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Happy St. John Bosco Feast Day!

alec vanderboom

I'm a firm believer that we don't chose Saints, the Saints choose us. One of the Saints that has recently befriended my family is St. John Bosco. He's come to the rescue for my frustration about a lack of obedience in my kids and my general lack of meekness in my own soul.

So far I'm 3 for 3 in producing extremely strong willed, spirited children.
(Jon thinks Baby Tess is more laid back, but considering that she almost died on me in infancy, I refuse to count her yet as my "easy" baby).

I love St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. I love St. Francis Cabrini. Their gentle method of loving discipline called to my heart. But they didn't quite do it for me.

Enter St. John Bosco. The Saint of Juvenile Delinquents! Surely if St. John Bosco could advocate the "preventative method" of discipline as the right one for children recently released prison, then I've got a harder time arguing that this gentle method won't work for my strong-willed brood.

This passage from the Divine Office is made me cry when I first read it last week. It's a far, far off goal--but I'm committed to making it a reality with Christ's help.

(Reading from Divine Office Jan 31, from a letter by St. John Bosco, priest)

"My sons, in my long experience very often I had to be convinced of this great truth. It is easier to become angry than to restrain oneself, and to threaten a boy than to persuade him. Yes, indeed, it is more fitting to be persistent in punishing our own impatience and pride than to correct the boys. We must be firm but kind, and be patient with them. . .

See that no one finds you motivated by impetuosity or willfulness. It is difficult to keep clam when administering punishment, but this must be done if we are to keep ourselves from showing off our authority or spilling out our anger. . .

They are our sons, and so in correcting their mistakes we must lay aside all anger and restrain it so firmly that it is extinguished entirely.

There must be no hostility in our minds, no contempt in our eyes, no insult on our lips. We must use mercy for the present and have hope for the future, as is fitting for real fathers who are eager for real correction and improvement.

In serious matters it is better to beg God humbly than to send forth a flood of words that will only offend the listeners and have no effect on those who are guilty."

St. John Bosco, pray for us!