Spiritual Talk
 
 
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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


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. John Bosco (47)

St. John Bosco recovered from his illness after he prayed for his own recovery, as his friend Fr. Paolo instructed. He returned to his hometown of Becchi to convalesce and Fr. Paolo took his place leading the Oratory. But there was so much work that eventually he needed 5 or 6 priests to barely manage John Bosco’s work. Fr. Paolo took good care of the Oratory’s children, but they grew impatient and journeyed 20 miles to visit him. They had another motive too – they were jealous that John Bosco was growing close to Becchi’s children and worried he would start an Oratory there instead. One child told him, “If you don’t return to Turin, we will move the whole Oratory to Becchi.” But John Bosco replied, “My children, if you behave well and continue to pray for me, I will return before the autumn leaves fall.”
Publish date: 2017 - 7 - 29


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. John Bosco (46)

St. John Bosco was close to dying; his friend Fr. Paolo visited him, and since the Oratory’s children were already praying for his recovery, he wanted John Bosco to pray for his own healing. John Bosco, though, was prepared for death and replied, “I am willing to carry out the will of God” Fr. Paolo then told him to pray, “Lord, if it pleases You, give me healing.” John Bosco initially refused, but in order to prevent Fr. Paolo further anguish, complied in a soft voice. John Bosco fell asleep and the next morning was healed. He visited the jubilant children of the Oratory and told them, “My dear children, thank you for your devotion and prayers. This time, because of your tears, God has saved my life. But one day, we will all die, so work hard and be gathered into heaven, where there is no death, no pain, no tears.” A priest congratulated him on escaping death, but John Bosco said, “I had already prepared for heaven, but now who knows?” Forty years later, the priest reminded him of his words again, saying, “Look at how many great works you have done since! Oratory, convent, school, missionaries – they would not exist had you died.” John Bosco said, “You are wrong – they would still be done. These are all the works of God our Creator.”
Publish date: 2017 - 7 - 22


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. John Bosco (45)

St. John Bosco worked tirelessly for the Oratory, until one day he collapsed on the floor. He had contracted tracheitis and, within eight days, was approaching death. Although he was prepared for death, he was sad to leave this world and the Oratory’s children – his only consolation was the knowledge that he had left the Oratory well-formed. Hearing the news, the Oratory’s children made every effort to visit him. But the nurse rejected their requests, saying that bringing him excessive excitement would worsen his condition. Many people were moved on seeing the children and said, “See how much these children loved him!” Unable to see their beloved priest, the children attended Mass together to pray for his speedy recovery. But John Bosco’s condition did not improve, so the children promised God to pray fifteen decades of the Rosary for a month, a year, even a lifetime, and to eat only bread and water for several months each year. Even some masons, despite their gruelling workload, fasted and went to church to pray for John Bosco as well. In the end, God answered their prayers and John Bosco recovered, resuming his role as spiritual father to the Oratory’s children.
Publish date: 2017 - 7 - 15


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. John Bosco (43)

St. John Bosco’s Oratory grew larger and larger, until its members numbered over 700 and would spill outside the chapel during the Mass. When John Bosco played with the children, he would also instill spiritual values – by inviting them to Confession, warning them against going to bad places, or dissuade them for swearing. Most children obeyed but some children needed special methods to bring to God. There was a 17-year-old youth who would always find excuses to not go to Confession. One day, John Bosco asked him for help with an important matter at the chapel. Thinking that he needed help with moving things, the young man agreed. But when the young man started to move a kneeler, John Bosco told him instead to kneel on it and prepare for Confession. The young man complained he was not ready, so John Bosco told him he had ample time to prepare. The young man relented, admitting that he had been previously avoided Confession for fear of being laughed at. When the young man confessed, he realized that Confession was not so hard after all, and emerged jubilant. From then on, he frequented Confession and promoted the sacrament to others. John Bosco was not afraid to step out and help youths grow closer to God.
Publish date: 2017 - 7 - 1


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. John Bosco (42)

Every Sunday, St. John Bosco ran an Oratory for children but as the number of children increased, more people complained about the noise they created. One day, they were expelled from their usual meeting place. They had no other place to meet, so together they asked the Virgin Mary for one. God often gives big trials before he gives big graces. So after they had prayed all day without any response, a man approached them and told John Bosco that he knew of a meeting place up for rent. Another priest then arrived so John Bosco left the children in his care while he went to inspect the offered place. He saw it was suitable for his Oratory and agreed to rent it. The next week, the Oratory resumed and they held liturgies there, the Mass, lessons, games, catechesis, prayed the Rosary, and sang hymns. St. John Bosco played games with the children but amidst the fun would always encourage them to be good Christians.
Publish date: 2017 - 6 - 24


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. John Bosco (41)

St. John Bosco’s mission was to the youth and he had many grand plans for starting an order of missionaries and teaching clergy. But his ambitions made many people suspect he was mentally insane. Two priests were worried about his sanity, so they planned to move him into a mental institution in a carriage with doors locked from the outside. John Bosco already ascertained their plan and, insisting that the older priests enter the carriage before him, locked the doors on them and told the driver to proceed to the mental institution. When the carriage arrived, the nurses found the two priests angrily demanding they be freed. But the nurses refused until the priests’ superior returned in the evening. Afterwards, everyone was convinced of John Bosco’s sanity and knew he had a special mission. His mission initially encountered much opposition and misunderstanding—in this, John Bosco was like Jesus. When we ourselves do God’s will, we must disregard human opinions and continue working for the salvation of souls.
Publish date: 2017 - 6 - 17