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Dear friends of ADMA,

We are already fully immersed in the month of Mary Help of Christians. Our homes and churches are filled with colours. A healthy excitement vibrates in our hearts. We all want to honour the Mother of Jesus, our Mother too. Salesian creativity is activated to share in our localities, through songs, celebrations, processions, moments of prayer, popular events, cultural, educational and solidarity initiatives, to show with sincerity of heart to show how happily we love Our Lady. During these days, thousands of people will approach Mary to give thanks for the graces received and for the favours obtained through her intercession; to continue to pray for so many needs, situations, people who live in a lack of hope, of love; to ask for her intercession with simplicity of heart.

It is a great feast for the whole Salesian Family; It is the feast of our Mother; it deserves our preparation primarily in our hearts, apart from external decorations. Don Bosco hoped that the children of the Oratory would take advantage of this feast to convert their lives and grow spiritually following Mary’s example. One of the most effective means of Salesian pedagogy is the sacrament of Confession which Don Bosco fervently recommended during the month of May.

150 years ago, precisely on the night of 31st May 1873, Don Bosco made this important statement after the prayers, when he gave the ‘good night’ to the students, saying that it was the ‘result of his prayers’ and that it ‘came from the Lord’ (dream).

“Throughout the whole time of the novena of Mary Help of Christians, indeed throughout the month of May, in the Mass and in my other prayers I have always asked the Lord and Our Lady for the grace that they might let me know what it is that sends more people to Hell. Now I won’t say whether this comes from the Lord or not; I can only say that almost every night I dreamt that this was the lack of firm intention in the Confessions. Then I seemed to see young men coming out of church after their confession, and they had two horns.

How is this? I would say to myself. Eh! this comes from the ineffectiveness of the intentions made in confession! And that is why so many go to confession even often but they never amend, they always confess the same things. There are those (now I am making hypothetical cases, I am not using anything from confession because there is secrecy), who in the beginning of the year had a bad grade and now have the same grade. Others murmured at the beginning of the year and continue with the same fault. I thought it good to tell you this, because this is the result of Don Bosco’s poor prayers; and it comes from the Lord. He did not give any other details of this dream in public but undoubtedly used it privately to encourage and admonish; and for us even the little he said, and the form in which he said it, remains a grave admonition to be frequently reminded to young people” [MB X, 56].

It is Don Bosco himself who invites us to a good confession during the novena with firm and decisive resolutions. We know that when we approach God with a repentant heart and right intentions, the Lord’s forgiveness is not lacking and His grace fills our souls. But at the same time, it is fruitless if it is not accompanied by works of mercy towards our brothers and sisters.

It would be like receiving a seed from a flourishing tree and not planting it to bear abundant fruit and help satisfy the hunger for love and hope of so many people. We know that reconciliation gives us the joy of the Father’s forgiveness. It rebuilds communion with those close to us: spouses, siblings, children, friends, acquaintances. It helps us all to be “brothers”; and it also purifies our apostolic intentions, putting us always at the service of the mission. Confession is an opportunity to let ourselves be embraced by the Merciful Father, to let ourselves be embraced by his tender and patient love.

Let us pray:

Father, we know that you carry the priceless treasure of your life in fragile vessels, marked by weakness and sin; let us hear your voice which always calls us to conversion and grant us to respond with vigilance, with sincere repentance and with fraternal and generous forgiveness.

Reconciled with you by the passion of Christ, through the sacrament of Penance, grant that we may grow in purity and holiness and be welcomed, together with our young people, into your paternal embrace. Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

We invite you to prepare a beautiful feast of Mary Help of Christians with a holy confession in your heart. Listening to the invitation of our Father Don Bosco is a sure path towards true inner growth and a good feast.

Happy feast of Mary Help of Christians for everyone.

Renato Valera, President, ADMA-Valdocco.

Fr. Alejandro Guevara SDB, Spiritual Animator, ADMA-Valdocco.

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