On January 31 we celebrated the feast of a very charismatic youth worker of all time, St John Bosco (1815-1888). One of St John Bosco’s white loves was that for the Virgin Mary. Let us appreciate his sterling contribution as is beautifully shown in his mariology.
By the virtue of chastity we please Mary. The Blessed Virgin, like a good Mother, seeing danger threatening Her children, hurries to their rescue. Do you want to please your Heavenly Mother? Practice the virtue dearest to Her – chastity. By being the Star of the Sea Mary protects us during our troubling earthly voyage. Mary is the Star of the Sea. She never forsakes those who trust in Her, so let us get under Her protecting mantle. She will lead us out of the danger and guide us safely to port. The priceless reward of mortifying our eyes from evil is that of seeing Mary in the glory of Heaven. Mortify your eyes now, so that you may see the glory of Our Blessed Mother and the glories of Heaven in a purer way.
Mary will obtain for us the grace of receiving the communion daily. Ask the Blessed Virgin for the grace to receive Communion frequently and worthily… Try to imagine that the Blessed Virgin Herself will give you the Sacred Host. No one would dare strike at the Heart of Jesus while He is in Mary’s hands. Mary is a strong protectress against bad talking. At the end of Mass, say a Hail Holy Queen to the Blessed Virgin and an Our Father in honor of St. Aloysius, that they may help you to keep your good resolutions, and especially help you avoid bad talk. During the course of the day, repeat the words: “Holy Virgin Mother of Jesus, St. Aloysius Gonzaga, help me [to] become a saint.“
Mary and Her Son Jesus are supporting the world to go on. Were it not for the Blessed Sacrament and the Blessed Virgin, the world would now be in ruins. Those who want to work in the light – that is, along the way to heaven – must draw closer to these two sources of light, or at least one of them. Those who walk away from them move in darkness and in the shadow of death. (Luke 1:79).
By Christ’s redemption we become Mary’s adopted children too. Having been redeemed by Jesus Christ, we become Her children and the brothers of Her Divine Son. Thus, by becoming Mother of Jesus, true God and true man, She also becomes our Mother. Jesus Christ, in His great Mercy, wants to call us brothers, and by doing so makes us adopted children of Mary. It is important that we honour Mary by doing a sacrifice on her day, Saturday. Our dear Mother would like you to make some sacrifice every Saturday in Her honor.
Mary’s image is a source of great strength to us. Have a beautiful picture of Our Blessed Mother on your desk. Frequently look at it and kiss it. Mary helps us to avoid sin. Ask Our Lady for the grace not to fall into mortal sin. That is why it is essential to have filial trust in her. Have a filial trust in Our Lady; confide in Her, rely on Her. It has never been heard that anyone trusted in Mary in vain. She will shield you against the devil’s assaults.
When asked about how one can best spend the carnival season Don Bosco replied: First, dedicate all you do to Our Lady’s honor and glory; secondly, offer it also in suffrage of the souls in purgatory. And how to prepare for the feast of the Immaculate Conception? He replied: …But how can we honor Mary these days so as to merit Her protection? I shall not insist on frequent reception of the sacraments. You already know that Don Bosco has nothing more at heart than this. But I will suggest two particular things to each of you in Mary’s honor. First, put your whole heart into this novena; second, prepare a bouquet of flowers for Her feast day. How? By picking a flower each day. But where, when no flowers are blooming in this cold winter? From the garden of your hearts. What sort of flowers? Some little act of virtue to be practiced each day in honor of Mary Immaculate. Let each one take this to heart, so that on the dawn of this great feast there will be as many bouquets as boys, and each bouquet will have a flower for every day of this novena. You may be sure that Our Lady will be quite pleased with your gift.
