Spiritual Talk
 
 
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Spiritual Talk – Fr. Ho talks about Fatima (10)

The July apparition and the three Fatima secrets revealed there deeply affected Jacinta’s spiritual development. Having seen the pitiful souls suffering in Hell, she loved making sacrifices for the conversion of sinners, such as fasting and frequenting the Church even when it wasn’t Sunday. She was also devoted to the Immaculate Heart, loved the prayer “Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation.” and encouraged Lucia, who was entrusted with the mission of spreading devotion to the Immaculate Heart. Jacinta, having seen the Holy Father being martyred, also loved offering prayers and sacrifices for the Pope. In 2000, Pope John Paul II beatified Francisco and Jacinta and publicly thanked Jacinta for her prayers and sacrifices. Mary let Jacinta know that she would be brought to hospital in Lisbon to die alone, and then be brought to Heaven. When it was time to leave, Jacinta tearfully embraced Lucia and, knowing this was their final farewell, she asked Lucia to keep praying for her until she reached Heaven and to keep sacrificing for sinners. While in Lisbon, Mary revealed to Jacinta that it was the sin of impurity that brought the most souls to Hell. After Jacinta died, her body was discovered to be incorrupt and the Pope commanded Lucia to recount the stories of Francisco and Jacinta to the world.
Publish date: 2018 - 2 - 3


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Spiritual Talk – Fr. Ho talks about Fatima (9)

After the October 13th apparition, Francisco dedicated himself to solitary prayer to console Jesus, while Jacinta dedicated herself to sacrifices to save sinners from Hell. When Lucia questioned Francisco, he replied, “When you saw Mary’s face, didn’t you see how saddened she was by the offenses shown to God? I want to first console God and then convert sinners so they will cease offending Him." When Lucia went to school one day, Francisco felt death nearing, so he stayed in the church to pray, saying, “I must stay with the hidden Jesus.” But when Francisco fell sick and could not go to church, he asked Lucia to visit the hidden Jesus on his behalf. Although he suffered greatly from the sickness, he remained joyful for the sake of Jesus. When his sickness worsened, he asked Lucia and Jacinta to help him recount his sins so he could make a good Confession and receive the Eucharist. Having received the “hidden Jesus”, he promised Lucia, “I will not forget about you – I will plead to God to bring you to Heaven soon.” Francisco died on April 4, 1919 and on the 100th anniversary of the apparitions, May 13, 2017, Pope Francis canonized Francisco and Jacinta.
Publish date: 2018 - 1 - 27


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Spiritual Talk – Fr. Ho talks about Fatima (8)

On August 12 and 13, there was a great downpour, but many people still came to the site of the apparition, hoping to witness the promised miracle there. The mother of the Dos Santos children also came. Although she still did not believe their visions, she wanted to protect them against angry crowds in case no miracle took place. Lucia led the crowds to pray the Rosary, and seeing the Virgin Mary, she asked, “What must I do?” The Virgin Mary replied, “Build a chapel for me here, and pray the Rosary, so that the war will end.” When Lucia brought the needs of the crowd to Mary, Mary replied, “Some I can grant, others I cannot. They must first change their lives. God has already been deeply wronged.” Then, Mary stretched out her arms, and a bright light appeared, showing Jesus and Joseph blessing the world – the Holy Family. At the same time, the crowds saw the Sun dancing in circles across the sky. Many thought that Judgment Day had arrived, but after eight to ten minutes, the sun returned to normal, and the formerly wet ground was dry. Many doubters of the Fatima visions believed that day. Clearly, God performed a miracle to emphasize to humans the importance of praying for peace.
Publish date: 2018 - 1 - 20


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Spiritual Talk – Fr. Ho talks about Fatima (7)

The three Dos Santos children were upset at having missed the August 13th Fatima apparition, but Mary appeared to them on August 19th. Mary told them to return to the regular site of the apparitions on September 13th, exhorted them to continue praying the Rosary, and promised them a miracle in October. Mary looked sorrowful and said, “Pray continuously and sacrifice – many souls have entered Hell because there was no one to pray for them.” Remembering their vision of Hell, the children dedicated themselves to prayer and sacrifice. They gave food to poor children, fasted from food and water, bound tight ropes around their waists, and prayed the prayer taught by the angel. On September 13th, Mary told them that Jesus Himself would come in October, and that God was pleased by their sacrifices, but that they ought to wear the ropes only during the day, and not while sleeping. Prayer and sacrifice are two indispensable tools of the faith, and oftentimes, God saves souls through these invisible means. Even though it is sometimes impossible to contact all unbelievers in person, we can contact them spiritually through prayer and sacrifice, and bring them to accept God’s saving grace.
Publish date: 2018 - 1 - 13


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Spiritual Talk – Fr. Ho talks about Fatima (6)

