Father and Teacher

St. John Bosco St. PetersFather and teacher of the young.

Struck me as so beautiful, the picture of Don Bosco, father and teacher of the young, in the Collect of today’s Holy Mass.

To remember being young means remembering needing a father and a teacher. Craving a father and a teacher more than anything.

My own father and first teacher had his faults, to be sure. But one thing he had was faith, faith regularly practiced—the kind of faith that makes church a second home for you and your family.

Looking back, I can see with perfect clarity that my dad’s very churchiness is what gave him the kind of solidity as a person that a boy needs to lean on as he grows up. And I thank God for it, because it gave me the church as a home. And what greater gift could a person have than to feel at home in church?

I wish I knew more about St. John Bosco. I read a book about him when I was in the seminary. But that is getting to be a long time ago now, and I forget most of the facts in it. But one thing about Don Bosco shines crystal clear in my mind’s eye: His faith was huge and manly and strong. And that naturally made young people feel calm and at home in his presence.

Don Bosco rested his whole soul on the solid rock of the love of the eternal Father. That made him into a rock on which young people could rest their souls, like the birds resting on the branches of the mustard tree in the parable.

And the amazing thing about the souls of young people is: If they have a solid foundation to rest themselves on, they will grow. They will grow almost of their own accord. All they need is a solid father and teacher who they know they can trust. Don Bosco was such a teacher, and I hope we can be such teachers, too.

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