Those Most in Need of God's Mercy
Saint John Bosco (1815-1888), whose feast we celebrate on Jan. 31, is a model for the New Evangelization. He began his work in Italy, going out to the streets and the shops to find homeless and neglected boys. He would gather them together for prayer and play, for formation into Catholics on their way to holiness. He went out to the margins where people fall through the cracks and are ignored or forgotten.
He went out, as Pope Francis is calling us all to go out, as St. John Paul II called us to do before him.
"Put out into the deep!" cried the Polish pope.
"A poor Church for the poor!" says the Argentinian pontiff.
And in between, we saw Pope Benedict XVI, quietly, humbly, consistently teaching the faith.
We have been given witnesses, models, examples in our own lifetimes, in our present age, of what to do and how to do it. Proclaim the mercy of God by your words and your lives! Bring the message of Divine Mercy, woven through the Scriptures and the whole life of the Church, to all the world. Proclaim the Gospel of the Lord, even to those whose ears are weary of hearing it, even to those whose backs are breaking beneath the weight of their crosses, even to the West, vaccinated against the fullness of the faith by its belief that it knows what and who it rejects.
Believe! Go thou and do likewise. Learn the faith; live the faith; spread the faith. By your prayers and good works, ease the suffering of those bending to the ground beneath their sorrows. Lend a shoulder to the crosses of your neighbors and friends. Be the saints of the present age whose lives shine in the midst of the growing darkness, who can shock the West out of its complacency and, by sheer magnetic force of sanctity, attract it to the embrace of God again.
As St. John Bosco attracted the poor and the criminal of Italy's youth to Jesus, so then let us take the fire of the Holy Spirit out to the nations. Let us help Christ set all afire with the life and love of God.
Let us ask St. John Bosco's intercession, that we may be fully converted, allowing God's mercy to transform us into all we were meant to be. Let us trust in St. John Bosco's prayers, that we may be fully consecrated to Jesus through Mary in every part of our lives, thus consoling the Heart of Jesus and taking up our place with the One God who is Three, then going out to the world to live mercy and give mercy to all.
Father Dan Cambra, MIC, shares more on St. John Bosco: