Salesian Holiness

Exercises to the Salesians 1955 - Prayer

Ninth sermon - PRAYER
July 29, 1955 morning



Today I would like to call it the day of love, the day of charity. This morning we have meditated our intimate union with blessed Jesus in the holy Eucharist: every time we receive it, we receive it worthily, we can say, it is a moment the real presence of blessed Jesus in our heart, which then continues throughout the day , until then we chase him away from us with his holy Grace. 
And we have a means available so we can say, every moment of our life we ​​can be in union with blessed Jesus: with prayer. Allow that briefly, as this function has already been in which we prayed and prayed for our dear dead, the prayer of compassion. How many miseries, true, in this world. And at this moment we also wanted to remember many, many souls suffering in Purgatory. It is an act of charity, we also say heroic, because we have applied, for them, all that we could in a rush of fraternal charity.
Prayer. I gather from our Don Bosco the most important thoughts in relation to this subject; on the other hand, we are used to telling ourselves. On our flag is written: work and prayer. They chose, I would say this, for the rhyme. It is our union with the Lord every moment of the day. And that is also expressed precisely in this form, of prayer and work. PRAY AND WORK.
Who does not pray cannot stand up; he cannot stay with the Lord. He who prays little does little and does little good. Who prays a lot, does, knows. We must be, my good brothers, Salesian sons of Don Bosco, continually united to the Lord in the spirit of prayer as he taught us. No, I was wrong, as he taught us; as blessed Jesus taught us is the command: Sine intermission orate; Sine bream intermission. Vigilate et orate. Petite et accipietis. Here you see faith in prayer, strength in prayer. Command of the Lord, promise of the Lord. Indesinenter bream. Petite et accipietis. 
We pray, we pray for the salvation of our soul. Let us pray to my dear confreres for everything that is right. And you see, practically our prayer, - these are all thoughts of our Don Bosco, - practically our prayer must only be said like this, do our duty. Do not miss any opportunity to do good. But we have all tried it and we feel it every moment of the day, my dear brothers. If we are in union with the Lord - and God willing, if we want, we can receive him sacramentally every day, - we are sure to be with him. 
And it does not seem to me that in the single moments of the day when there is need, the Lord suggests to us precisely what we must do. The so-called saints, the holy inspirations, have this purpose. But sometimes we are not careful. Or we don't have the habit of thinking about it; here is this mental dispersion of which we have also meditated in these days. Not really giving value to the interests of our soul and to the interests of the Lord in the salvation of the souls entrusted to us and the glory of the Father. Holy inspirations; it is to unite ourselves thus with prayer more and more to the Lord. 
And in the real factual state in which we find ourselves, for whom should we pray? But my dear ones, for the salvation of the souls who are entrusted to us, so that for them as for us there is the salvation of the soul and all that is right.
We need that we pray for our employees; we all tried it. Sometimes we see that all our efforts that are directed towards a soul, do not land. The soul does not feel, the soul does not move; but we pray for this soul.
We pray for our duty to really be to the Glory of the Lord and to the salvation of souls. 
We pray for our superiors; not only for the superiors of the congregation, but for all our superiors, especially - we are Christians - for the Pope, for the Church, for all Christians, for all these souls to whom the Lord has sent us, so that they hear the voice of the Lord and obtain the Grace of conversion.
And then, according to the circumstances, even external circumstances, for those who pray for us, for those who pray with us, for those who recommend themselves to our prayers, for a feeling of tender compassion, I said before, to many many suffering souls . But think, even just around here, we are surrounded by hospitals, how many souls that suffer; and for what purpose? 
Think of those who at this time are called by the Lord to eternity; the point of death of so many, of so many souls scattered in our world. But sure. Our prayer, this prayer of tender compassion, of charity, we must raise it to the Lord. Then we have our free prayers, our spontaneous prayers; but see, we always try to pray for the universal Church. Here are my good brothers, some thoughts taken from our Don Bosco, which you see, however, in the point of prayer, and in what we usually say in the point of our practices of piety, you see, has a very simple concept, which can be expressed in these words and are its precise. 

"In relation to this matter, let us keep to the easy things, but do them with perseverance; that they do not frighten or even tire the Christian, and especially the youth". Apply this genuine thought of our Don Bosco to our practices of piety. The rule speaks clearly. Perhaps it is one of the most detailed points of our rule, the chapter of the practices of piety, and the spirit with which we must carry them out. And you see that Don Bosco understands very well that, "Given our position, - he says, - that we have, we cannot do many practices of piety, especially in common." 

