It’s Boscoworld’s Patron Saint Day!
“Do not ever forget these three things: devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, devotion to Mary Help of Christians, and devotion to (always be in support and come to the defense of) the Holy Father!”
This year, for Boscoworld’s feast day, I want to focus on the last directives that St. John Bosco imparted to his beloved “little sons” that were in his care before he died. He wanted to make sure that above all, they kept themselves close to the Lord in three special ways. To me, these three devotions have been mainstays of my own spirituality, and although these words were spoken over 130 years ago (just before he died on January 31, 1888) I find them to be more timely for us as Catholics than perhaps ever before.
Devotion To The Blessed Sacrament
Jesus Christ left us his body, blood, soul and divinity in the sacrament of the Eucharist. There seems to be a crisis within the Catholic church that the few people actually believe this “little wafer” could be Jesus. What would this world look like if we understood the power of the Blessed Sacrament? I started down the apologetic role of explaining the Eucharist again in this post, but instead I will refer you to my previous posts and say that my personal life has been so powerfully changed by Christ in this most powerful truth. Don’t get it? Go before the tabernacle in a Catholic Church and ask Jesus to help you, as did the centurion in Mark 9:24; “…Lord, help my unbelief.”
Mary Help of Christians
Last year, at the end of our Spiritual Exercises (where I am as this pre-scheduled post is released) we closed with the usual tradition of receiving our patron saint card and from the director of our retreat. As a priest, he blesses the cards and prays that each recipient is given the card deigned for them by the Holy Spirit so we can grow in virtue that year under the guardianship of a special saint.
Randomly picking from a basket, Father hands us each a card. As the year goes on, we may gather books or articles on that saint, and ask for that saint’s help in our path to grow in holiness.
Last year, I received devotion to the Blessed Mother as my virtue. I had never even seen this card before, and my first thought was “I already have a relationship with Mary,” but as with any relationship, there is always room for growth. I hadn’t been asking for her help the way one should from a mother, especially a mother who so loves her divine Son.
I later embarked on another “retreat” of sorts with 33 Days to Morning Glory:
A Do-It-Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Marian Consecration
By: Fr. Michael Gaitley M.I.C., and found myself in deeper love with this purist of Mothers.
“Never be afraid of loving Mary too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did.”- St. Maximilian Kolbe.
“…and devotion to (always be in support and come to the defense of) the Holy Father!”
The final advice that Saint Bosco gives his little sons is regarding their affinity to the Holy Father (the pope). Since the beginning of the church, way back to Peter, the Pope has been scrutinized. Recently I have read many criticisms against Pope Francis, which should not as much be a matter of opinion as an opportunity to instead be faithful. What should you do if you struggle with a leader, especially within the church?
I believe that God works through His authority for His purpose. There are over 50 bible verses (even if there was only one wouldn’t it be enough?) that recommend us to be obedient to those in authority over us.
Obedience to Authority. Let every person be subordinate to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been established by God. Therefore, whoever resists authority opposes what God has appointed, and those who oppose it will bring judgment upon themselves. Romans 13:1-2.
And from Daniel 2:21;
He causes the changes of the times and seasons,
establishes kings and deposes them.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to those who understand.
In other words, where is our trust in what God has deigned? Do we not believe that God is not still on His throne? The Pope is an anointed leader. If there is something unjust in leadership, God is perfect justice. He will manage the details of what needs to be done and use the rest for the sanctification of His people. Our job is to be faithful.
Lastly, I feel the most effective way we can change the world is to be unified as Christians.
We look to the four marks of the church which begins with the word ONE (one, holy, catholic and apostolic). One is not divisible. We are “many parts but one body” (Romans 12:3.) Division is a work of the enemy, and it’s not the only trick he is using on us these days.
To think we know better than what God has deigned for this moment in time for the church is a kind of pride that will destroy not only ourselves but the fragile remnants of the faith of those who struggle around us. Let us use the greatest prudence and humility before we speak words against anyone. Instead, let us get on our knees, offer sacrifices and prayers for our church leaders and priests—protection from evil and temptation—and know that we did our part to preserve our church in the world, and trust God’s plan.
The Patron Saint of this blog, as you know is St John Bosco, or “Don Bosco” as he was affectionately known. I chose Don Bosco to keep watch over my work because at the time I began this ministry, I was a mom of three young children, one of whom was very devoted to St Bosco. Additionally, I have worked extensively in various kinds of ministry for youth including being a junior high/senior high youth minister, running several VBS’s, heading a city youth apostolate “Kids 4 Jesus”, and more. When a saint was selected for my oldest son’s school project, he and Don Bosco were a match that was made in Heaven. Don Bosco made a serious impression on my son. He was attracted to the fun side of learning about God, for which Don Bosco was adored. Laughing and having joy are pinnacle to teaching kids about faith, and I loved this particular element of St John Bosco. I wanted my Domestic Church to reflect that, and so I named this ministry “The Domestic Church of Bosco.”
I have but one soul; If I lose it, what good will it be for me to have lived?
–St John Bosco
For more information on St John Bosco’s amazing life and legacy of the Salesians, visit these sites: