Vol 9 Issue 5 ~ Editor: Rev. Fr. Courtney Edward Krier
January 30, 2015 ~ St Martina, opn!
1. Baptism: Means of Salvation (53)
2. Sexagesima Sunday
3. Saint Don Bosco
4. Christ in the Home (28)
5. Articles and notices
February 2 properly ends the Christmas season even though the pre-Lenten Masses have begun. The tradition of blessing the Candles and the Procession remind us that Christ, the Light of the World, enters into His Temple. The Churching of women after childbirth has some semblance with Mary presenting the Christ child and is an opportunity for the mothers to receive a blessing and implore God’s help as they take on the task of forming the child God gave them into a saint.
As always, enjoy the readings and commentaries provided for your benefit.—The Editor
Means of Salvation
Sacrament of Baptism
Saint Thomas Aquinas
After Saint Thomas has considered the manner of baptism, he proceeds to the minister of the sacrament of Baptism (III, 67). Since someone is administering a sacrament of Christ, to Thomas it would seem that the minister should in some way be associated with Christ. Thomas sets forth that the sacraments should proceed from the Apostles as the ones associated with Christ, and so also their successors the bishops. When it comes to others they receive that association through assisting the Apostles in fulfilling the command, be it through Holy Orders (Deacon and Priest) or a lay person. But the responsibility (or right) to baptize is outside of the deacon’s and laity’s role. The priest is an extension of the bishop and is sent (missio) by the bishop to fulfil the apostolic mission the bishop possesses as successor to the Apostles. The deacon is merely an assistant to the bishop or priest and has no mission. Therefore, a deacon cannot administer the sacraments unless he is assisting the bishop or priest, which means he cannot, of his own initiative, administer the sacraments—even when asked by one seeking the sacraments. Therefore, to the claim that it is part of a deacon’s duty to baptize, Thomas Aquinas replies:
Pope Gelasius I says (the passage is to be found in the Decrees, dist. 93): “We order the deacons to keep within their own province”; and further on: “Without bishop or priest they must not dare to baptize, except in cases of extreme urgency, when the aforesaid are a long way off.”
. . . Just as the properties and duties of the heavenly orders are gathered from their names, as Dionysius says (Coel. Hier. vi), so can we gather, from the names of the ecclesiastical orders, what belongs to each order. Now “deacons” are so called from being “ministers”; because, to wit, it is not in the deacon’s province to be the chief and official celebrant in conferring a sacrament, but to minister to others, his elders, in the sacramental dispensations. And so it does not belong to a deacon to confer the sacrament of Baptism officially as it were; but to assist and serve his elders in the bestowal of this and other sacraments. Hence Isidore says (Epist. ad Ludifred.): “It is a deacon’s duty to assist and serve the priests, in all the rites of Christ’s sacraments, viz. those of Baptism, of the Chrism, of the Paten and Chalice.” (Art. 1)
But as to that of a priest baptizing, he asks whether it is part of the priestly office, or proper to that of bishops and then states:
Isidore says (De Officiis. ii): “It is certain that Baptism was entrusted to priests alone.”
. . . Priests are consecrated for the purpose of celebrating the sacrament of Christ’s Body, as stated above (Question 65, Article 3). Now that is the sacrament of ecclesiastical unity, according to the Apostle (1 Corinthians 10:17): “We, being many, are one bread, one body, all that partake of one bread and one chalice.” Moreover, by Baptism a man becomes a participator in ecclesiastical unity, wherefore also he receives the right to approach our Lord’s Table. Consequently, just as it belongs to a priest to consecrate the Eucharist, which is the principal purpose of the priesthood, so it is the proper office of a priest to baptize: since it seems to belong to one and the same, to produce the whole and to dispose the part in the whole.
And he supports this from Scripture:
. . . Christ committed to them the duty of teaching, that they might exercise it themselves as being the most important duty of all: wherefore the apostles themselves said (Acts 6:2): “It is not reason that we should leave the word of God and serve tables.” On the other hand, He entrusted the apostles with the office of baptizing, to be exercised vicariously; wherefore the Apostle says (1 Corinthians 1:17): “Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel.” And the reason for this was that the merit and wisdom of the minister have no bearing on the baptismal effect, as they have in teaching, as may be seen from what we have stated above (64, 1, ad 2; 5,9). A proof of this is found also in the fact that our Lord Himself did not baptize, but His disciples, as John relates (4:2). Nor does it follow from this that bishops cannot baptize; since what a lower power can do, that can also a higher power. Wherefore also the Apostle says (1 Corinthians 1:14-16) that he had baptized some. (Art. 2)
Then comes the question, whether a layman can baptize? Taking the correlation of the universality of water, which is the matter, Saint Thomas replies that there must correspond a universality of minister of that water, being so necessary to salvation and instructs:
. . . Pope Gelasius I and Isidore say that “it is often permissible for Christian laymen to baptize, in cases of urgent necessity.”
