Dear Father Angel,
Dear confréres Salesians of Don Bosco, Chapter members of the 28th General Chapter, with immense pleasure, I address a simple greeting thought to you at this important moment for the whole Congregation.
It is a personal greeting thought because of the affection and esteem that binds me to you and a greeting of all the Salesians Cooperators who accompany you with prayer in these days.
It is a thought that wants to be encouraging for everyone so that these days of work will bear the hoped-for results of the responses to the requests that young people make in these times, to you and to the whole Salesian Family.
I like to combine my thoughts about the future “Salesians for today’s young people” with a “pencil”. Maybe like the pencil in Don Bosco’s hands as he is writing while sitting at his desk.
This pencil has five qualities:
Prime quality: be aware that you can do great things, but don’t forget that the pencil writes what the hand makes it do. Let Don Bosco suggest you what the Lord wants of each one to do his will. Guide the youth to write rich and beautiful pages in their lives. Help them dream.
Second quality: from time to time, stop writing and use a pencil sharpener. It is an action that causes some pain to the pencil but, in the end, it is more pointed and capable of writing with a more decisive stroke. Learn to endure pain, fatigue, disappointments, difficulties: you will be better Salesians, capable of listening and accompanying the young people you meet, sharing the difficulties of their lives.
Third quality: the stroke of the pencil allows us to use an eraser to erase what is wrong. Correcting an action or behavior is not necessarily a negative thing. Young people want witnesses, and to be authentic, it is necessary to present yourselves to them with honesty and transparency, showing the ability to get back into the game and to know how to get up from falls, starting from one’s mistakes. They will learn, without being discouraged, to improve themselves every day and live the Salesian optimism in their daily lives.
Fourth quality: what is really important in the pencil is not the wood or its external shape, but the graphite of the mine enclosed in it. Take care of your personal spirituality, draw energy from the life of the community. Show that you love each other, that you pray together, that you live together. Young people will benefit from it to strengthen their faith. You will also offer them a vocational perspective if they see that you are happy with your choice.
Fifth quality of the pencil: it always leaves a mark. In the same way, everything you do in your life, in the community where you live, to the young people you meet will leave a trace. Make a commitment to be fully aware of every action. Spend time and attention for young people who ask you to share a piece of their life. May everyone feel to be the protagonist in meeting with you. They will bring into their lives just the moments lived together.
May Mary Help of Christians always be your teacher.
A fraternal embrace
The World Coordinator