Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
PATER NOSTER, qui es in caelis, sanctificetur nomen tuum. Adveniat regnum tuum. Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie, et dimitte nobis debita nostra sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo. Amen.
As the steep descent of Christian civilization began roughly at the same time as the advent of photography, there are relatively few photos of saints while they lived on earth. Today is the feast of St. John Bosco, and I include the photograph above because it contains other people, and is not a single, formal portrait photograph. I think we all have the tendency to look at paintings, sculptures, mosaics, and icons of the saints and slip into a subconscious perception of them as fictional characters, probably somewhat due to our lifelong exposure to not just photographs but motion pictures, as well. In our minds, we might tend to segregate photographic and video images into a category we falsely label “real”, and everything else into a category we falsely label “fiction”. Thus, a photograph of Kim Kardashian – a self-mutilated sucking maw of narcissistic fakery – is “real”, while a painting of St. Philip Neri is “a fictional character set in Renaissance Italy”. Before the advent of photography, I doubt that people grappled with this problem.
All of these people were real. We aren’t called to love, befriend and emulate fictions. They are real, and the Saints are more alive than any of us, as they look upon the Face of God.
Finally, a few edifying quotes from St. John Bosco:
Be eager to go to Mass on weekdays also, even if it costs a sacrifice. Our Lord will reward you with His Blessings and make you succeed in your undertakings.
Do you want many graces? Visit Him often. Do you want Him to grant you only a few? Visit Him but seldom. Do you want the devil to attack you? Rarely visit the Blessed Sacrament. Do you want the devil to flee from you? Visit Jesus often. Do you want to overcome the devil? Take refuge at Jesus’ Feet. Do you want to be overcome by the devil? Give up visiting Jesus.
Visiting Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is essential, my dear boys, if you want to overcome the devil. Therefore make frequent visits to Jesus. If you do that, the devil will never prevail against you.
In general, do not wait for several transgressions before you correct anyone. Speak immediately and plainly. Praise those who mend their ways and encourage the slothful.
St. John Bosco, pray for us.
Christ, have mercy on us.