St. John Bosco
John Bosco's theory of education could well be used in today's schools. It was a preventive system, rejecting corporal punishment and placing students in surroundings removed from the likelihood of committing sin. He advocated frequent reception of the sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion. He combined catechetical training and fatherly guidance, seeking to unite the spiritual life with one's work, study and play.
Encouraged during his youth to become a priest so he could work with young boys, John was ordained in 1841. His service to young people started when he met a poor orphan and instructed him in preparation for receiving Holy Communion. He then gathered young apprentices and taught them catechism.
After serving as chaplain in a hospice for working girls, John opened the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales for boys. Several wealthy and powerful patrons contributed money, enabling him to provide two workshops for the boys, shoemaking and tailoring.
By 1856, the institution had grown to 150 boys and had added a printing press for publication of religious and catechetical pamphlets. His interest in vocational education and publishing justify him as patron of young apprentices and Catholic publishers.
John's preaching fame spread and by 1850 he had trained his own helpers because of difficulties in retaining young priests. In 1854 he and his followers informally banded together, inspired by St. Francis de Sales [January 24].
With Pope Pius IX's encouragement, John gathered 17 men and founded the Salesians in 1859. Their activity concentrated on education and mission work. Later, he organized a group of Salesian Sisters to assist girls.
John Bosco educated the whole person—body and soul united. He believed that Christ's love and our faith in that love should pervade everything we do—work, study, play. For John Bosco, being a Christian was a full-time effort, not a once-a-week, Mass-on-Sunday experience. It is searching and finding God and Jesus in everything we do, letting their love lead us. Yet, because John realized the importance of job-training and the self-worth and pride that come with talent and ability, he trained his students in the trade crafts, too.
"Every education teaches a philosophy; if not by dogma then by suggestion, by implication, by atmosphere. Every part of that education has a connection with every other part. If it does not all combine to convey some general view of life, it is not education at all" (G.K. Chesterton, The Common Man).
Patron Saint of:
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
Dear Lord as I come to you today
Lord grant me the grace
At this moment Lord I turn my thoughts to You. I will leave aside my chores and preoccupations.
The Word of God
Reading 12 SM 11:1-4A, 5-10A, 13-17
At the turn of the year, when kings go out on campaign,
David sent out Joab along with his officers
and the army of Israel,
and they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah.
David, however, remained in Jerusalem.
One evening David rose from his siesta
and strolled about on the roof of the palace.
From the roof he saw a woman bathing, who was very beautiful.
David had inquiries made about the woman and was told,
"She is Bathsheba, daughter of Eliam,
and wife of Joab's armor bearer Uriah the Hittite."
Then David sent messengers and took her.
When she came to him, he had relations with her.
She then returned to her house.
But the woman had conceived,
and sent the information to David, "I am with child."
David therefore sent a message to Joab,
"Send me Uriah the Hittite."
So Joab sent Uriah to David.
When he came, David questioned him about Joab, the soldiers,
and how the war was going, and Uriah answered that all was well.
David then said to Uriah, "Go down to your house and bathe your feet."
Uriah left the palace,
and a portion was sent out after him from the king's table.
But Uriah slept at the entrance of the royal palace
with the other officers of his lord, and did not go down
to his own house.
David was told that Uriah had not gone home.
On the day following, David summoned him,
and he ate and drank with David, who made him drunk.
But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his bed
among his lord's servants, and did not go down to his home.
The next morning David wrote a letter to Joab
which he sent by Uriah.
In it he directed:
"Place Uriah up front, where the fighting is fierce.
Then pull back and leave him to be struck down dead."
So while Joab was besieging the city, he assigned Uriah
to a place where he knew the defenders were strong.
When the men of the city made a sortie against Joab,
some officers of David's army fell,
and among them Uriah the Hittite died.
Responsorial Psalm PS 51:3-4, 5-6A, 6BCD-7, 10-11
R. (see 3a) Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
For I acknowledge my offense,
and my sin is before me always:
"Against you only have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight."
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
I have done such evil in your sight
that you are just in your sentence,
blameless when you condemn.
True, I was born guilty,
a sinner, even as my mother conceived me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Let me hear the sounds of joy and gladness;
the bones you have crushed shall rejoice.
Turn away your face from my sins,
and blot out all my guilt.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Gospel MK 4:26-34
Jesus said to the crowds:
"This is how it is with the Kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come."
"To what shall we compare the Kingdom of God,
or what parable can we use for it?
It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants
and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade."
With many such parables
he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.
Without parables he did not speak to them,
but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.
Remembering that I am still in God's presence, I imagine Jesus himself standing or sitting beside me, and say whatever is on my mind, whatever is in my heart, speaking as one friend to another.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
Meditation: Mark 4:26-34
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Saint John Bosco, Priest
Of its own accord the land yields fruit. (Mark 4:28)
The kingdom of God is real. Better yet, it's here now, growing bigger and stronger, like the mustard tree in Jesus' parable. It's not just up in heaven, awaiting the time when we will finally enter it. It is also here on earth, where Jesus has sowed it among us as the smallest of seeds. Almost of its own accord, the kingdom is coming to maturity. And although we aren't always aware of its presence, it extends over all creation, even over those who don't acknowledge its existence.
