"...he who does not give up his surplus possessions steals from God.”

“I declare that he who does not give up his surplus possessions steals from God.”

Conference of Don Bosco to the Lucca Cooperators, April 8, 1882

So, let’s be practical: one might have an income of one thousand francs and live very decently on eight hundred; the command “Give alms” applies to the two hundred which are left over.

“But what about an unforeseen need, a crop failure, a setback in business?” Are you sure you will still be alive then? And furthermore, will not God, who at this very moment takes care of you, help you all the more for having given for His sake? I say that he who does not give up his unnecessary possessions steals from God and, quoting Saint Paul, “he will not possess the Kingdom of Heaven.i

You will say: “But my house needs attention, some old outmoded furniture must be replaced!”

Well then, if you will allow me to enter your house with you now, I will see valuable decorations—a table covered with precious dinnerware over here, a carpet still in good condition over there. Could these things not be retained rather than changed? Could not the funds for redecorating walls and floors clothe many poor boys who are in dire need, though they too are brothers of Jesus Christ and temples of God? I will also see there shining silver and gold and ornaments studded with precious jewels.

“But they are heirlooms”, you will say; and my answer is: “Are you waiting for thieves to come and steal them? You are not using them nor do you need them. If you take these objects, sell them, and give the proceeds to the poor, you will be giving to Jesus Christ, and you will merit a crown in Heaven. Thus, you will not lose your possessions, nor will you be deprived of what is necessary.”

And what about that locked chest? “Oh, it is nothing”, you will say. Nothing? Let me see! Here then, are a few thousand gold Napoleons. “I am saving them for possible illness”, you say, “and besides, there is a very annoying neighbor next door; I would like to buy his property and thus add to my estate”. But, I will answer, all this is surplus; it is your duty to take that money, which at present does not help anyone, and use it the way Jesus Christ commands. Do you want to save it? By all means keep it, but listen: The devil will come, and he will cast a key from that gold to open the gates of hell for you. If you want to avoid such misfortune, do as Saint Lawrence did: Go and help the poor. By giving to them of your possessions, you put them in the hands of the angels who will make a key to open the gates of Heaven for you the day you die.

MB XV, 525-26

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i Will not possess the Kingdom of God.” It is a reference to St. Paul’s words: “The unjust will not possess the Kingdom of God. Do not err;... nor thieves, nor the covetous ... nor the greedy will possess the Kingdom of God” (1 Co 6:9-10).

"I Do Not Dare to Change Christ's Doctrine."

Conference of St John Bosco to the Marseilles Cooperators, February 17, 1881

We outline the stages of the saint’s thought: 1) God is the owner of our possessions, whether necessary or superfluous. 2) He has given us an explicit command to distribute our surplus among the poor. 3) This command is very important, because it relates to eternal life. 4) God will show mercy in this life and in eternity to the one who obeys and shows mercy to his brother here on earth.

“My God, I say, why have you not created me rich, why was I not given wealth, so that I might collect all the poor boys and help them become honest citizens on earth and good Christians destined for Heaven, and thereby contribute to a better future for our secular society!”

Though I do not possess wealth, I have the good fortune to have excellent Cooperators, endowed with good will and the spirit of charity. I have Cooperators who have made, are now making, and shall continue to make every sacrifice to do and support the work of God, the project favored by our great mother, the most holy Virgin Mary.

Then, my generous Cooperators, let us get on with our work, but where will the funds come from? God has told us: “Quod superest, date eleemosynam”: Give what is more than you need. Give therefore that which you have over and above to the Beaujour orphanage, so that this project may be completed.

But, you will ask, what do you mean by “that which you have over and above?” Listen, my worthy Cooperators. Every worldly property, all riches have been given by God; yet, in giving them to us, He allows us to choose what we need, no more! And God, who is our master and the owner of all we possess, will demand of us a strict account of everything we have in excess which we have not used according to His commandment. I am sure if we show good will and give that which we have in abundance, we shall certainly collect the necessary funds for our enterprise.

You will say: Is it our duty to give our surplus to charity? In answer, I must refer you to our Savior who commands that we give: “Give what is more than you need.” He has not set limits, and I do not dare to change His words.

I will only add that Our Lord, who feared that Christians had not fully understood the meaning of these words and would perhaps underestimate the great importance he attached to them, added that it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Saint Augustine maintains that a great miracle is indeed necessary to secure a rich man’s salvation, if he does not use his wealth well by giving what he has over and above his needs to the poor. Let us therefore enter our homes, where we will surely find things we do not really need among our clothes, furnishings, food, trips, expenses, savings, and other things.

There is still another way to come to the assistance of the poor: To beg for them and to tell friends and relatives about the importance of almsgiving. It is God who has told us, ''Date et dabitur vobis”: Give and it shall be given to you. “Eleemosyna est quae purgat peccata". Do you want blessings and the forgiveness of your sins? Give alms! “Facit invenire misericordiam”. Do you want to make sure of God’s mercy? Give alms! "Alms delivereth from death and purgeth away sins and maketh them find mercy and life everlasting” (Tob 12:9). Do you want to obtain heavenly eternity? Give alms! God rewards us a hundred times for all our good works. He will keep His word and bountifully bless us with temporal and spiritual favors.