. . . It is due to the mercy of Him “Who will have all men to be saved” (1 Timothy 2:4) that in those things which are necessary for salvation, man can easily find the remedy. Now the most necessary among all the sacraments is Baptism, which is man’s regeneration unto spiritual life: since for children there is no substitute, while adults cannot otherwise than by Baptism receive a full remission both of guilt and of its punishment. Consequently, lest man should have to go without so necessary a remedy, it was ordained, both that the matter of Baptism should be something common that is easily obtainable by all, i.e. water; and that the minister of Baptism should be anyone, even not in orders, lest from lack of being baptized, man should suffer loss of his salvation. (Art. 3)
But he does not fail to provide this admonition: [I]f a layman were to baptize . . . outside a case of urgency he would sin, yet he would confer the sacrament; nor would the person thus baptized have to be baptized again. (Ibid.)
For the same reason a layman may baptize in urgency, also a woman can baptize as Pope Urban II says (Decreta xxx): “In reply to the questions asked by your beatitude, we consider that the following answer should be given: that the baptism is valid when, in cases of necessity, a woman baptizes a child in the name of the Trinity.”
And in explaining why, Thomas gives the following reason:
Christ is the chief Baptizer, according to John 1:33: “He upon Whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, He it is that baptizeth.” For it is written in Colossians 3 (cf. Galatians 3:28), that in Christ there is neither male nor female. Consequently, just as a layman can baptize, as Christ’s minister, so can a woman. But since “the head of the woman is the man,” and “the head of . . . man, is Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:3), a woman should not baptize if a man be available for the purpose; just as neither should a layman in the presence of a cleric, nor a cleric in the presence of a priest. The last, however, can baptize in the presence of a bishop, because it is part of the priestly office. (Art. 4)
In the same argument, but extending it to the teaching of the Church that in baptism Christ uses anyone who baptizes in His Name (with the proper form) to confer the remission of sin (Original and actual if present and one is properly disposed) through the laver of water (cf. Eph. 5:36 and Titus 3:5), Saint Thomas gives this answer to one who denies one that is not baptized can confer the sacrament of Baptism:
. . . Isidore says: “The Roman Pontiff does not consider it to be the man who baptizes, but that the Holy Ghost confers the grace of Baptism, though he that baptizes be a pagan.” But he who is baptized, is not called a pagan. Therefore he who is not baptized can confer the sacrament of Baptism.
The man who baptizes offers but his outward ministration; whereas Christ it is Who baptizes inwardly, Who can use all men to whatever purpose He wills. Consequently, the unbaptized can baptize: because, as Pope Nicolas I says, “the Baptism is not theirs,” i.e. the baptizers’, “but His,” i.e. Christ’s.
He who is not baptized, though he belongs not to the Church either in reality or sacramentally, can nevertheless belong to her in intention and by similarity of action, namely, in so far as he intends to do what the Church does, and in baptizing observes the Church’s form, and thus acts as the minister of Christ, Who did not confine His power to those that are baptized, as neither did He to the sacraments. (Art. 5)
The next topic does not seem to appear in any controversies within the Church prior to Saint Thomas—and of course his presentation of why it would not be valid settles the issue—yet it does point out that the minister must do the action and say the words in all the sacraments. Therefore, in the question, Whether several can baptize at the same time? Following Thomas, one must sense several concepts are being worked out:
Baptism is by Christ,
Baptism is one,
Baptism, therefore, is not a communal act.
Here is what he says
Where there is one agent there is one action. If, therefore, several were to baptize one, it seems to follow that there would be several baptisms: and this is contrary to Ephesians 4:5: “one Faith, one Baptism.”
. . . The Sacrament of Baptism derives its power principally from its form, which the Apostle calls “the word of life” (Ephesians 5:26). Consequently, if several were to baptize one at the same time, we must consider what form they would use. . .
