“Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10)
“GOOD CHRISTIANS AND UPRIGHT CITIZENS”
When I was thinking about the strenna for this year with some Salesian confreres, I clearly saw how important and fascinating this subject was. It’s a very simple title but something broad and complex to be developed. After the work of the last few weeks, I saw this even more clearly. It appears to me to be a subject fascinating, useful, and complex.
I really believe that in each of the groups of our Salesian Family, in the different countries in which we find ourselves, with the most varied works, we need to examine those aspects which are concerned with the formation of the Christian and the citizen.
We need to make ever more explicit the message that our mission is one of evangelizing and catechizing. Without this we’re not the Salesian Family. We might be “providers of social services,” but not apostles of boys and girls, of teenagers and young people.
At the same time, it’s more than clear that in our mission as educators we can’t “live in a vacuum” as though it had nothing to do with life, justice, equality of opportunity, the defense of the weak, the promotion of a life that’s civilized and decent. This aspect nowadays is more urgent than ever, at a time when the society in which we’re living doesn’t believe very much in these values. When we’re educating, what side are we on? Precisely because of the importance of this question, reflection on this year’s strenna is so relevant and necessary.
Added to this is a new obstacle. Can that twofold educational expression of Don Bosco, that twofold aim that guided him in 19th-century Italy, be considered still valid in a “Salesian world” in which the family of Don Bosco can find a home in countries with different religions or with a non-Christian majority, or in post-Christian societies, or even in countries that are officially secular or anti-religious?