Jesus started his ministry by declaring the good news of the coming of the kingdom. He proclaimed it in words and demonstrated it in power. Healing, deliverance, repentance, transformed lives—these were the marks of the kingdom in Jesus' time, and they remain just as valid today. Whenever and wherever they occur, they declare to an unbelieving world that God is real. And if that's not enough, we also have the fruits of the Holy Spirit—love, joy, peace, and the rest that bear powerful witness to the kingdom (Galatians 5:22).
Brothers and sisters, God has called us into his kingdom and glory. He wants to have a close, loving relationship with each one of us. Jesus lived, died, and rose again just so that we could belong to that kingdom. Even though we may struggle here and now, we know that this kingdom will one day overcome all sin, suffering, and death.
Until that time comes, we can declare and demonstrate the kingdom to everyone around us. It's not too hard. When someone is sick, offer to pray with him or her for healing. Should chaos erupt in our homes, pray for protection from any darkness that may be oppressing your family.
Above all, live in love. Try to demonstrate God's love a little more every day. Make it a point to show more affection to your children or spouse or parents. Offer a kind word to your neighbor. Reach out to a parishioner who seems alone. Instead of just telling people about God's love, demonstrate it with real, concrete expressions. Let them see the kingdom of God—present in your own life!
"Holy Spirit, I believe the kingdom of God is active here and now. Give me the courage to speak, pray, and work to reveal it to the world."
2 Samuel 11:1-10, 13-17; Psalm 51:3-7, 10-11
We brought up the mustard seed in our co-worker bible study group, I even sung a little of it. One guy said he hadn't heard about it, or even seen a mustard seed before. And so, our Lord speaks to us today. Now you've heard it, He likened it to the Kingdom of God, and now what? Well, it is a seed, the Word of God, wither it will grow in your dirt, which we are made of earthen materials, or it will not grow in the spirit. Jesus spoke in parables, and it is good, everything He did was good and perfect, because He was there when the earth was created, and in His fulfillment came and touched the earth not just as smoke in the ark, not just as mana from Heaven, not just as fire on the bush, but as a human being, His perfect design. Question is, why did He speak in parables? For those who have ears. From NewAdvent.org it said "It's Greek designation (from paraballein to throw beside or against) indicates a deliberate "making up" of a story in which some lesson is at once given and concealed. As taking simple or common objects to cast light on ethics and religion, it has been well said of the parable that "truth embodied in a tale shall enter in at lowly doors." I take this to heart, because I witness it to be true. The message leaves much to ponder, and causes some to wonder, but for the ones it is meant for, it grows into something fonder. That is to say, it sinks to the heart and begins to give life without one even knowing how, or when it happened, it just did. I give the example of yours truly, for I myself can not pinpoint the exact moment in my life that caused the seed to grow. Now, where it is growing, fertile soil, rocks, or among weeds, I don't know, but I do know that the plants grow towards the light and survive in the strangest of places. This is an inspiration. Was I affected when I was baptized? Blessed or cursed is the answer, and of course baptism blesses into the Kingdom. Was I affected as a little boy when I saw my grandma and my mom in a prayer gathering as I peaked in the doors after leaving the swings and friends behind to see what was going on when I was a mere 4 years old? Was I affected when I tasted the mana, the bread before consecration in CCD? I know forever I never forget the taste when it entered my mouth? This is how God tastes. Was I affected in confirmation class when I was taken to the nursing home to make an awkward moment in visiting the elderly and sickly? Was it an encounter with the Lord? Or was the encounter when I experienced a cursillo? There lessons were learned, seeds were thrown. Or was it the various moments I have seen a priest hold up a piece of flesh on the Altar? Or was it my foolish heart full of tears that wouldn't let me see right? At what point in my life could it have been that the parable of the seed was planted? I have a brother in law coming into the faith, has never been a church goer, never really been in a particular church but within the last year or so of our co-worker reunions and personal talks, he has grown in more ways than I would have ever thought possible. Of his experience of crying out in the middle of the night to our Lord while coyotes were howling all around, I said to another brother in Christ "It's almost not fair that we have spent years and years in the faith, and here he comes almost overnight and experiences things we have just begun to experience". The word enters the lowliest of doors, that is a truly humble heart, a truly fertile soil, a truly open and childlike heart for the Lord. That is why Jesus spoke in parables, so they would be eternal in meaning, interpretation, and understanding. When the harvest is right, God takes what is His...into His Kingdom. The Kingdom of God is at hand and those who have eyes and ears will experience the reality of what is here that is leading there. Take to heart what is about to happen in your life, because something will happen had this seed already sinked inside. And nothing will happen if it did not enter. The fire consumes the bush that grew from the seed, just as the Holy Spirit will consume you when you grow in the faith of our Lord. This fire burns, and burns hot, and the burning heart wishes the world were already set ablaze...