But, in the other life, what will almsgiving benefit us? We shall enjoy eternal blessings. The souls we cared for, sheltered, clothed, and fed ... will become powerful intercessors with God when we shall appear at His tribunal to account for our lives.

(MB XV, 693-95)

Only one thing is necessary . . .

Only one thing is necessary . . .

Frank Duff, the founder of the Legion of Mary, relying on the famous words of St. Augustine—“Our heart is made for Thee, O Lord, and finds no rest until it rests in Thee”— urges us never to hesitate to speak of God to those we meet. Only God, the infinite Truth and infinite Good, can fill our mind and our heart. That is true for everyone on the planet.

Our big problem during our life here below is that we get distracted from our last end. So many things get in God's way that we forget the one and only necessary: God.

These distractions will surely be the cause of the passage of so many through the terrible fire of Purgatory. Here is how the Angelic Doctor proves it. He enquires about the intensity of the sufferings of Purgatory and asks whether the pains of Purgatory surpass all the temporal pains of this life?

“The least pain of Purgatory, he writes, surpasses the greatest pain of this life. For the more a thing is desired the more painful is its absence. And since after this life the holy souls desire the Sovereign Good with the most intense longing (intensissimus)—both because their longing is not held back by the weight of the body, and because, had there been no obstacle, they would already be enjoying the Sovereign Good—it follows that they grieve exceedingly for their delay” (Suppl. 71 bis, a.3).

“The more a thing is desired the more painful is its absence.” Try to remember the moment you had the greatest desire in your life: it can be the morning of one's wedding, the thought of having lost one's child in a crowd, or watching firemen trying to save a beloved one in a burning house.

“The weight of the body”—that is a reference to all the distractions of life.

Purgatory and computers: The inventors of the internet openly admitted that its purpose was to de-concentrate, to distract its users, to reject “the intellectual tradition of solitary single-minded concentration” (Nicholas G. Carr, The Shallows, p. 114). He could have added that it was “to interfere with the one necessary thing.”

When we see the madness of the world around us focusing of so many unnecessary things, we can only deplore that they are being led by the nose like blind beasts, missing the only one thing necessary.

The day we will die, all these distractions will also vanish, and we will see that we were made for that one necessary thing: “to rest in Thee.” Let us be wise and say like St. Francis of Assisi: “My God and my all!”

100 Years since Fatima

Fr. Daniel Couture, Prior

I find nothing better to say on this issue of the bulletin than to recall the actual events of October 13, 1917 and to urge our readers to meditate on Our Lady’s words.

“Silence, silence, Our Lady is coming,” Lucia cried out as she saw the flash. Our Lady came. Her snow- white feet rested upon the beautiful flowers and ribbons with which Senhora da Capelinha had adorned the tree. The faces of the three children assumed an unworldly expression, their features becoming more delicate, their color mellow, their eyes intent upon the Lady. Lucia inquired of the Queen of Heaven:

̶ “What does Your Grace want of me?”
“I want a chapel to be built here in My honor. I am Our Lady of the Rosary. Continue to say the Rosary every day. The war will end soon and the soldiers will return to their homes.”

̶ “I have many things to ask of You: to heal some sick people and to convert some sinners, etc.” “Some, yes; others, no. People must amend their lives and ask pardon for their sins.”
Then growing sadder: “They must not offend Our Lord any more for He is already too much offended.”
̶ “Do you want anything more?”
“Nothing more.”
̶ “Then neither will I ask anything more of You.”
As Our Lady took leave of the children, She opened Her hands
which emitted a flood of light. While She was rising, She pointed
towards the sun and the light gleaming from Her hands brightened
the sun itself.
“There She goes; there She goes!” shouted Lucia, without for a
moment taking her eyes from the beautiful Queen of Heaven.

It was at this precise moment that the clouds were quickly dispersed
and the sky was clear. The sun was now pale as the moon. To the
left of the sun, Saint Joseph appeared holding in his left arm the
Child Jesus. Saint Joseph emerged from the bright clouds only to his
chest, sufficient to allow him to raise his right hand and make, together with the Child Jesus, the Sign of the Cross three times over the world. As Saint Joseph did this, Our Lady stood in all Her brilliancy to the right of the sun, dressed in the blue and white robes of Our Lady of the Rosary.

Meanwhile, Francisco and Jacinta were bathed in the marvelous colors and signs of the sun, and Lucia was privileged to gaze upon Our Lord dressed in red as the Divine Redeemer, blessing the world, as Our Lady had foretold. Like Saint Joseph, He was seen only from His chest up. Beside Him stood Our Lady, dressed now in the purple robes of Our Lady of Sorrows, but without the sword. Finally, the Blessed Virgin appeared again to Lucia in all Her ethereal brightness, clothed in the simple brown robes of Mount Carmel. 

October, Month of the Holy Rosary

October, Month of the Holy Rosary

“What a marvel!, Mary untied this little crown from her brow to give it to us and to turn it into an instrument of contemplation and of efficacy between our fingers. What we call the Rosary, that little grain we squeeze between our thumb and and our index, it is Mary, this Mother of God who has put herself completely between our fingers so that we may make use of her...” (Paul Claudel)