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The fourth chapter of the formation programme proposed by the Primary ADMA at Valdocco, Turin, refers to Article 4 of the Regulations which deals with the personal commitment of the members.

Whoever joins the Association accepts the call to live the Christian life according to the Salesian spirituality, chooses to anchor his/her own life to Jesus in the Eucharist and to Mary Help of Christians, and with this choice commits himself/herself to make his/her own a style of life to be brought into the family, at work, in ecclesial, social and inter-personal relationships. It is a style that aims to unify life and apostolate whereby the first commitment of each one is personal participation in liturgical life, prayer and the sacraments, to be always accompanied and sustained by Grace. In particular, the Eucharist is the privileged moment of real encounter with the Risen One in the Word and Bread. In the relationship of love with Jesus, we also understand the importance of frequent recourse to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, to experience the merciful embrace of the Father who gives us healing from our sins and the strength to begin again.

Closely linked to the commitment to participate in liturgical life is that of living and spreading, according to Don Bosco’s spirit, devotion to Mary Help of Christians, unsurpassable model of union with Jesus and admirable help for our participation in His life of Grace.

Privileged moments are the practices of popular piety which each associate commits to renew, strengthen and live the commemoration of the 24th of each month, the Rosary, the novena in preparation for the feast of Mary Help of Christians, the blessing of Mary Help of Christians, pilgrimages to Marian shrines, processions and collaboration in parish life. They help us to live and spread the popular dimension of the devotion to Mary Help of Christians, to create a spirit of communion among all the groups scattered around the world and to ask for graces for all the people who entrust themselves to our prayers.

Among the various practices of popular piety, the Rosary has a fundamental importance, as St. John Paul II taught us in his Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae:

“The Rosary of the Virgin Mary, in the sobriety of its elements, concentrates in itself the depth of the entire Gospel message, of which it is almost a compendium. [...] With it, the Christian people place themselves in Mary’s school, allowing themselves to be introduced to the contemplation of the beauty of Christ’s face and to the experience of the depth of His love [...] The Rosary mystically transports us to the side of Mary who is committed to following the human growth of Christ in the house of Nazareth. This enables her to educate and mould us with the same solicitude, until Christ is fully formed in us. This action of Mary, totally founded on that of Christ and radically subordinate to it, in no way prevents the immediate union of believers with Christ but facilitates it. It is the luminous principle expressed by the Second Vatican Council, which I have experienced so strongly in my life, making it the basis of my episcopal motto: ‘Totus tuus’. A motto, as is well known, inspired by the doctrine of St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, who explained Mary’s role in the process of the conformation of each one of us to Christ as follows: ‘All our perfection consists in being conformed, united and consecrated to Jesus Christ. Therefore, the most perfect of all devotions is unquestionably that which conforms, unites and consecrates us most perfectly to Jesus Christ. Now, since Mary is the creature most conformed to Jesus Christ, it follows that, of all devotions, the one that most consecrates and conforms a soul to Our Lord is the devotion to Mary, His holy Mother, and that the more a soul is consecrated to her, the more it will be consecrated to Jesus Christ. Never as in the Rosary do the way of Christ and the way of Mary appear so profoundly united’”.

Being part of ADMA requires members to imitate Mary, cultivating in their own family a Christian environment of welcome, hospitality, listening, concrete help and generous availability. This is the family spirit which Don Bosco also wanted to be lived at Valdocco, in the pedagogy proper to the Preventive System.

The imitation of Mary makes us sharers in her maternal concern for the salvation of mankind, especially the young and the poor, in the parishes to which we belong, as a concrete expression of communion with the local Church and a manifestation of the Salesian charism in the environment in which we are placed. The apostolic and educational commitment also becomes a vocational commitment to pray for and support lay, religious and ministerial vocations in the Church and in the Salesian Family.

Finally, each associate is committed to living the spirituality of daily life, following the example of Mary’s evangelical attitudes:

- Fiat - Entrust: docility and availability to God’s will;

- Stabat - Confide: faithfulness and perseverance in the hour of trial and the cross.

- Magnificat – Be happy: thanksgiving for the great things God is working in us and among us.

In this regard, we note that the motto ‘Entrust, Confide, Be happy!’ is also the title of the Letter of the Rector Major, Don Angel Fernandez Artime, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the foundation of ADMA, in which he underlines how the commitment of the members is precisely that of following a path of holiness in daily life: “This ‘itinerary of sanctification and Salesian apostolate’, [...] is easy to follow and oriented towards endless happiness.

St. Francis de Sales and Don Bosco presented holiness not as a path reserved for the privileged few but always as a call for everyone, wherever they live, whatever their state of life is [...] First of all, it is a path of holiness to be lived in the family, giving a positive witness, mainly through perseverance in love between spouses, between parents and children, between brothers and sisters, between young and old. [...] What is most fascinating about this call to holiness is that it is not a matter of doing special things, out of the ordinary, but of seriously allowing the Holy Spirit to work in the heart, in the depths of what we are and feel, continuing to carry on with study, work, relationships, friendships, services, summer camps, singing... everything.”

Gian Luca and Mariangela Spesso

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