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A living monument to Don Bosco!

  07:26:53 pm, by Castilino   , 236 words  

Link: http://vcastilino.blogspot.com/2009/08/books-of-fr-john-lens.html

I've always admired Fr John Lens. He has always been someone whom I really looked up to, right since my school days. In fact, when I joined the Salesians and began my study of Don Bosco, I had no difficulty in understanding who and what 'Don Bosco' was because I knew Fr Lens! Today I feel elated for at last I have found one small way of showing my respect and admiration for someone I adore... together with my helper, Ms Sheeba, we published online (through Lulu) the major works of Fr Lens (most of these are abridged versions of the originals found in Italian or French).

Not one to know what 'free time' is, he has been busy (and is so today too!) translating texts from foreign languages into English, with the sole purpose of making known Don Bosco and his love for God and young people, to as many people as possible, especially those aspiring to be his sons! His body is 87 now but his heart, mind and eyes are still that of a teenager, passionately in love with Don Bosco and Christ. (Of course, his ears are a bit shut now!! But never mind, his walking stick is handy for those who take too much of an advantage of his hearing!)

May the lives of such living role models inspire and encourage us all to a greater commitment to Christ and Don Bosco!

Age, wisdom and history

  11:42:15 am, by Castilino   , 253 words  

It is said that when Don Bosco began his "society" - for he was cautious to name it a 'Congregation' - in 1859 there were only 17 members in it. Fr Alasonatti was the eldest (47). Imagine the age of the councillors?! Just 21 and 24!! Cagliero and Bonetti were 21 while Ghivarello was 24. Today by that age one barely gets past the post novitiate formation. Though the Brothers in Practical training manage the boys, I wonder if they have the sense and the wisdom to manage the house. On the other hand, I've known several diocesan brothers - some of them, my students - who would be put in-charge of vast farm land (nearly 40 to 50 acres of fruit trees and forest) all by themselves. No priests or seniors, just farm hands. Either because the Bishop did not trust his priests or he found it is better that Brothers manage the farm and priests be left for pastoral ministry, whatever be the case, the Brothers ended up knowing life the hard way. By the time they are ordained, they know to manage any given situation. I wonder if we are ready for such a risk.

However, what makes all the difference is experience, learning and faith. Perhaps this is the reason there are some appointed Rectors in their early 40s while some in their 70s have never ever been Rectors! Must remember that even the three councillors in 1859 were chosen only after some hesitation! (Don Bosco in his times by Francis Desramaut and translated by Fr John Lens, p. 103)

Tags: history

History in bits...

  06:19:22 pm, by Castilino   , 155 words  

My reading of the history of the Congregation surprised me with two small instances today:
It is said that when Don Bosco died, Vatican thought of fusing the Congregation with another one!! Now given the fact that we were already 768 perpetually professed members in the Congregation, this idea of merger sounds a bit ridiculous. Maybe Rome was unsure if the Salesian society would continue without Don Bosco. Well, this fear cannot be ruled out as irrational. Given the charismatic towering personality that Don Bosco was, it would surely have taken a great amount of faith to see someone else (anyone, for that matter) take his place!

The second discovery was that the Holy See's decree of appointment (I think, of Don Rua as Rector Major) could not be traced! I thought that was my problem (I really wouldn't be able to tell you where the decree of appointment of Fr Provincial is, in my archives!!).

Poverty & inner freedom

  12:48:57 pm, by Castilino   , 184 words  

Truly speaking our vow of poverty has more to do with a sense of inner freedom than with money. Either an over-emphasis on the latter (or lack of it) or a total "modern" interpretation of the vow itself, renders religious life meaningless. I have heard several Salesians say that having money in hand is no big deal - I'm taking of personal money - as long as you are detached from it. I have my reservations about this concept of 'personal money' altogether! If one is really detached why have it at all and then find ways and means to justify having it!

Anyway, with most of our discussions and debates centred around money/currency, we reduce our vow of poverty to having or not having money. In the bargain we lose out on the very essence of it: a sense of inner freedom in order to be available for works of the Kingdom. Say for example, the prudent and fruitful use of time, talents, human resources, our own potencies suffering from inertia... most of which cannot be immediately calculated in terms of money!

HONEY... HONEY... HONEY...

  10:27:23 am, by chris valentino   , 327 words  

Just trying out how this drop of honey looks, feels and works out at the global level....

honey by any other name would taste just as sweet??? I suppose so... and i have just been ruminating this great produce of nature... how very important it is, especially in India for not only its sweet taste, but also for its medicinal properties... it is also called by many names.. divine nectar, miraculous sweet, and the like.

Whether it is eye irritation or acidity or even a severe cough and cold... chest congestion... maybe a bout of asthama... bruised, cuts, etc... there it is... honey... the natural curative... the magic remedy.. I remember those early childhood days when I was handed out a generous two teaspoons of honey mixed with ginger juice.... before I could put brush to teeth... to help me rid of my bouts of wheezing and severe chest congestion...!!

also the very usage of the word 'honey' in the lingua inglese refers to something/someone sweet and so very delectable.. probably that's why couples refer to their partners as honey.. moms call their daughters (however brash) honey... The genius of St. Francis De Sales possibly is this .. he recognised the virtue / value of honey and proposed that a spoonful of honey would do the trick rather than a barrel of vinegar..

How very true.. how very fundamentally correct... and with good reason to... for in the present scenario when there is around us so much confusion, chaos, perplexity, tension-atmosphere, distress, wars, violence, terrorism... the youngsters.... are in this throes of congestion, cut, bruised, irritated, frustrated... and are seeking, searching for a soothing balm, a divine nectar that would wipe away the many ailments that threaten and defeat the purpose of life.... we can.. and we ought to offer them... as SDBs... generous dollops of honey.... and this is one venture we can take up .. and so let it begin with us.. with a drop of honey!!

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