Sunday, February 1, 2009

Saint John Bosco-Feast Day 1/31

"It seems to me that the words of the Holy Gospel which speak to us of the Divine Saviour come down from heaven to earth to gather together all the children of God scattered all over the world, could be applied literally to the young people of our times. They constitute the most vulnerable yet valuable section of human society. We base our hopes for the future on them, and they are not of their nature depraved. Were it not for struggling parents, idleness, mixing in bad company, it would be so easy to inculcate in their young hearts the principles of order, of good behaviour, of respect, of religion, because if they are ruined at that age, it is due more to carelessness than to ingrained malice. These young people truly have need of some kind person who will take care of them, work with them, guide them in virtue, keep them away from harm. .....

Sometimes it might seem to us that a young person was taking no notice of our advice, whilst deep inside they were well-disposed to cooperate, and meanwhile we were ruining him by our harshness which they cannot understand. ....

Everything at its proper time, says the Holy Spirit. When there is the need to punish, great prudence is required to choose the right moment. Nothing is more dangerous than a cure applied incorrectly, or at the wrong moment. We can get to know the right moment only from experience which has been fine-tuned by the goodness of our hearts. First of all then, wait until you are in control of yourselves; do not let it be understood that you are acting because of a bad mood, or in anger. .....

Young people often need convincing that we have confidence in their ability to improve, and feel there is a kindly hand to help them. You can get more with a friendly look, with a word of encouragement that gives his heart new courage, than you can with repeated blame, which serves only to upset, and weaken enthusiasm. Using this system, I have seen real conversions among those one would otherwise have believed impossible. All youngsters have their off-days - you have had them yourselves! ....

Remember that education is a matter of the heart, of which God is the sole master, and we will be unable to achieve anything unless God teaches us, and puts the key in our hands. Let us strive to make ourselves loved, and we will see the doors of many hearts open with great ease, and join with us in singing praises and blessing of Him who wished to make himself our model, our way, our example in everything, but especially in the education of the young." John Bosco - 1883

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