people, and has also sent the young. In the letter it has been said that Don Bosco has seen all those who are out of order, and he has seen them, and he said on that occasion to his superiors, such, such, such will be absolutely put out of the Oratory. And then all the young people went to ask Don Bosco in which category they are. And so our Don Bosco can be named and titled: "Thoughts on familiarity, on relationships, - we will say so,
My dear confreres, one of our greatest duties, besides the religious duties that we have dealt with, you remember these days, and with good exams of conscience to the escort of the rules, to the stock of regulations, to the escort of the councils that the Lord has given us , in these days, we have tried to decipher better to see our responsibilities in the concrete reality. How we have benefited from the Grace of the Lord which this year certainly gave us abundantly so that we could succeed in the result of the salvation of our soul and of our sanctification.
These days I say that we have done this, we must not forget what is our greatest duty, especially for those who are currently in contact with homes, in whatever conditions they may be, be in our schools, in our orphanages and even in missions, because the same thing can be said in relation to Christians, to souls that the Lord entrusts to us. I mean, what is my relationship with my young people; well, how I relate to the souls that the Lord has entrusted to me, in any position at the present time, like the others entrusted to me.
Take care that the educational problem in general, and more the educational problem in the meaning of our Don Bosco is very clear; it is contact of souls and until, my dear confreres, our soul is not in unison with the soul of our student, until our soul is in unison with the soul of the Christians that we must lead to the Lord, until our soul, always with the Grace of the Lord, is not in unison with the soul that begins for the Grace of the Lord, to understand something of him, and we must lead him to him, as long as I say there is not this contact of souls, it is impossible, it is impossible in this world. He will be at home, he will participate in everything we want him to participate, but it is not education, as long as there is no such union.
Do not forget what Don Bosco told us in these holy days. Our intimate union is the purpose for which we are Salesians; our intimate family union, our common life, our intimate union in the execution of the rules, our most intimate union in charity, which in our thoughts, in our words, in our actions we must show each other, not only for us but also for our students.
This letter is very important. For me, I believe that in the educational field and for the real explanation, - because we don't know much about the form used in Don Bosco's educational system - for the real evaluation of the way Don Bosco wants us to educate our students, it's a letter of the utmost importance.
Don Bosco sees the ancient oratory, sees the present oratory, sees that things are not going well; and why are they not good? "Now there is boredom, exhaustion, musonry, distrust, young people do not play, they sit on the stairs, they are walking in groups, smiles in speech, suspicious looks. And hence coldness in approaching the holy sacraments, neglect of the practices of piety, they do not willingly stand at the oratory, ingratitude for benefits, secretions, murmurs, loss of young people. " Here is the state of the oratory in which Don Bosco lived in 1884. We understand no, for individuals. The general state.
"A means to revive charity. It is not enough for young people to be loved, but to know they are loved. That being loved in those things that they like, by participating in their inclinations, they learn to see love in those things that naturally they do not like, which are study, discipline, self-mortification. And these things learn to do them with enthusiasm and love. " What does it take? The charity. What does it take? The assistance.
"Where are the Salesians? Most walk among them, talking, regardless of what the students do. Others watch recreation, giving themselves no thought of young people. Others look at it so far away without warning those who commit a lack. Someone then warns in a threatening way, and this rarely; some superiors trying to meddle in some group of young people, but they studiously try to get away from the teachers and superiors. Many Salesians do not feel like doing the hard work of the past. They love what young people like and young people will love what their superiors like. Now the superiors are considered as enemies, not as superiors, not as fathers, brothers and friends and therefore they are feared and unloved.
Confidence comes from mistrust. Familiarity with young people, especially in recreation. The teacher, seen only in the chair is master. But if he goes to recreation with the young he becomes like a brother. And Jesus must be our model. This love makes the superiors endure the hardships, the troubles, the ingratitudes, the troubles, the faults, the negligence of the young. Look only for the glory of God and the health of souls.
What do Salesians do, where are the Salesians? Be careful; if one works for the Glory of God and for the health of souls, one will not work for the purpose of vainglory. There are those who punish only to avenge offended self-love. There are those who withdraw from the field of surveillance out of jealousy of a feared preponderance of others. There are those who will murmur about others wanting to be loved and respected by the young, excluding all other superiors, gaining nothing but contempt and hypocritical moine. Who lets himself steal the heart from a creature to court this and neglect all the other youngsters. Those who, for the sake of their own comforts, do not miss the strict duty of surveillance. Who for a vain human respect, refrains from warning those who must be admonished.
But because the system of prevention with vigilance and lovingly, is gradually replacing the less heavy and more brisk system for those who command to ban laws, which if supported with punishments, ignite hatreds, yield sorrows, if you neglect to do them observe they bear contempt for their superiors and cause serious disorders.
The superior should be everything to everyone, always ready to listen to any doubts or complaints from young people; all eyes to monitor their conduct fraternally, all heart to seek the spiritual and material good for those whom Providence has entrusted to him.