. . . [B]y this form, “We baptize thee,” the intention expressed is that several concur in conferring one Baptism: and this seems contrary to the notion of a minister; for a man does not baptize save as a minister of Christ, and as standing in His place; wherefore just as there is one Christ, so should there be one minister to represent Christ. Hence the Apostle says pointedly (Ephesians 4:5): “one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism.” Consequently, an intention which is in opposition to this seems to annul the sacrament of Baptism.
On the other hand, if each were to say: “I baptize thee in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost,” each would signify his intention as though he were conferring Baptism independently of the other. . . (Art. 6)
He then explains that,
In a case of necessity one could baptize several at the same time under this form: “I baptize ye”: for instance, if they were threatened by a falling house, or by the sword or something of the kind, so as not to allow of the delay involved by baptizing them singly. Nor would this cause a change in the Church’s form, since the plural is nothing but the singular doubled: especially as we find the plural expressed in Matthew 28:19: “Baptizing them,” etc. Nor is there parity between the baptizer and the baptized; since Christ, the baptizer in chief, is one: while many are made one in Christ by Baptism. (Ibid.)
Which one reads was done by Saint Peter Claver who in his zeal for the salvation of the African slaves, would attempt to baptize whole ship loads of these sadly mistreated humans of whom the majority would die or never have a chance again to be baptized.
Finally, that Christ baptizes and the baptism is one is found in the unity of the person who both pours the water and says the words. Again, Saint Thomas:
. . . [T]he integrity of Baptism consists in the form of words and the use of the matter. Consequently, neither he who only pronounces the words, baptizes, nor he who dips. Wherefore if one pronounces the words and the other dips, no form of words can be fitting. For neither could he say: “I baptize thee”: since he dips not, and therefore baptizes not. Nor could they say: “We baptize thee”: since neither baptizes. . . . (Ibid.)
This should especially be considered when a minister stands over a pool or at the side of a river and says the words while assistants dunk a person in the water. Such a baptism would then be considered invalid.
As the baptism is administered, there has always been the custom of having sponsors (godparents) Since they are the ones holding the child at baptism and need to be held Saint Thomas takes the approach by considering adults who do not need to be held if it is necessary for someone to raise the baptized from the sacred font? He takes the words of Dionysius the Areopagite who says (Eccl. Hier. ii) the priests taking the baptized hand him over to his sponsor and guide. He then gives this explanation of the role of godparents:
. . . The spiritual regeneration, which takes place in Baptism, is in a certain manner likened to carnal generation: wherefore it is written (1 Peter 2:2): “As new-born babes, endowed with reason desire milk [Vulgate: ‘desire reasonable milk’] without guile.” Now, in carnal generation the new-born child needs nourishment and guidance: wherefore, in spiritual generation also, someone is needed to undertake the office of nurse and tutor by forming and instructing one who is yet a novice in the Faith, concerning things pertaining to Christian faith and mode of life, which the clergy have not the leisure to do through being busy with watching over the people generally: because little children and novices need more than ordinary care. Consequently someone is needed to receive the baptized from the sacred font as though for the purpose of instructing and guiding them. It is to this that Dionysius refers (Eccl. Hier. xi) saying: “It occurred to our heavenly guides,” i.e. the Apostles, “and they decided, that infants should be taken charge of thus: that the parents of the child should hand it over to some instructor versed in holy things, who would thenceforth take charge of the child, and be to it a spiritual father and a guide in the road of salvation.” (Art. 7)
Saint Thomas then proceeds to stress the obligation sponsors (godparents) have regarding the person they stood as sponsors for: He who raises anyone from the sacred font is bound to instruct him. He then begins by quoting Saint Augustine as follows: In the first place I admonish you, both men and women, who have raised children in Baptism, that ye stand before God as sureties for those whom you have been seen to raise from the sacred font. (Source unknown) After which he continues:
I answer that, Every man is bound to fulfil those duties which he has undertaken to perform. Now it has been stated above (Article 7) that godparents take upon themselves the duties of a tutor. Consequently they are bound to watch over their godchildren when there is need for them to do so: for instance when and where children are brought up among unbelievers. But if they are brought up among Catholic Christians, the godparents may well be excused from this responsibility, since it may be presumed that the children will be carefully instructed by their parents. If, however, they perceive in any way that the contrary is the case, they would be bound, as far as they are able, to see to the spiritual welfare of their godchildren.
