Not with blows, but with charity: Remembering St. John Bosco

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Natalia Kononenko, Editor of Living with Christ

“Not with blows, but with charity…”

Today we celebrate the feast of St. John Bosco, widely known as Don Bosco. Among other things, he is well known for his ministry to the young people of his day, particularly, to the youth that were illiterate, unemployed, uprooted and abandoned.

When he was 9 years of age, he had a prophetic dream where he found himself fighting a large group of boys, trying to stop their unruly behaviour. A man of magnificent appearance then came on the scene and told him “It is not with blows, but with charity and kindness will you win these to be your friends.” The dream foreshadowed what was to become Don Bosco’s mission – ministering to troubled youth, treating them with respect, affirming their dignity, enriching them with life skills, and having some good-natured fun in the process.

Don Bosco once said “In every young person, a point of goodness is accessible, and it is the primary duty of the educator to discover that sensitive cord of the heart so as to draw out the best in the young person.”

He offered hope and a new life for young people. He taught that “holiness is not a monopoly of the monastery or of the desert”; holiness belongs to everyone, the young and the old. He told young people that God wants us to be happy and to rejoice in the love of Jesus. He laboured intensely to open up new horizons of meaning, possibilities and aspirations, transforming lives in the process.

Don Bosco’s vision for reforming youth reminds us of the timeless wisdom that evil cannot be conquered by evil; evil can only be conquered by goodness. If we can not be intimidated by the darkness we sometimes come across in others, but to search for that “cord of the heart” that is in them, as in everyone else, we may very well help them to find a new, life-giving path in life.

May God bless all our efforts to spread light and goodness, especially to those places where they are most needed. St. John Bosco, pray for us.

In the same way, our titles remind many to live a life full of meaning, spirituality, and decency while offering daily contemplation. Some titles include The Ten Commandments for Everyday Life, St. Benedict’s Guide to Improving Your Work LifeThe Call to Sainthood as well as Experts in Humanity by Josephine Lombardi.

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