Sunday 15 September 2013

Deep calls to deep

Buccellato's book is even more challenging that I thought. Again and again he marshals the facts: Don Bosco repeatedly returns to the theme of prayer, and even prolonged, ecstatic, mystical prayer, in the lives of his youngsters as well as in others written by him, and not so well known, such as Beata Maria degli Angeli (1865). (Buccellato 107) When Savio died, Don Bosco was just 42 years old. Already he reveals something that has escaped most of us all these years, that he is able to recognize supernatural gifts of prayer, gifts that are quite out of the ordinary. And already people like Caviglia had told us, but perhaps we were not able to hear, that if the young Don Bosco was able to recognize these gifts, he must have had some experience of them himself. Not, certainly, in the same dramatic manifest way as his friend Comollo. Don Bosco's reserve is amazing, so amazing that it has been so easy for us to bypass almost completely his life of prayer, his extraordinary relationship to God. But it is there, this constant experience, if you wish, this relationship with God that dominated his life so completely. It is by our own authenticity that we are able to recognize the achievement of authenticity in another, as our friend Lonergan so gently points out. 

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