“Serving the Lord!” | How Br. Sal Celebrates His Consecrated Life

Br. Sal Consecrated Life

By Br. Kevin White, SDB

Br. Sal
Photo credit: Br. Salvatore
"Sal" Sammarco, SDB

Br. Salvatore Sammarco, or simply Br. Sal, has been a Salesian of Don Bosco for over 50 years, and he is still incredibly joyful in living out his God-given vocation. When asked what brings him joy as a Salesian, Br. Sal simply but enthusiastically responded “Serving the Lord!” Br. Sal feels joy in living his vocation because he delights in serving the Lord, doing what Christ has called him to do—serving youth. Br. Sal also feels joy in his vocation because he lives in a community, where he experiences the joy of working together with others. When asked what motivates him to live his Salesian life with enthusiasm, he exclaimed “The mission!” Even in Br. Sal’s later stages of his Salesian consecrated life, he finds creative ways to integrate the mission into each day. He said, “I recognize that the Lord has called me, so every moment is a moment to serve Him. If I can’t be with the young, I pray for the young; if I can’t be with my confreres, then I pray for my confreres.” This simple yet deep way of living his vocation is what has allowed Br. Sal to joyfully persevere faithfully in his God-given call.

In his early stages of formation, Br. Sal learned a number of lessons and attitudes that he has kept with him throughout his consecrated life. One of the attitudes that have sustained him is an attitude of total commitment. Br. Sal said that when he made his First Profession, it was, in his mind, permanent. Once committed, Br. Sal vowed to stay committed unless his superiors told him that they believed God called him somewhere else. Another lesson that Br. Sal learned is that “when the bumps come along, don’t jump ship!” Hence, he has always viewed obstacles as opportunities. He said: “If I’m growing in Christ, whatever comes my way is an opportunity to show my love more, to grow in love more, and to love my neighbor more. I don’t want to become a reactionary—I want to become intentional.” When asked what advice he has for young adults of today, he said: “They need to take time to be quiet and to look at their lives. They need to look at the reality of their particular situation and go below the surface. When they go below the surface, they see the deeper reality of God’s work in their lives.” Br. Sal followed this same advice as a young adult in discerning, entering, and living his Salesian life. He said that, for him, his vocation springs out of gratitude. Br. Sal said that when you look deeper into your life, you’ll start to see many things you are grateful for. He remarked: “When your heart starts to say that you’re grateful, then the sky is the limit for your response to God!” This gratitude and subsequent response to God is exactly what happened in Br. Sal’s life as a young adult. He noted: “Once I began to be grateful for my life, even amid the difficulties, I started praying the Rosary daily, visiting the church when no one was there, and going to Mass before work. No one told me to do this; it wasn’t really a plan. I was just responding to God’s call!” These ways of building his relationship with God is how Br. Sal came to understand the profound importance of having Jesus Christ at the center of his life. He went on to say: “When you realize that Jesus is the center of your life, you begin to realize that your total joy rests in Him!” Br. Sal began to know—and still knows—that deep down his total joy rests in loving Christ above all things and following His plan for his life.

Let us follow Br. Sal’s example of a life lived for God above all else. Let us take Br. Sal’s advice to heart by looking deeper inside of ourselves, seeing our lives through a lens of gratitude, and through that newfound perspective, faithfully responding to God’s will for us.

February 1, 2021 - 10:07am
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