But we need this spirit of piety, which invests our whole day; from the beginning, when we hear the bell or when we wake up and make our sign of the cross, because we are good Christians and we want to start precisely the day, says our Saint Francis de Sales, with launching our soul into God's hands and he consecrate our thoughts, our words and the actions of the day, until the end when we can rest with the Grace of the Lord. But that there is precisely, says Don Bosco, in our practices of piety, not a burden that weighs. Let's keep to things easy; let us do it however with perseverance. And these things that we must also advise others, that do not frighten or even tire the Christian. 
I remember that holy soul of Bishop Wakida, with whom we initially had to forge intimate relationships, because it helped us come to confess our Christians. He says: "You other religious have a defect. You want to charge Christians with the same practices of piety or that devotional insistence that is so good for you. " 
But, see the thought of Don Bosco. That we, in our relations with God, do not have, I would say so, practices that in a certain way tire, scare the Christian, mind, says Don Bosco, and especially. So let's stick to our practices of piety. We do what is prescribed well; as far as possible, do them with the community. We can not? Okay, it's not our fault. But let there be this spirit of intimate union precisely ours with the Lord.
Don Bosco wrote a circular in 1976 which is entitled: "To preserve the spirit of piety". I don't want to read it all because it's not necessary. Don Bosco wrote it when he visited the houses. In the letter he gives a brief report of the houses; he is pleased with the development that the congregation is taking, he notices the need for personnel and he also thinks especially of the need for personnel in the missions. And he says this: "In the desire to come to things that are valid for preserving religious and effective vocations in order to preserve the spirit of piety between the Salesians and the young men entrusted to us, I would like to recommend to you some things that experience has made me recognize about practices of pity. " 

