I have five dreams in my heart, dear Salesian Family scattered in the world, my dear friends. I think that these dreams are among the most beautiful fruits of the Bicentennial of Don Bosco’s birth. One of these dreams, the fourth one, concerns a Salesian Family that lives the joy of the Gospel, and this happens because we are convinced that we must be a Family of both evangelizers and educators in the faith, in all corners of the world where we are.
I want to remind you the words with which Pope Francis began his Apostolic Exhortation ‘Evangelii Gaudium’ (The Joy of the Gospel): ‘The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ, joy is constantly born anew’.
The Pope invites all Christians to renew their personal encounter with Jesus, or to allow to be ‘met’ by Him, against the risk of isolation, against a rhythm of life that leads to pressing vortices that allow no room to other people and truly personal relationships.
This challenge is tremendously topical and provocative especially for us, the Salesian Family, as we have to bring to the Church that unique gift that is just peculiar to us. It is as strong and irresistible as is the charism that we have inherited from Don Bosco.
Why this dream? Because I really would not want Fr. Vecchi’s words to be prophetic, when he referred to the primacy of evangelization: ‘It may happen that we are so absorbed by a multitude of activities, concerned with structures and busy organizing, that we run the risk of losing sight of the horizon of our action, and we may seem pastoral activists or ‘movementists’, managers of either works or structures, admirable benefactors, but not so explicit witnesses to Christ, mediators of His saving action, trainer of souls, guides in the life of grace’.
Our very essence, inherited from Don Bosco, is a part of our DNA. It consists in being evangelizers for young people, especially for the poorest ones’. In addition, we do believe that God is waiting for us in the young people to offer us the grace of meeting Him. He expects from us that we are truly servants of young people to serve Him in them, recognising their dignity and educating them to the fullness of life.
The people who truly live this reality experience the real joy of the Gospel. They live in a very different way in comparison with ‘Christians whose lives seem like Lent without Easter’, as Pope Francis says.
My dear friends, with Don Bosco’s sensitivity, drinking at the source of his charism, we cannot afford to fall into the temptation of pessimism and lack of joyful satisfaction. We have to face many difficulties, but it is much nicer to animate every person of our groups to continue giving the best of themselves, of who we are. Thus, we have to live showing that, as both educators and evangelizers, we are passionate for young people, involved in ‘God’s Plan’. And together with our Salesian brothers, in our Salesian Family and with many educators, friends, involved lay people, we want to continue making this dream of Don Bosco’s a reality, with the same enthusiasm with which he was able to pass it down to his first Salesians and lay people, to deserve the qualification that Paul VI gave us, when he called us ‘missionaries of young people’.
To be missionaries in our life means first of all to believe that the centre of our lives is Jesus. It means to really believe that one’s life is enriched when it is given, delivered to other people, and on the contrary it weakens and saddens in isolation or when we search only our own convenience. It means to believe that the best life is the one which finds happiness in giving happiness and life to other people.
‘And may the world of our time, which is searching, sometimes with anguish, sometimes with hope, be enabled to receive the good news not from evangelizers who are dejected, discouraged, impatient or anxious, but from ministers of the Gospel whose lives glow with fervour, who have first received the joy of Christ’ (EG 10).
My dear friends, this is the heart of my dream for a Salesian Family, which should feel more alive than ever, with the Church’s duty to offer the best of ourselves, to give for free what for free we received, as Jesus tells us in the Gospel.
The most beautiful wish is that our faces will increasingly reflect the joy we dream of and that can only come from Him.
Source: Info ANS