Saturday, March 8, 2008
A Salesian According to the Bishop of Milo
Today our community held a quarterly day of recollection (A day long retreat) at Guardian Angels Parish in Allendale, NJ. It rained all day! However, we were blessed to have had Fr. Pat Angelucci, SDB as our retreat preacher. Fr. Pat shared some beautiful insights on Salesian life and on Salesian asceticism. He read a quote to us that was particularly insightful. In Volume 18 of The Biographical Memoirs of St. John Bosco we can find a description of a Salesian from the Bishop of Milo. This description was written in 1886, but it goes to the heart of some of the qualities that make up a Salesian of Don Bosco. I find the description to be very insightful!
“A Salesian is not like a Jesuit, a soldier, so to speak, of the sacred army or, one might better say, of the elect militia that the Church mobilizes against her fiercest enemies, and especially against this modern world which is so full of pride so conceited because of its knowledge and its valor. A Salesian is not like a Capuchin, the most popular of monks, for his austerity and severity, his contempt for worldly possessions, his absolute poverty both interior and exterior, which terrify us. The Salesian is not like the son of St. Benedict who lives in solitude, and spends his life in study, in the chant of divine praises and in the cultivation of the soil. The Salesian is not like a disciple of Joseph Calasanz, eminent benefactor, well deserving of the Church and of Society, but devoted only to one task. No, the Salesian is not any of these.
The Salesian is the man of self-denial and humility, the man who lives dead to himself, without even noticing it; who does good, thinking that he is doing nothing; who makes sacrifices without considering them, sometimes even unaware of them. He is the man who deems himself to be the lowliest servant of the Church when his last hour strikes. He goes wherever he is sent; he takes and adapts himself to things as he finds them, building his nest in either the exuberant branches of a tree rich in foliage, or amid the most sharply pointed, craggy stones or bare rock. His characteristic virtues are that he never complains, not even when everything is against him, and that he is never discouraged, but always puts his hope in Divine Providence.
The Salesian has something of the energy, of the industriousness, of the breadth and of the height of goals as well as the unconquerable courage of the Jesuit; he also enjoys something of the popularity of the Capuchin; he has something of the retiring spirit and working habits peculiar to monks; in short, he has something in common with all religious orders known to us, despite the fact that he truly is a new breed.”