. . . Where the danger is imminent [of losing the faith], the godparent, as Dionysius says (Eccl. Hier. vii), should be someone “versed in holy things.” But where the danger is not imminent, by reason of the children being brought up among Catholics, anyone is admitted to this position, because the things pertaining to the Christian rule of life and faith are known openly by all. Nevertheless an unbaptized person cannot be a godparent, as was decreed in the Council of Mainz, although an unbaptized person [can baptize]: because the person baptizing is essential to the sacrament, wherefore as the godparent is not, as stated above (7, ad 2). (Art. 8.)
In conclusion to this section, it is clear that the godparents are not baptizing, rather assume the obligation the baptized lives the Catholic faith they have received. Also, anyone can baptize as long that person intends what Christ intended even in a general sense, even though the one baptizing does not believe.
(To be continued)
Benedict Baur, O.S.B.
- “The sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it . . . . And they by the wayside are they that hear; then the devil cometh and taketh the word out of their heart” (Gospel). The devil removes the word from their heart by holding them bound by venial sins. By such sin the inspirations of grace are prevented from germinating and growing.
- Deliberate venial sin ruins the soil of the soul so that it cannot bring forth abundant fruit. Such sin does not separate the soul from God, but attaches itself like a dead weight to the soul and spirit, so that a man is hindered from living for God. Such a soul is like an eagle whose wings have been clipped. Venial sins show a neglect of God and a contempt for Him, even though such neglect and contempt are not directly intended. By such sins we set up our own will against the will of God for the sake of some desire, some need, some temporal advantage which we prefer to the command and will of God. We thereby reject the inspirations of grace by our venial sins. Then we return to seek an increase of grace and love. Will God again offer us the grace which we once rejected? Since we have already misused the grace He gave us, God is likely to be less prodigal with His grace, and we shall receive it less frequently and in smaller measure. We shall easily fall into new faults, and thus the will becomes accustomed to giving way to venial sin. Our mental powers will be darkened; our faith will be weakened; the soul will become indifferent. If we are not on our guard and if we do not make strenuous efforts at the first sign of unfaithfulness, we are in danger of becoming spiritually blind and hardened. “And as he sowed. some fell by the wayside; and it was trodden down.”
Our ruin is completed by habitual venial sin. There are many pious people who murmur and criticize others and never make an effort to cure this fault, never strive earnestly against it, and never feel sorrow for having given way to it. They are disobedient in little things, impatient and uncharitable in their thoughts and in their dealings with others, untruthful in speech, lazy and indolent in their religious duties, unmortified and insolent in speech. They treat lightly the good name and the good works of others, and are not always honest in their dealings with others. They know that they have these faults and bemoan them, but they are not really sorry for them, nor do they make use of the proper means for correcting them. They are not convinced that each of these faults and imperfections is a millstone about their neck which drags them ever downward. They do not consider that they began to fall into these faults by allowing their thoughts to become worldly. They do not remember that they began by neglecting and misusing the grace that was given them. The seed that was sown was good seed, but it fell by the wayside. “I would thou wert cold or hot. But because thou art lukewarm . . . I will begin to vomit thee out of My mouth” (Apoc. 3: 16). Such is the fate of those who are indifferent to venial sin.
The seed fell by the wayside and on stony ground. How can it strike roots in such soil? How can grace produce fruit in a soul that is given up to habitual venial sin, that is overcome by sleep and indifference, and abuses grace? How can the seed bring forth fruit in such a soul? How can grace be fruitful in a soul that scarcely ever prays, that is entirely occupied with creatures, and that withstands the Holy Spirit?
- “Arise, why sleepest Thou, O Lord? Arise and cast us not off to the end . . . . Our belly hath cleaved to the earth. Arise, O Lord, help us and deliver us” from the evil of habitual venial sin (Introit). Who can deliver us once we have become victims of this baneful vice? Only the mercy of God. But what if the mercy of God should be inclined to vomit us out of its mouth? We may be sure that during the holy season of Lent, God will show His mercy.
What should our lives as Christians be if not a life of living submission to God through Christ Jesus? But how is this possible when even those who are priests and religious consecrated to God continue to oppose God, trifle with the things that are displeasing to Him, and thus place themselves in danger of turning their back on Him entirely? It is high time that we break away completely from venial sin.
Thou hast moved the earth, O Lord, and hast troubled it. Heal Thou the breaches thereof, for it has been moved, that they may flee from before the bow, that Thy elect may be delivered. (Tract.)
Deliver us from the bonds of venial sin. Amen.