Only in the case of immorality are superiors inexorable; better to run the danger of driving away an innocent person than to keep one outrageous. Assistants have a duty of conscience to report to the superiors those things which they know somehow to be offended by God. Exact observance of the rule of the house is a precise means. And then the best dish in a lunch is the one of good wax " Here is Don Bosco. And he repeats in that letter, especially to the young people: "Put yourself in order." We have already read in another note: "The root of this evil is that young people, with regard to their practices of piety and especially confession, do not make the intentions or do not maintain them. "
Here are my good brethren, this thought, it seems to me, in the name of the Lord to have to tell it to each of us, my dear confreres. And we must therefore teach it well in the various conditions of fact in which we find ourselves. And let them see our example. Therefore, I must say, with any effort, and I would say more, confident with the word, the director, the prefect, the school councilor, the catechist, all those in short who have direct responsibility especially when our dear clerics are in training, let us teach practically what needs to be done; but they must also see it from our example and very slowly they will learn really well.
Take care that the good work we can do, especially in our colleges, is in the courtyard, it is in recreation. In the school we have the group, in the school, et cetera, va ok, in the other rooms, but in imitation of Don Bosco, do not forget that our maximum educational work, our maximum spiritual work, mind you, that more than in any other place or circumstance, it is in the courtyard. It is the Salesian's greatest sacrifice, assistance; not only in the courtyard, obviously. It is our true daily martyrdom; and beware that there is no religious congregation, which has this concept of assistance as we have it. It is our true daily martyrdom.
We have consecrated ourselves to the Lord, let us not forget: "Maiorem caritatem nemo habet, ut ponat animam suam quis pro amicis suis." Sure, it is our daily martyrdom; and it is in this way that, really, you see, with assistance, I repeat, not only in the courtyard, but with assistance, it is precisely the maximum act of charity that we can do for souls.
And that, - I repeat that it is said of our young people in colleges, - with all souls. But just think of our neophytes too. But if they are not assisted, especially our young neophytes baptized in our colleges. Ah, my good brothers, "Maiorem caritatem nemo habet, ut animam suam ponat quis pro amicis suis." And if we do the axstamina, believe my dear confreres, certainly we place our soul for our friends, for these souls that the Lord has entrusted to us. And did not blessed Jesus do so? Didn't he place his soul for each of ours? Here is our model. Our venerable Rector Major also said two words in relation to this. "Better that we can, let's treat each other well. We must love each other and pity each other very much, and if there has been some disagreement between us, we must agree on the same day."
And he told precisely one episode that had happened to him when he was director in Pordenone. The founder of that house, the maximum benefactor of that house, is a certain Don Malesi, already passed to eternity, who gave all the capital needed for that magnificent foundation. And he said that, "This good priest when he was assistant pastor, with his parish priest already old and he young, evidently, from time to time, - it was then a very lively character - from time to time he had bumps with his parish priest. And in one day, while he was already at rest, he was about to go to rest, he still recited a little breviary in his room at around 10 pm, he hears the door pounding slowly. He goes to open and sees his old curate who says to him: "My dear Don Malesi, I can't go to sleep if we don't make peace." And when he told this, that holy priest, Don Malesi, warm tears. He regretted his impropriety towards the parish priest. "I can't go to sleep if we don't make peace."
And sometimes, does it not happen, my dear confreres, in our homes, that similar events happen? And because we have to go to sleep without reconciling ourselves with our brother. In our homes there are sometimes those who look bad for years and years, and it's like that, you know, and that's it. Remember, disunity is a rodent moth in a home. If two brothers are in disagreement, they must be reconciled, either straight or sideways. And the director favors this reconciliation. We will do everything we can, but the two sides must do the most.
My dear confreres, the Lord is charity. And this is one of the prayers we do every day. Don Bosco in the prayers put the "Ave Maria for peace in the house." We really try to say it with conviction, that when in the evening we make our examination of conscience, when there was some impact, when there was also some simple interruption of charity, if nothing else we pray for our brother. If we do not feel the strength, we will say, to do this act of charity, in the sense of saying, "Up, let us make peace", at least we pray, we pray for our soul, we pray for the soul of our brother, we pray because the same problems cannot arise between us and the souls entrusted to us.
Our dear missionaries should tell you many, many and many episodes of these shocks that happen, that happen, between the missionary and the catechist, between the catechist and Christians, Christians against the missionary, catechist and Christians against the missionary!
Charity, charity, charity! And charity, eh, it must always be, see, seasoned with sacrifice. It's Friday, we usually remember the Sacred Heart; It's Friday, we usually remember the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. But what a greater example of charity! Saint Paul would say: "We know how to measure its width, length, height and depth."
Well, my dear brothers, let us close these dear conversations of ours by asking the Lord intensely that charity truly reigns in our families, kingdoms in our whole province, kingdoms in our entire congregation, kingdoms throughout the world.
My good brothers, I have finished my task. You have not heard the word of this poor man; I tried to tell you the word of Don Bosco. Three quarters of what I said are all words written by Don Bosco, his teachings; let's try to treasure it. You see that they are summarized then in few things: we are firm and attached to our rule; let us try to spread the most ardent charity in our hearts.
And Mary Most Holy, who in all the difficulties, in the foundation, in progress, in the development of the congregation has always been our teacher, continue to be our good Mother, our good teacher.
Praised be Jesus Christ.