27 April 2012
Good Night Talk
DB Prenovitiate Seminary
When we were in the novitiate, we had an opportunity to be visited by Fr Jose Carbonell, a Salesian pioneer, a former provincial, and a former novice master. As far as I remember during our conference with him, the first question he asked us was the motto of Don Bosco – of our congregation.
What’s the motto? “Da Mihi Animas Caetera Tolle!” But Fr Carbonell seemingly disagreed our answer. He said in reply, “No, that is not the motto of Don Bosco. His motto is Work! Work! Work!” And he even jokingly told us that while Don Bosco was dying, these three precious words were his last words. WORK! WORK! WORK!
St. John Bosco did not recommend severe penances and bodily discipline, but work, work, work. With this attitude of Don Bosco, we could already attest how Don Bosco was zealous in his day to day work. His energetic activity, something he valued very much, is seen throughout his life. This would mean to say that Don Bosco loved to work. Hehimself worked intensely and that he intended that all Salesians should work for the Church until their last breath. His philosophy of life, inspired by the Scriptures and by his reflections on the history of man, determined the very important place which he gave to work in his life. According to him, from the very beginning, God commanded Adam to work. He would still further explain this by using a verse from the book of Job: “Birds are born to fly man in born to work.” Work is written in man’s destiny, without work the human race will perish. Don Bosco proved that work takes away evil desires and purifies men. He would compare mankind to a beehive in which everyone has to carry out a determined task through the disposition of Divine Providence. Whoever does not do it or neglect it is a parasite.
Here in the seminary, we are bombarded by lots of work, be it manual work, office work, our household chores, and even mental work – our scholastic requirements. Work that...