The good soil
- Today we listen with astonishment as the words pour forth from the mouth of the apostle Paul telling of the wonderful fruit borne by the seed the Lord placed in his soul on the way to Damascus. “But that [which fell] on the good ground are they who in a good and perfect heart, hearing the word, keep it and bring forth fruit in patience” (Gospel). St. Paul received the word of God into his heart, nourished it with grace, and brought forth fruit in patience.
- “The sower went out to sow his seed” (Gospel). “Saul, as yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of Christ,” set out from Jerusalem to Damascus with the intention of bringing the disciples back to Jerusalem in chains. His heart was fixed with zeal for the Law and for the religion of his fathers, and in this heart God sowed the seed of His word. “And suddenly a light from heaven shined round about him. And falling on the ground, he heard a voice saying to him: Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me? Who said: who art Thou, Lord? And He: I am Jesus, whom thou persecutest. It is hard for thee to kick against the goad. And he, trembling and astonished, said: Lord what wilt Thou have me to do? And the Lord said to him: Arise and go into the city, and there it shall be told thee what thou must do” (Acts 9:3-7). The seed has been sown. Saul received it willingly “Lord what wilt Thou have me to do?” He does as he has been directed, and enters the city. He remains there waiting patiently in his blindness, without eating or drinking. He prays and abandons himself entirely to the direction of Ananias, who restores his vision and baptizes him.
He retires to solitude and to prayer that the seed may take root deeply in his soul. It springs up vigorously, and Saul becomes Paul. From that moment on he is obsessed by one idea: Christ, His Church, and the salvation of souls. “Forgetting the things that are behind” (Phil. 3:13), he now knows only Christ and Him crucified. “For to me, to live is Christ; and to die is gain …. But I am straightened between two: having a desire to be dissolved and to be with Christ, a thing by far the better” (Phil. 1:21,23).
A soul so fully occupied with Christ, so full of zeal for the salvation of souls and the welfare of the Church, a soul that has broken with all that is not of Christ, is certainly good soil. We need not wonder, then, that St. Paul’s life and labors were so marvelously fruitful and that he bore suffering and trials with such heroism. Neither are we surprised that he so soon reached such sublime heights of prayer and contemplation that he was “caught up to the third heaven” (Epistle). “But that [which fell] on the good ground are they who in a good and perfect heart, hearing the word, keep it and bring forth fruit in patience.”
“In a good and perfect heart.” We have received the word of God, and we shall continue to receive it. But shall we continue to preserve it in a perfect heart? Shall we receive it and protect and nourish it as St. Paul did? Why do we not experience a growth in holiness such as Paul experienced? There are three things that interfere with our growth in holiness. “Some fell by the wayside,” in a soul distracted and dissipated by idle fancies and futile plans. Such a soul is barren of spiritual fruit, because it must investigate every new face that appears, read every item in the papers, and know and listen to everything that goes on about it. Its energies are dissipated by the pursuit of temporal things and has no time for God, for prayer, or meditation. It walks so much in the world that it has no time to walk with God.
“Some other fell upon a rock.” This is the timid or selfish soul that shrinks from any sacrifice. It may be pious and religious, but as soon as it is called upon to undergo hardships or temptation, it renounces the word for its own peace and comfort “And some fell among thorns.” These souls receive the word of God, and by the grace of God are determined to become pious and virtuous. In spite of their good resolutions, however, they allow bad habits. and unmortified passions to grow up in their hearts. They retain a passionate attachment to their worldly goods, to the comforts of life, to the esteem of their fellow men, to their profession, their studies, and their hobbies. They insist on their own will, they fail to improve their traits of character, they insist on their own opinions, and waste much time and effort pampering their bodies and providing for their own comfort.
- Today we are assembled at the tomb of St. Paul. We feel ourselves united with him, and as we gather in his church today, we long to be filled with his strength and his spirit. Oh, that like him we might prove good ground, in which Christ, the divine husbandman, sows the seed so abundantly!
We will have to improve ourselves in many ways if the seed is to bring forth fruit in our souls. We must remove all that can prevent or impair the work of grace in our hearts. Indifference, lukewarmness, and attachment to the world must go. Above all, we must cast off all ill-regulated attachments and unbecoming activities. Then only can Christ become our all, and then only can we truly say with St. Paul, “the love of Christ impels us” (II Cor. 5: 14). If we are impelled by such love we are good ground and we will bear fruit.
Today, as we gather to celebrate the holy mysteries, we place our petitions on the paten and beg God, for the sake of Christ’s offering, to give us the strength to renounce perfectly everything that would hinder the growth of His grace in our soul.
