So that my joy may be in you (John 15:11)
Holiness for you, too
The Strenna is an annual motto that is intended to guide us in our dealings with the young, in every aspect of our work for the year. This year the Salesian Strenna is about Holiness. It is based on John 15:11; so that my joy may be in you. The scripture calls us to see the True Vine that God has created to bring about His Kingdom. The vine represents growth, vitality and above all else, God’s love, through the Trinity; Father, Son and Spirit. It clearly describes the vine’s purpose as being connected to Jesus at all times. John says ‘remain in me and I will remain in you’. It is a reminder to us that in all our work with the youth it is important that Jesus is our focus and inspiration and in doing so demonstrates the power of God’s love in communion with the world. It is because of this that we are called to holiness. We are called to live life to the full and to accept that holiness is not a vague concept or theory but rather a life that conforms to that of Jesus; we are called to holiness (consciously or unconsciously).
Holiness takes many forms; perseverance, patience, humility, joy, sense of humour, love, peace, goodness, faithfulness, self-control, gentleness, friendship, and attending to the detail.
The Strenna also enables us to recognise that holiness is not just for the saints. Over the centuries, many people have lived lives of holiness yet only a few have been declared saints. Take for example in our own charism the work of Saint John Bosco and Mother Margaret. Upon investigation, it would seem that Mother Margaret worked just as hard and tirelessly for the boys as John did but it was only John who was recognised as a saint. Since Holiness is for everyone, we can comfortably assume then that we each have our own ‘type’ of holiness…what is important in fact is that we are able to bring out the best in others and ourselves. This helps us realise that holiness is for everyone; in those who we work with, we live with, our next-door neighbours, each reflecting God’s presence. Who are these people for you?
One of the key elements of holiness is that it is centred on Jesus. For some of us this may be a conscious understanding but for others it may in fact be unconscious. In this way, our mission is to bring about the Kingdom of God, which is based on love, justice and universal peace. Being holy makes us more human.
Although we have established that holiness is for everyone, at times we may prevent ourselves from being holy. We do this when we focus on a particular way of thinking without being open to mystery and when we think of ourselves better than others. Therefore, it is important to understand that being holy is better when we are in community with like minded others.
The Strenna for 2019 therefore encourages us to think of holiness as a way of being more like Jesus, just as his disciples did. So each of us follow his example so we too can all be HOLY. When looking at the term holiness defined above, we now understand that we have already been holy in many ways in our lives. The question for 2019, is how can be continue to be HOLY at home, at work, at school, in all areas of our lives when we are in relationship with others.
HOLINESS FOR YOU TOO: THE BEATITUDES OF THE SALESIAN FAMILY
1. Blessed is the Salesian Family that finds joy in poverty, imbued with God’s grace, it will work amongst the poorest and marginalised youth – this is holiness!
2. Blessed is the Salesian Family that embodies the docility and love of the Good Shepherd. It thus welcomes and accompanies youth with loving kindness, forming them toward dialogue and the welcoming of diversity – this is holiness!
3. Blessed is the Salesian Family that accompanies others, heals the wounds of those who suffer and gives hope to those who feel hopeless, thus bringing the joy of the Risen Christ – this is holiness!
4. Blessed is the Salesian Family that hungers and thirsts for justice and accompanies youth on their mission to actualise their life project within their families, in the workplace, and within political and social commitment – this is holiness!
5. Blessed is the Salesian Family that has a living experience of mercy, opening its eyes and heart to active listening and forgiving. It thus becomes a home that welcomes others – this is holiness!
6. Blessed is the Salesian Family that seeks to be authentic, whole and transparent whilst cultivating a loving gaze that goes beyond appearances and recognises the grace of God within each person – this is holiness!
7. Blessed is the Salesian Family, that draws from the truth of the Gospel and remains faithful to the charism of Don Bosco. It thus becomes yeast for a new humanity and joyfully embraces the joy of the Cross for the Kingdom of God – this is holiness!
Mrs Nadia Knight
Assistant Principal – Faith and Mission