By Fr. Louis Molinelli, SDB, Delegate for Youth Ministry
Our Rector Major, Fr. Angel Fernandez Artime, SDB, has given the Salesian Family a wonderful "gift" for our reflection this year in our strenna. He gives us seven points to reflect on as we seek to put it into practice. I would like to reflect on each point over the next few months.
Nothing through constraint. Freedom is God's gift!
Don Bosco wrote, "The kindness and charity of St. Francis de Sales will guide me in everything." This motto became Don Bosco's fundamental option in his priesthood and in the establishment of our Salesian Family. For both St. Francis de Sales and St. John Bosco, this was an attitude and spirituality that was the backdrop to every encounter, every venture, and every challenge. Holiness in life comes about through grace that gradually is revealed to us over time as we grow in our relationship with God and journey towards heaven. St. Francis de Sales guided people gently, accompanying them and helping them to work at the little things in their daily lives. By doing this, they could see how God was present as a loving Father, who so gently grasps our hand and walks with us along the path of faith. In his founding of the Visitation of Holy Mary, St. Francis de Sales worked with St. Jane Frances de Chantal to provide a way for women to serve God in holiness and gentleness. He envisioned an order that would be a family, where joy and laughter would be coupled with religious discipline in a family style. The daily growth in love of God and love of each other was the penance to be practiced. Don Bosco built his religious family on the same principles. We remember that he told St. Dominic Savio not to practice extraordinary penance, but to do the ordinary things of life extraordinarily well. This leads to joyfulness and freedom of spirit so that following the Lord is a joyful and exhilarating experience while it challenges us to grow day by day in holiness. By following this way of life, we are motivated by love. May we find joy in serving the Lord!