Every good at the Oratory is to be done in Mary’s Name. Remember: nothing, absolutely nothing, must ever be done at the Oratory except in the Holy Name of Mary. Mary is a dear friend of young people. Our Lady loves those who are young, make sure you call upon Her often. Mary is a great help in times of big trouble. When in danger or in need, have recourse to Mary. The Blessed Virgin has always helped me and will always do so!
Mary gladly receives the gifts we present to her. …My children, see to it that the Blessed Virgin may always receive gifts from you which She will not have to refuse. When his Mama Margaret passed away Don Bosco confided himself to Mary through the image of Our Lady of Consolation in Turin, saying: And now You must take her place. My great family is motherless. I give them to You; watch over them, soul and body.
For God and Mary everything is possible. Nothing is impossible for God and His Blessed Mother. During one of his dreams Don Bosco told Mary: My Lady, what can I do? How can I
keep this great flock of sheep and lambs? I have no pasture for them. And Mary told him: Don’t be afraid, I will watch over you and will help you. Mary will provide for us at the right moment. Don’t be afraid, Our Lady will send us all that is necessary. A sound preaching always include devotion to Mary. Wherever you go, preach devotion to Our Lady. If you only knew how many souls She will bring to God through the means of the Salesian Congregation! In another reflection Don Bosco says: When you speak or preach, always insist on frequent Communion and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Mary listens to our prayers provided that what we ask her is of great benefit for us. You may be absolutely sure that any favor you ask of Mary will be granted unless it prove harmful. Among all creatures Mary is the most loved and loving. Mary is the most loved and the most loving of all creatures. Mary’s maternal love is uncomparable. The fullness of love in all the mothers of this earth could never equal the love Mary has for each one of us. By loving Mary we will have a secure place in Heaven. Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, my sons, will be your safeguard. If you are devoted to Her, She will not only shower you with blessings on earth, but through Her intercession, She will also secure Heaven for you. That is why he encouraged us with these words: Love, honor, and serve Mary and strive to make others do likewise. A son who has rendered homage to this heavenly Mother not only will not be lost, but may also aspire to a shining crown.
Trusting in Mary and rejecting sin is the true mark of spiritual progress. Put your trust in the Blessed Virgin. Shun sin if you want God to bless your… [work]. Another related reflection by Don Bosco is the following: Receive the sacraments often; be devoted to the Blessed Virgin; consider bad books worse than a plague; avoid bad companions even more than poisonous snakes. If you want to be especially loved by Mary love her Infant Jesus. If you want to be the Benjamin of Mary, love the Infant Jesus.
Mary is to be loved by simple loving gestures accomplished with great love. The best spiritual flowers we can offer up to Mary are such ordinary daily practices as kissing the ground or Mary’s medal three times, kissing the crucifix before going to bed, giving good advice each day to some companion, reading a few pages about the Blessed Virgin and then telling others about their content, devoutly saying the prayers before and after meals, work, or study, making the Sign of the Cross reverently and so on. We can only go to Jesus through Mary. Remember, it is almost impossible to reach Jesus without Mary’s mediation. Therefore, entrust everything to Her, especially your soul. Better suffering injustice than sinning. Thus, by praying daily to Mary we can obtain this grace. Daily ask The Blessed Virgin to let you suffer any evil rather than let you fall into grave sin. Real spiritual progress demands getting rid of sin from our lives. Don Bosco said: Our Lady does not care for the homage of those who want to remain in mortal sin.
This simple presentation helps us more to understand the importance of belonging to Mary, Our Mother. Thus, Don Bosco encourages us: Above all, be deeply, sincerely, and constantly devoted to the Blessed Virgin. If you could only understand how important this is, you would not trade it for all the gold in the world! Therefore, cherish this devotion. I hope and pray that you may one day say, “All good things came to me together with it.” (Wisdom 7:11). Hence, be devoted to Mary most holy; frequently call on Her. Never was it known that anyone who trustingly had recourse to Her was not promptly heard. Remember: Our Lady is waiting for you to give Her your heart.
Fr Mario Attard OFM Cap