And do you know what it is about? He speaks nothing of pious practices. Yet they are all means to preserve the spirit of piety. I simply refer to the first: "The companies: no one is afraid to talk about them, to recommend them, to encourage them, to set out their purpose, origins and indulgences and other treaties that can be achieved from them. I believe that these associations can be called key to piety, a conservatory of morals, support for ecclesiastical and religious vocations. ” And the others? The other means are those that Don Bosco suggests precisely to keep us in the virtue of purity; does not talk about pious practices. It seems to me that we must think so. Don Bosco addressing each of us says: 
"Son, be careful, try not to feed into your heart all that could be an occasion for sin." 
You see. Talk about relationships, friendships, brilliant or special conversations, either in writing or otherwise with young people or people. Talk about the flight of the century and its maxims. Talk about going to sleep in the evening after the prayers. And the punctuality in going to rest is connected with the exactness of the rising of the morning, which appears insistent and intends to inculcate. Believe it, my dear ones, experience has done so much that it is so well known that the prolonged hour of rest in the morning without necessity was always a very dangerous thing. On the contrary, the accuracy in the rising, besides being the beginning of a good day, can also be called a permanent example for all. And he recommends that the comfort be given to fulfill and perform the practices of piety even to our young people and especially, true, to our dear co-audiences, which may sometimes have obstacles. This, and all this to keep us in pity. 
It seems more to me that we must say so. If we study diligently, we carry out the practices of piety that are prescribed, doing what we can in time, in the place, in the established way, etc., and try to keep away from us all the near or remote occasions of sin, - it is natural - we keep ourselves in union with the Lord. Pity does not mean kneeling or saluting. Piety consists in our permanent union with the Lord during the day. It is the filial piety of the son who rushes towards the Father; of the soul that rushes and embraces, spreads its arms as we have meditated this morning, to sink ourselves into our love. Here, here is the thought of Don Bosco.
Don Bosco, animated by glory, pervaded by the love of the Lord, and pervaded by charity towards souls, you know that at a certain moment in his life, especially when the congregation began to leave the Oratory, he wanted to write what we are used to call the "Confidential Memories", - then they were quite secret and could be said to be "confidential"; now everyone knows them, they are printed - va beh, in order to be able to direct his children who are slowly moving away from the Oratory to begin to expand the work of the apostolate of the congregation outside the center. The Confidential Memories are from 1963, the first, which was made to our Saint Don Rua, we can say the first director of the first one that started outside the oratory. 
In '71, in 1972 Don Bosco saw them again, he used them; and then, true, for everyone who had need of it, Don Bosco had someone make a copy of it when he commissioned someone. Then later, in '75 it was lithographed, in 1986, just in the last years of the life of our Don Bosco, Don Bosco saw them again and there they were lithographed and therefore they began to become of use of common norm.
That is, very precious rules. It is from these that we can know even more genuinely the educational thought of Don Bosco and if we really do that, what is written, we would obviously be sure to act according to the true thought of our Don Bosco. 
I don't want to keep you on top of everything. The first part of these memories refer to the individual to whom they are consecrated, "In relation to yourself", it is written. I take the liberty of reading them to you; they are made for the directors, but it seems to me that they are made and that they are so useful in framing, let me say so, the day of the Salesian, whether he is a cleric, a coadjutor, or who has much higher responsibilities, which they combine with those of the director to whom they are directly addressed.
I remember that I was a kid and I had the chance to get closer to my manager on a sad occasion. I remember: "Come here a little, come near here and take a small booklet out of his drawer, I say, I didn't understand anything, really, but these confidential memories were written. And he said to me:" See, here are words of Don Bosco, do you see that Don Bosco is right? "Then later, when the undersigned became a Salesian, I too read those words, and then I understood that it was precisely these memories that Don Bosco gave to his children. Briefly my dear confreres . 
"First, nothing upsets you." It seems to me that this does not hurt even all the brothers even if they are not a director, that is us. In the explanation I would like to call this "The day of the Salesian according to the spirit of Don Bosco." There are not all the details; it does not matter. There are details that refer to priests. Instead of those, let us think of our non-priestly practices of piety.
"Nothing upsets you." Calmness, tranquility, serenity, serenity in relation to us. We also have to fight. We too have our spiritual concerns every day. Internal concerns. External concerns in the fulfillment of our duties, my dear confreres. "Nothing upsets you." And Don Bosco commented: "The past is past, past water no longer mills." But why do we lose my dear brothers a long time and torture our soul in relation to the past? But what can we do about it? "Past water no longer grinds. Returning continually, but if the good and blessed Lord returns every moment, true, he could come near us and say to us:" Mind you, you did this year; Aren't you ashamed? ”The past is past!
"The future? But it is in the hands of God! "But yes, I can die now. But what am I going to write about the future? Even the past? Here, and then, "Nothing upsets you."
"And in difficulties? - here - Your mind, your soul, your heart, your mind, even your physical strength, elevates it to the Lord. " But every day the Church makes us pray:" O Lord, let my body let him be healthy, let my soul be healthy. "But you would collect nothing but a style of prayer, on the missal, in which the Church has prayed so that the health of body and mind of the Christian may be maintained. But it's natural: nothing upsets you. We are guided by him. But if we really love the Lord, why shouldn't we try?    

Notice that St. Ignatius and St. Francis de Sales still nodded to another point: indifference in prayer. In a certain way the indifference in our union with the Lord. Not indifference in relation to the end, - that that is clear, we cannot be indifferent: He and He alone, - but in relation to the means. If we have faith in the Lord, but why do we have to go and talk about this and that? Men of little faith, every moment of the day there could cry out the Lord. "Quaerite primum regnum Dei et omnia adicientur vobis." Also in material things. Sure! The superiors of the times, unfortunately, have to break their heads to be able, in this way, to have what is necessary, but if we have a spirit of faith and a spirit of prayer, my dear brothers, we will have this holy indifference. It is said, and we read it in the refectory of our Don Bosco, that as many concerns as he had, the more he was happy and smiling. Nothing upsets you. 
Second: "Avoid food austerities." Oh, this is comforting. And from the austerities in food, my dear confreres are attentive. "Your mortifications are in diligence to your duties and to endure the harassment of others." "On each night you will do seven hours of rest. An hour of latitude is established more or less, for you and for others, when some reasonable cause will intervene. " Eh, we also have, 8 hours apart; also 9 ... well, we thank the Lord for that too. Austerity, penance does not consist in this; let us do our duty and support each other, offering daily crosses to the Lord. Then, what refers to the practices of piety. Here he addresses the priests: 

"Celebrate Holy Mass, recite the Holy Breviary, a dignified and attentive person. This is for you and your employees. "Dear priests, we know our duties. And for others? You'll see now. "Never omit meditation in the morning, during the day a visit to the Holy Sacrament. The rest as set out in the rules. " Here are my good brothers, our practices of piety. You see that the precise contribution of this calm serenity, of this intimate union with the Lord who comes, I would say so, continually exercising in our prayers. 

