Spiritual Talk
 
 
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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. John Bosco (62)

By 1879, St. John Bosco was growing old and began thinking of appointing his successor as superior of the Salesian Order. He frankly consulted Fr. Giovanni Cagliero, saying, “I think there are three probable candidates.” Fr. Cagliero replied, “As of now, there’s only one – Fr. Rua.” Thankful for the advice, Fr. Bosco appointed Fr. Michele Rua his successor. That December, Fr. Cagliero was consecrated in Turin as a bishop to South America, and purposely sought ought Fr. Bosco to be the first to kiss his bishop’s ring. In 1887, Fr. Bosco celebrated Mass at the newly-consecrated Basilica of Our Lady Help of Christians in Turin; he cried many tears, saying afterwards that he recalled a childhood vision of Mary. Now, he knew that all his work to save souls was worth it. In September, he became sick, and even as visitors came to comfort him, he would still comfort them in return. When his health declined further, Fr. Cagliero returned from South America to visit, and during their visit, Fr. Bosco told him, “Tell the Salesians to work diligently and joyfully, to love each other like brothers.” In 1888, he said, “Tell my children that I will await them in heaven.” In January 31, he passed away in the company of his spiritual children. But even after death, he continues to work, working miracles and interceding for the living – a true spiritual father.
Publish date: 2017 - 11 - 18


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. John Bosco (60)

Many miracles occurred in St. John Bosco’s life. Once, a 16-year-old boy named Francisco entered the Oratory, but after a few days, tired of the simple food, told his mother he wanted to go home. Then, he witnessed a miracle—with only 15 to 20 loaves of bread, St. John Bosco fed the entire Oratory of 400 boys—and he told his mother, “Mother, I am sorry you had to needlessly come to Turin. But I have witnessed a miracle here, and I cannot leave a place so blessed by God.” He later became a Salesian priest. St. John Bosco had long prayed to the Virgin Mary for the gift of giving guidance to others. Because of this, he would frequently give helpful words of caution to his students. He would tell them to avoid obsessing over worldly things and focus on heavenly things. In doing so, he met their spiritual needs and brought them closer to God.
Publish date: 2017 - 11 - 4


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. John Bosco (58)

Once, St. John Bosco had a dream. In it, the students of his Oratory were dining in three levels: a few students dined miserably on the floor, most of the students dined at tables set with tablecloths and cutlery, and only very few students dined from on high with exquisite food and joyful sharing. He recognized his students and understood that the lowest level were in grave sin, the middle level were those who had repented, and the highest level had never lost their baptismal purity. On awaking, he encouraged those in grave sin, although unable to reach the highest level, to repent and be saved. St. John Bosco had another dream of the Devil ensnaring souls with sins. But beside each trap, God’s providential hand would place helpful weapons. The two biggest were meditation and spiritual reading, the two swords were adoring the Eucharist and venerating Mary, the axe was Confession, and the assorted knives were venerating the saints. He also had a third dream that the Church would face rough seas of sin and conflict but a Pope would guide its ship between the two columns of the Eucharist and Mary.
Publish date: 2017 - 10 - 21


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. Dominic Savio

St. Dominic Savio was a holy student of St. John Bosco. When a classmate refused to pray in the cold chapel, he gave him his coat. Another time, a stranger visited the Oratory’s students and interspersed his jokes with criticisms of Catholicism. When Dominic found out, he got the students to walk out, saying, “This sinful man is trying to destroy our souls.” Another time, one of the students shared an impure newspaper, so Dominic angrily ripped it up and said, “Have you forgotten? Jesus said even one impure look can damage our souls!” The boy protested, “We’re just playing.” Dominic said, “We’ll see if you’ll still have fun in hell!” In 1856, John Bosco’s mother Margherita passed away and appeared singing to him in his dreams, saying, “I’m awaiting you, we must be together.” And a year later, Dominic fell sick and died, later appearing to his father asking for prayers.
Publish date: 2017 - 10 - 7


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. John Bosco (55)

St. John Bosco founded the Salesian Order, dedicated to educating youths. One of his more well-known students was St. Dominic Savio. On the day of his First Communion, he made four vows: (1) to diligently receive the Sacraments; (2) to sanctify Sundays and holy days; (3) to befriend Jesus and Mary; and (4) to rather die than sin. Everyday, the 14 year-old boy had to walk 12 miles to school but he never felt tired, for he believed that “God my master rewards me richly.” Once, Dominic’s classmate committed a serious sin and framed Dominic. He was silent throughout and when the truth came to light later, he said, “I know he only accused me because he had other troubles. I hoped to give him another chance.” Once, Dominic asked St. John Bosco to let him study in Turin, saying, “Taylor me into a fitting garment for Christ!” Another time, St. John Bosco preached about the universal call to saintliness, instilling in Dominic the need to always rejoice in God.
Publish date: 2017 - 9 - 23


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. John Bosco (54)

In 1853, St. John Bosco started a workshop for the Oratory’s children to provide them wholesome work and to fulfill the Oratory’s needs. He started a press called Catholic Readings to print apologetics, which angered many anti-Catholics. One day, two men approached him and offered him 1000 lira to publish history books instead. He refused, asking, “If my work is so useless, why do you offer me so much money? As a priest, I work for the good of the Church, the good of the poor. I must continue.” Afterwards, many assassination attempts were made on his life. People poisoned his Communion wine and a woman attacked him with a chair after pretending to be deathly ill. John Bosco befriended a dog called Grigio who never ate and always protected him. Once, a sniper lay in wait for John Bosco, and the dog saved his life by preventing him from leaving the house. Perhaps the dog was his guardian angel sent to protect him.
Publish date: 2017 - 9 - 16