We humbly beseech Thee, O almighty God, that we may be enlightened by Thy grace, that we may know what we must do, and do what is right. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
St. John Bosco, Confessor
- On Easter Sunday, April 1, 1934, Pope Pius XI canonized Don John Bosco, to the great delight of Catholics all over the world. And there was reason for his popularity: He had been a savior of boys. As a boy himself, he had been a barefoot cowherd; as a priest, he used to mend the clothes of his boys. Born in the village of Becchi, in Italy, August 16, 1815, he was only two years old when his father died. His mother, a deeply religious woman, took care to train her children in Christian living. When John was ten, he had a dream in which he saw Christ bringing to him a group of disorderly, cursing boys who quickly became transformed into meek lambs and followed Christ and His Blessed Mother. Then he heard our Lord tell him that this scene indicated his future field of priestly labor.
Beginning December 8, 1841, in Turin, John Bosco became the apostle of neglected boys. They used to say: “He is good to us; he would like to cut us down from the gallows.” After much labor and in spite of suspicions and persecutions from all quarters, he acquired the necessary buildings and started the Institute of the Salesians, named for St. Francis de Sales. The new society received ecclesiastical approbation in 1869. Eventually, he affiliated with the Salesians the Institute of the Daughters of Mary, the Sons of Mary for belated vocations, and the pious Society of Salesian Auxiliaries, all lay people under the direction of their respective pastors. Don Bosco was a man of faith, of confidence in God, and he burned with a self-immolating love that transformed everything in its path. He used to say: “If only we could embrace the whole world with our love in order to bring it to God and the Church! Seek first the kingdom of God. May the will of God be done!”
- “God gave him wisdom and great discernment, and gave him a heart as wide as the sea shore” (Introit; cf. III Kings 4:29). Here, the Church applies to St. John what Scripture says about Solomon. Certainly, God had given him wisdom and understanding that would have made him a great success in the world. In school, he had completed the work of three grades in one year; as he advanced, he took up Latin and Italian literature privately; he became proficient as a carpenter, a shoemaker, a confectioner, and a cook. Gifted as he was, both intellectually and physically, Bosco could have succeeded at whatever work he chose. But his one ardent ambition, on becoming a priest, was to live among the poor, and to sacrifice himself in humble, willing service for homeless boys. He devoted all his rare gifts and energies to the poorest class of boys, becoming to them father, mother, brother, friend, servant, companion-all for love of Christ and for the salvation of their souls. From his profound, living faith flowed tender love and superhuman patience that led his charges to goodness and to Christ.
His remarkable success induced the Pope to offer him an honor. “Holy Father,” he replied, “what a figure I would cut as a monsignor among my boys! They would not even recognize me; they would lack complete confidence in me if they had to address me with a title. It will be better if I remain simply poor John Bosco.” Some people considered him unbalanced; all saw that he had a gift of powerful love and unusual supernatural wisdom, drawn from Christ by his unquestioning faith. His success was a triumph of love in a world that was accustomed to yielding only to force and brutality. He admirably exemplified the words of our Lord: “Unless you become like little children again, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Gospel).
“Be content to trust in the Lord and do good; live on thy land with its riches to sustain thee. Fix all thy longing in the Lord, he will give thee what thy heart desires; commit thy life to the Lord and trust in Him, he will prosper thee. “The poor and the helpless shall exalt thy name” (Gradual and Alleluia verse). Don Bosco was always poor, and yet he was always undertaking new projects, building churches and institutions, and taking in more boys, not only in Turin but all over Italy, in Europe, and even beyond the ocean. He knew the power of sincere trust in God; he understood the promise, “Hope in the Lord and He will accomplish all.” And God rewarded his confidence with numberless miracles. “Nothing must make you anxious; in every need make your requests known to God, praying and beseeching him, and giving him thanks as well. So may the peace of God, which surpasses all our thinking, watch over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” In these words, the Epistle describes St. John. The Communion antiphon applies to him the words of the Apostle concerning Abraham; “Abraham, then, believed, hoping against hope; and thus became the father of many nations” (Rom. 4:18). Bosco was eminently a man of faith. His entire life, full of activity, labor, and blessings was a commentary on trust in divine providence. Still, the Saint used to say: “How much God has done through us! But how much more He would have done if my faith had been stronger.” And in that conviction lay the secret of his marvelous success and his sanctity.
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