Thursday, 31 January 2019

Premier Radio thought on St John Bosco

John Bosco who’s commemorated on 31 January is a Saint associated with mission to youth. His work with poor boys in 19th century Turin was fuelled by his own humble origins as a shepherd, his struggle to become a priest and his belief that love rather than severity was the clue to forming children up into godliness.

‘A main trick of the devil is to make people believe serving God is synonymous with a dull life’ he taught. ‘This is not true at all. I should like to teach you a method of Christian life that will make you happy and content finding joy and pleasure’. John Bosco learned how to juggle as a youth. He used that gift as a way of entertaining young people and earning the right to speak of the Lord to them.

It was prison visiting, seeing 12 to 18 year olds locked up for petty crimes, that fuelled Bosco’s resolve to make a difference to youngsters. He sought  employment for them. With his mother’s help he accommodated scores of children from whom came Christian leaders who in turn helped transform 19th century Italy.

John Bosco was a dreamer. In his early days God spoke to his passion to help the youth in a dream, words he came to live by which summarise the challenge of today’s Saint: ‘You will have to win these [young] friends of yours… with gentleness and kindness… to show them sin is ugly and virtue beautiful’.

May our engagement with young people be blessed after John Bosco’s example with holy love from above!

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