Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Life and Death of Religious Life

Last summer Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR wrote a very good article in First Things on the renewal of religious life today. You can find the full article here. I think he is a great realist and speaks very clearly about the future of religious life. I think that we Salesians, as we challenge ourselves to return to Don Bosco, are in a position to experience renewal and growth that might surprise us. I pray we are up to this challenge. It is such an important time for us in our congregation and, in particular, in our American provinces. The Holy Spirit has blessed us with so many wonderful models of holiness in our province. It is our turn today to respond to God's call of grace and live our our vocations with the same intentionality. We recall the words of Pope John Paul II who said to us: "Salesians, be saints!" As our Salesian General Chapter continues these days in Rome, let's continue to pray for our congregation. Let's also pray for courage and strength as we seek to return to Don Bosco! The young people of the USA need us! Let's also pray for more and more generous young people to come forward to serve the Church and serve the Lord as priests and religious.


Sean said...

Very good article by Fr. Groeschel CFR. I think we find ourselves somewhere in the middle. We are not lacking vocations but if we truly lived our vocations and were true to our charism there is honestly no telling how many young people we would have willing to try out Salesian life. We stand at a moment in time that is about to explode Fr. Chavez calls it "a new Pentecost". I think we have to ask ourselves are we honestly ready for a new Pentecost?

What is getting in the way of living like Don Bosco?
1. As we move away from youth in our works we become social workers/administrators instead of good shepherds of their souls
2. Does our poverty witness to a Salesians' gospel poverty?
3. Where are young people today? Are we in those places, or are we ready to go into those places? What is holding us back?
4. When did we become afraid as Salesians to dream big and depend on the Holy Spirit and Mother Mary to fill in the details?

These are just a few questions that are being talked about at the general chapter and are so important to not only answer in our congregation and in our own lives, but also to ACT on.

As Salesians we have to return to Don Bosco. We have to find the middle ground that Don Bosco walked following Mother Church and the Holy Father but also being flexible enough so as to avoid rigidity and ultra-conservatism which can be a tempting alternative but is not Salesian. Let us truly be credible witnesses ourselves to Don Bosco's smile, heart and mind. If we are, there is no stopping what God has planned to do through the Salesians of Don Bosco.

Padre Steve said...

That says it all amigo! I agree with everything you said. Let's continue to pray for the wisdom to know just where the Holy Spirit is calling us and for the courage to follow! Mother Angelica says that boldness should be the 11th commandment and I think Don Bosco would agree! God bless!