To think that there are Salesians who say, they think that we have too little pious practices, little charity. If we do them well, but think that we don't have an hour - I can say, we can also say - we don't have half an hour in which Don Bosco does not make us pray. If we do, every time we start actions, important offices, that's fine, we have to say ACTIONES, we have to say ANGELUS and sometimes we don't say it. And then, it is natural; but you see that the call is continuous in our practices of piety. 
Fifth: "Study to make yourself loved if you want to make you fear. Charity and patience accompany you constantly in commanding, correcting and making sure that each of your own, from your deeds, your words, knows that you seek the good of souls. It tolerates everything when it comes to preventing sin and your concerns are directed to the spiritual, health, and scientific good of the young men of Divine Providence entrusted to you. "Is n't that our problem? It is not our duty as assistants, is it not our duty as teachers? Is it not our duty if we occupy a position in the house, catechist, councilor? They are good for everyone. Let's not forget it. Sixth: "In matters of greater importance he always makes a brief elevation of heart to God before working." 
Eh, don't you see, that's the point. Our Don Bosco expressed this in the practice of life with the overall appearance of a Hail Mary. He left it written. The first Ave Maria that he said starting his work there with Bartolomeo Garelli in the sacristy of San Francesco d'Assisi. And all the time, and whenever a Salesian has to do something important, dear ones, if we have precisely the habit of saying: now I have to talk to this individual, now I have to talk to this authority, I have this problem that I don't know how to solve, let us raise our thoughts to the Lord. You see, during the day, through prayer, in the execution of our own work, you see that we continually pray.
It seems to me that this can be sufficient to indicate precisely the thought, the spirit of Don Bosco in relation to this. And I conclude, perhaps you have already heard him read the thought of our venerable Rector Major: 
"We set a good example in the practices of piety; make them all, do them in common. You have the occupations of the ministry, go and say Mass here and there and it is not always possible to do them with the community. The rules speak for themselves. The rule says as we must do when we cannot, when we are busy with the ministry and we cannot do the practices of piety in common, it says: "But it does your actions better; flaws them with greater fervor of affection ", because later when you come back from saying the Mass because you have confessed all the time, you have not been able to do meditation or other things with the community, okay, but of course you have to do school, do it with more fervor of affection your school, you have to do here and there. The important thing is not that materiality, the important thing is that you are united to the Lord. May you say: dear Lord if you do not come to my aid, 
These things must be an exception, - it is natural, when we cannot, - and the community that prays also makes up for what it cannot do together, those who cannot do together. But then again, this is not the ordinary way. Sure. The community that cannot practice piety together - it is a strong but clear word - has no right to exist and must merge with others. This is the true importance of our practices of piety, of this spirit of prayer which, if we cannot do it, is bad; and in short, we are out of rule. In the practices of piety in common the community is in place; all before God in the same plane.
Doing the exercise of the GOOD MONEY well, to which Don Bosco attached so much importance. Do it without haste. It seems like a fatality, when it comes to the Lord one is always busy. Do it without haste. Give the Lord his due time. It's so little, let's give it all. The form of the examination of conscience is done calmly, not in a hurry, even divided into several times; you don't need everything every time and in a hurry. And leave time to reflect after each question. For this reason, the reader is also very important. Be an expert reader, not the first one that happens. Be one who knows how to do, who read slow, gracefully. 
Likewise the obituary, the reading is clear and distinct. Would you like your name to be read in a hurry, mumbled so that nobody or almost can make it out? I do not, but I wish that, in due time, my name should be read clearly and distinctly so that those who know us pray for us. ” See, it's the little things that make up the whole. We try to do them well, because extraordinary things, I think, we will have few opportunities to fulfill. I end my good brothers. Let us seek today in which we have meditated on the union with the Lord to also be in the forms of the various prayers that we must do in the exercises in the individual and spontaneous prayer of being, more than is possible, in union with the Lord under the vigilant protection of our mother Madonna. 

Praised be Jesus Christ.