After the children were revealed the first two Fatima secrets, an ambitious local official was convinced the hidden third secret concerned him, so on August 13, on the pretext of giving them a ride to the site of the apparitions, he kidnapped them. He brought them to a prison and threatened to boil them alive unless they revealed the third secret. Jacinta began to cry, but Francisco began praying in reparation for sinners. Jacinta hung her religious medal on the wall and the three children began to recite the Rosary. The prisoners also tried to console the children: one of them danced with Jacinta, who loved to dance. Although the children were freed, they endured a martyrdom of sorts, refusing to divulge the third secret on pain of death. Thus, they missed the August Fatima apparition, although some people saw a blue cloud column appear thrice that day. They were very upset, and thought that Mary would not appear to them again.
Publish date: 2018 - 1 - 6


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Spiritual Talk – Fr. Ho talks about Fatima (5)

Publish date: 2017 - 12 - 30


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Spiritual Talk – Fr. Ho talks about Fatima 4

After Lucia saw the Immaculate Heart of Mary, her mother thought her a liar and her parish priest thought her possessed by demons. Over time, Lucia herself began to suspect a demonic origin to the visions, but Jacinta was adamant, saying, “No, the Mary we saw was beautiful, not ugly like the demons!” But Lucia lost interest in prayer, had nightmares about demons, grew estranged from Francisco and Jacinta, and finally decided not to return to the place of the visions. On July 13th, though, Lucia felt compelled to go to her siblings – seeing them too afraid to go to Mary without her, Lucia relented and went with them. When they arrived, Mary told them she would give a vision in October which would make many believe. To rekindle Lucia’s interest in offering up her sufferings, Mary taught her to pray this with every sacrifice, “O Jesus, it is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”
Publish date: 2017 - 12 - 23


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Spiritual Talk – Fr. Ho talks about Fatima 3

Lucia Dos Santos unwisely revealed the Fatima visions to her disbelieving mother who forced her to confess that she was lying, causing much conflict in the family. The next month, on June 13 , the Dos Santos siblings received a second vision of Mary. Lucia asked, “What do you want me to do?” Mary replied, “I want you to pray the Rosary daily.” Lucia strongly desired to enter Heaven, so Mary continued, “Yes, I will soon take Jacinta and Francisco to Heaven, but you must stay on Earth a while so that others might know and honour my Immaculate Heart.” Hearing this, Lucia was upset, saying, “I must stay here alone?” Mary consoled her, “You mustn’t be afraid, my Immaculate Heart will lead you to God.” Then Mary opened up her arms and revealed her Immaculate Heart, a scene shown in many depictions of the Fatima apparitions today. In 1919, Francisco passed away, followed by his sister Jacinta in 1920, and Lucia lived until she died on February 13, 2005, aged 97. Only by depending on God’s grace were the children able to carry out their God-given missions.
Publish date: 2017 - 12 - 16


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Spiritual Talk – Fatima

In 1916, an angel, the Guardian of Portugal and the Angel of Peace, twice appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal and taught them to offer up their work and sufferings. The angel appeared a third time and, lifting high the Body and Blood of Christ, prostrated himself on the ground thrice and prayed what are now known as the second of the four Fatima Prayers. Then, the angel administered the Body to Lucia, and the Blood to Francisco and Jacinta, and taught them how to receive the Eucharist as an Act of Reparation, saying, “Jesus has been severely offended by ungrateful sinners – you must receive the Eucharist for the reparation of their sins and console your God.” Then, he disappeared, and Mary eventually appeared to the children in 1917. They noticed that, when the angel appeared to them, they felt tired and afraid to confide in him, but when Mary appeared to them, they felt energized and wanted to confide all to her. It was only later, when Lucia was commanded to write memoirs, that the apparitions of the angel were revealed. We too can learn to receive the Eucharist worthily and console God.
Publish date: 2017 - 12 - 2


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Spiritual Talk – Children can also be saints

Children can also be saints – 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions, when Mary appeared to 10-year-old Lucia, 9-year-old Francisco, 7-year-old Jacinta. Francisco and Jacinta died early and were canonized on May 13, 2017. In 1916, an angel told them to pray with him and implore God to forgive the unbelievers; he told the children, “Keep praying. Jesus and Mary will listen to your prayers.” Another time, the children were idle in the shade, and the angel chastised them, telling them to keep praying and offer up their work as sacrifices to God for the sake of the conversion of sinners. The angel continued, “I am the Guardian Angel of Portugal. If you do these, your country will have peace. But you must patiently endure the coming sufferings.” The angel, suspected to be St. Michael, prepared the way for Mary’s apparitions. When we are called to endure things in life, we can also offer these up to God as sacrifices.
Publish date: 2017 - 11 - 25


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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 (59)

St. John Bosco received knowledge from his dreams and used it to teach his students. Once, he dreamt he was in a beautiful place with his students led by the deceased St. Dominic Savio. Dominic was wearing a beautiful red sash on his waist, pure white robes, and a garland. The sash represented the sacrifices he made, the robes his baptismal purity, and the garland his many virtues. Dominic said, “What gave me the greatest solace before death was the strength that Mary gave us to love. The Salesians will bring many souls to God, but you must remember to venerate the Virgin Mary and preserve virtue.” In another dream, St. John Bosco heard two girls talking: “Purity comes from adhering to the holy law of God.” He would teach his students to restrain themselves in word, thought, and appetite; he also warned them to avoid idleness and excessive busyness, because the Devil loved to tempt people at such times.
Publish date: 2017 - 10 - 28


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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


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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