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The Companion Series – Entry Nine

by | May 28, 2024 | The Companion Series

Warnings for boys who have enrolled in some congregation or oratory.

 

Don Bosco encourages the young to frequent the sacraments in their regular parish or oratory/youth centre, “since this will contribute much to good example and will encourage others to frequent the sacraments,” and to establish a childlike confidence in the spiritual director there; he recommends that youths show particular respect to priests.

The 1983 Code of Canon Law, another major reform for implementing the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, affirms that Catholics have a responsibility to fulfil their Christian duty towards “the particular church to which they belong according to the prescripts of the law,” and to “promote the growth of the Church and its continual sanctification.” Without prejudice to their own conscience, Catholics are “bound to follow with Christian obedience those things which the sacred pastors, inasmuch as they represent Christ, declare as teachers of the faith;” they should feel “free to make known to the pastors of the Church their needs, especially spiritual ones,” always acting with reverence towards them.

The theological principle being appealed to here is the communal nature of faith. While faith is something which each individual must personally own, no individual’s faith is strictly their own possession or achievement: each individual’s faith is a participation in the faith of the community founded upon Jesus’ Apostles and their successors. As such, every individual must appreciate that their faith is ultimately a gift which has been handed onto them, and that nobody has the right to individually dictate the faith life of their community (except, of course, the Pope when speaking ex cathedra). This means that pastors do not have the right to personally dictate the faith lives of the community entrusted to them; indeed, the lay members of the faith community “have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church,” and “to receive assistance from the sacred pastors out of the spiritual goods of the Church, especially the word of God and the sacraments.”

In the same respect, the laity should not take their faith lives for granted, appreciating that there would be no sacraments at all were there not men willing to sacrifice their lives for the Church and this ministry. Truly, when one considers how blessed they are to belong to the Church, and to have a faith community with whom to worship and receive the sacraments, the only suitable response is gratitude, and the best way one can show their gratitude is through generously contributing to the growth and sanctification of their particular Church as best they can.

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The Companion Series – Entry Eight

Don Bosco advises youth to avoid sin-triggering situations, suggesting prayer and invoking St. Aloysius Gonzaga’s aid. He counters Satan’s lure of fleeting pleasures with the promise of eternal bliss, encouraging reliance on God’s grace. The Catechism underscores the value of temptation in revealing and overcoming sinful inclinations, stressing discernment through prayer as essential for spiritual growth.

The Companion Series – Entry Seven

Don Bosco interchangeably uses “bad conversation” and “scandal,” emphasising their equivalence. He asserts that causing scandal leads to souls in hell, urging the youth to be exemplary. The Catechism aligns, emphasising the seriousness of scandal, especially when propagated by those in authority.

The Companion Series – Entry Six

Don Bosco encourages young people to find purpose in work and leisure, stressing the importance of virtuous companions. The Second Vatican Council echoes this by highlighting work as a duty and right, promoting rest and personal development. Both emphasize the union of work and charity, suggesting that dedicating oneself to one’s labor and companions can lead to a more fulfilling life. In a modern context, where many view study and work as necessary means to their desired life, it’s important for young individuals to recognise the value in their labor and appreciate the impact it has on themselves and their relationship with others.

The Companion Series – Entry Five

Don Bosco compares the Word of God to food for the soul, emphasising its importance in the lives of Christians. Vatican II echoes this view, emphasising the role of Sacred Scripture, Church teachings, and informed clergy in nourishing the spirit. Accessible explanations of Scripture are crucial, with parish priests and the Internet playing vital roles in this endeavour. Collaboration among priests and church authorities is essential in reaching a geographically diverse and technologically advancing world.

The Companion Series – Entry Four

Don Bosco emphasizes obedience to parents and lawful authorities as the path to virtue, linking it to respect for the Church and its ministers. The Catechism of the Catholic Church highlights the duty to obey parents while also prioritizing following conscience and God’s call. The analogy between familial and Church respect is underscored, reminding that conscience is personal and primary in decision-making.

The Companion Series – Entry Three

God’s special love for the young is emphasised by Don Bosco, based on their innocence and vulnerability. The response to God’s love should motivate them to please Him and avoid offence. The Church, after Vatican II, acknowledges the importance of early catechesis and initiation into the faith. Love for God should primarily be a response to His grace and knowledge of His love for us. Youth’s innocence allows them to be profoundly loved by God.

The Companion Series – Entry Two

Don Bosco argues that evidence of God’s existence is present in nature, leading to the purposeful creation of humans with reason and conscience. The Second Vatican Council explains societal obstacles to accepting God, encouraging introspection for proof of His existence. Both perspectives assert that genuine seekers will find God, and atheism may result from a wilful refusal to believe.

The Companion Series – Entry One

Don Bosco’s “Companion of Youth” addresses young people, cautioning against the devil’s snares: a joyless life and relying on old age for conversion. He teaches a happy Christian life, emphasising virtue in youth for a blessed eternity. Don Bosco expresses love for the young, aiming to guide them towards true happiness and salvation in Jesus Christ.

The Companion Series – An Introduction

Pope Benedict XVI recognized St. John Bosco as a model of social charity in his encyclical. Bosco’s book, “The Companion of Youth,” is a timeless masterpiece with practical reflections on faith. Though written for a different time, it remains a valuable spiritual inheritance and source of insight for young and old Catholics.