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. John Bosco (53)

St. John Bosco’s mother Margherita was a holy woman who is currently being investigated for sainthood. Born poor, she lived as a poor woman all her life. John Bosco could not bear seeing his mother dress so poorly, so he gave her 20 lira to buy new clothes. But upon receiving the money, she met some poor children and used up the money to buy them clothes instead. She exemplified spiritual poverty and frequented daily Mass, praying before Jesus in the tabernacle, often giving guidance to the Oratory’s children in between her prayers. But one time, the children ruined her fruit orchard after playing war games. Unable to bear the boys’ misbehaviour, she asked her son to bring her back to Becchi. John Bosco merely pointed to the crucifix on the wall; a tear fell from her cheek and she said, “You are right”. She took up her apron and continued to work.
Publish date: 2017 - 9 - 9


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. John Bosco (52)

In 1849, St. John Bosco performed two miracles. In the first, 15-year-old Charles insisted on having Fr. Bosco listen to his Confession and refused any other priest. When Fr. Bosco returned, the boy had already died, but the priest called his name. The boy opened his eyes and told him he had dreamt he was in a dark and narrow cave where many souls were sent to hell. He was terrified, because in thinking he could only confess properly to Fr. Bosco, he had not confessed a grave sin. Immediately, he confessed his sins to Fr. Bosco, who said, “By God’s grace, the gates of heaven are open to you. Do you want to go to heaven, or stay with us?” “Heaven,” the boy replied. “Very well,” said the priest, “we will meet again in heaven.” The boy closed his eyes, and passed away. In the second miracle, Fr. Bosco brought the Oratory’s 600 children out and promised them chestnuts. With only three baskets, he miraculously managed to feed all the children. The children realized this and shouted, “Fr. Bosco is a saint!”
Publish date: 2017 - 9 - 2


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. John Bosco (51)

Although the Oratory was beset by conflict, St. John Bosco was comforted by God. Once, he had insufficient Eucharists in the tabernacle for 600 children at Mass. He prayed to God, distributed the Eucharist without breaking it, and all the children received. Fifteen years later, on being asked about this, he confirmed, “Yes, this was a miracle from Jesus teaching us the importance of receiving the Eucharist.” Yet, this moved him less than consecrating the Body of Christ at every Mass. Another time, he preached on listening to the Word of God in a public square. Some youths noisily tried to disrupt the preaching, so John Bosco said to them, “If you became blind, would you listen to the Word of God?” One boy retorted, “Speech is easy, but action is hard.” Suddenly, he was struck blind and John Bosco told him to pray the Act of Contrition and go to Confession to be healed. When the boy did so, his blindness was lifted. John Bosco used his gift of miracles to bring people to repentance and a closer relationship to Christ in the Eucharist.
Publish date: 2017 - 8 - 26


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. John Bosco (50)

By 1847, St. John Bosco’s Oratory had grown to 800 people, and there was no more room to contain them. Like bees, St. John Bosco said, they must start a new home elsewhere. This new home was the St. Louis Oratory at the south side of Turin, which would be led by John Bosco’s assistant, Fr. Paolo. The name honoured St. Louis (an exemplar of purity for boys) and showed thanks to the support of the archbishop Louis of Turin. The next year, 1848, was a year of political turmoil in Italy and many of the Oratory’s priests tried to indoctrinate the youths with political ideas. But John Bosco was against the youths participating in political demonstrations and would not allow the Oratory to turn into a political organization. Some of his assistant priests disagreed and convinced many youths to stop attending the liturgies. Eventually, many of the rebellious youths and assistant priests repented and John Bosco welcomed them back. John Bosco stuck to his principles and kept the Oratory true to its mission.
Publish date: 2017 - 8 - 19


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. John Bosco (49)

Helen is a fervent catholic. She studied in Catholic school, but was only baptized 22 years ago. The night when she was baptized, her husband died at the age of 46 because of lung cancer. Next day her 10 years old son told her he dreamt his father had gone to heaven. Two months later, during mass she heard Holy Spirit talked to her, saying that God loves her so much and wants to give her a chance to be a good mother, bringing up her two kids. She really went through a lot of difficulties, but with the help of God and Our Lady, she learned how to communicate with others, forgiveness, to be a good catholic, so that people can see the presence of God.
Publish date: 2017 - 8 - 12


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. John Bosco (48)

St. John Bosco rested for a few months at his hometown after falling ill from overwork at the Oratory. He was told only to return after a year to prevent a relapse into sickness. Eventually, he returned after agreeing to reduce his workload. But after seeing his fellow priests struggling with their work, he returned to his old workload. He rented a few rooms near the Oratory as a refuge to live with abandoned children and his mother, Margherita. He was initially hesitant to move his elderly mother, but she replied, “If you feel it is the will of God, I am willing.” While mother and son were moving in, their singing was overheard, and news of John Bosco’s return spread among the Oratory’s children, who were overjoyed. Although initially hesitant, Margherita also sold her land and dowry to fund the Oratory, joyfully offering them to God and the impoverished children.
Publish date: 2017 - 8 - 5