EAO Good Night Talk (80)
Dear Superiors, confreres, members of the Salesian Family and friends,
We are going to the close of October, the month dedicated to pray for the missions of the Church. We congratulate our confreres in the Delegation of Mongolia, belonging to our East Asia Oceania Region for completing a new chapel in Shuwu, a little town or village, 40 km’s from Ulaan Bataar. Our Salesians have succeeded to lay seeds and make grow the early Christian community over there. A few years ago, I had an opportunity to celebrate the Sunday Mass in this village, in a small room, with 5-6 baptized and some catechumens. Today, the community has grown with 76 baptized. We can clearly see the blessing of God upon our Salesian missionaries in this missionary country They have labored to nurture the faith and inculturate the Salesian charism into this nomadic people. Indeed, they labor very hard to overcome so many difficulties, weather, very cold weather, and language. Mongolian is one of the most difficult languages. It is very difficult, even for those who have known two or more foreign languages.
And then, we are entering November, the month the church celebrates the glory of Christians in Heaven and prays for those in the purgatory.
In this atmosphere of looking up to the end of the world and our final destination, we are invited to grow in sanctity, each in his or her own status of life.
We are privileged to be formed and to live in the school of Salesian spirituality, which St. Francis of Sales, 400 ago, taught us. He left a precious treatise, Introduction to Devout Life in which he stressed that each baptized was called to sanctity in his/her ordinary life. This teaching has been spread out by his Spiritual Family, Don Bosco was one of his gifted spiritual disciple as Don Bosco implemented this teaching in his own mission to the young. In fact , Don Bosco simplifies it with a motto which becomes universal in the Salesian world: “For us, sanctity depends on the fulfilment of one’s duties in joy”.
The Council Vatican II re-affirmed this call of the Gospel in the Constitution Lumen Gentium. Our saint John Paul II enkindled this passion for becoming holy as in his pontificate, he canonized 482 saints— more than all popes of the previous 500 years combined — and beatified 1,341 men and women,” like Padre Pio, Maximilian Kolbe, Edith Stein, Faustina Kowalska, and Katherine Drexel. Pope Francis with his Apostolic Exhortation Rejoice and Be Glad calls us that we need not to think only those holy men and women already glorified on the altar. The sanctity has been poured abundantly by the Holy Spirit upon God’s people because God is pleased to make people holy and saved them.
Indeed, as Pope Francis explains, God draws us to himself, taking into account the complex fabric of interpersonal relationships present in a human community in those parents who raise their children with immense love, in those men and women who work hard to support their families, in the sick, in elderly religious who never lose their smile. In their daily perseverance I see the holiness of the Church militant. Very often it is a holiness found in our next-door neighbours,those who, living in our midst, reflect God’s presence. We might call them “the middle class of holiness”
This is the ultimate goal of all Salesian spirituality. It is also the way we spread it out through our mission of education and evangelization.
Then each day, we have to ask ourselves: what is or what are my duties so that I can become holy in fulfilling them. And whether I can fulfill them in joy, in happiness or in sadness?
Reading the lives of our Salesian saints and blessed, venerable, servants of God, we find out two common traits: love for God and loving kindness to others, beginning from those with whom we are living or to whom we are sent to serve. Loving for God and loving kindness to others in our whole day, whether we are in chapel, on the playground, in prayer moments or we are teaching in class, serving in the office, company, or with community or family chores.
Dear Superiors, confreres and members of Salesian Family and friends,
I wish you a fruitful month of growing in sanctity in accord with our Salesian spirituality, contributing to the Church garden with our flowers of holiness. May God bless you all.
Fr. Joseph Nguyen Thinh Phuoc, SDB
EAO Regional Councillor