RMG – Don Bosco's "preventive dynamic" is best answer in humanitarian crisis

18 May 2020

(ANS - Rome) - The world currently observes how the pandemic develops. Preventive dynamics is the best answer: once again, to prevent is better than to cure. This was also Don Bosco's answer to overcoming cholera. According to the text of the Biographical Memoirs, he was profoundly humane and began by recommending to his young people exactly "the same remedies prescribed by doctors: sobriety, temperance, peace of mind and courage". Later, being also deeply holy, he "prescribed" the "best and most effective medicine": trust in Mary Help of Christians, "Health of the sick", and life "in the grace of God" (MB V, 83).

With both medicines, Don Bosco immediately got to work and "to avoid tempting the Lord, he used all possible means of precaution, as prudence suggests". "In the dormitories, the beds were separated, the rooms were washed thoroughly, food was improved." And before helping the sick "every boy received a jar of vinegar, a dose of camphor; when they came home, they washed and disinfected themselves."

The educational care and accompaniment of people suggest a pedagogical and pastoral response, like Don Bosco's, for the new times that await us. What does Don Bosco suggest for our today and for the post-pandemic period?

"Sobriety, temperance, peace of mind and courage". These new times shall require the recovery of the essential: sobriety in material things and profound relationships; temperance and permanent attention to the other; peace of mind, the courage to go further and beyond, to live for others.

"Trust in the grace of God." Reopening the ways that lead to the encounter with God, with faith and trust. Like beloved children. In the commitment of charity that becomes grace. In the beauty of creating good, of loving, of living with the Lord on the itineraries of faith of our lives.

"Listening to others and listening to oneself". To return to this positive attitude of wanting to be together, of wanting to meet again. What was most missed at this time was "the other," our neighbours. Being distant, we missed out on listening, the smile, the embrace.

"Act with prudence and hope". Innovate, make pastoral practices new, revolutionize times and spaces, take on "new styles and new strategies", go wherever possible to "save" those who await our action, our presence, our optimism and our trust. Don Bosco did not stop, he put his young people into action, disinfected the spaces and improved the processes. He did not fail to answer. He acted with confidence because there was an urgent need to respond.

Things will no longer be the same as before. And that's a good thing. It is necessary to rebuild and be reborn with more humanism, more solidarity and more awareness of one's responsibilities because, in the face of the signs of the times, we can be new men and women, always waiting for the best from every single day, because we too want to be today, like Don Bosco, "deeply human, deeply holy".


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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