Pope Benedict XVI at the Helm: The Prophetic Vision of St Don Bosco
Given the current state of our National moral decline we need to view the entire American continent as missionary territory, ripe for this New Evangelization.
The heroic leadership of this Pope may well represent one more fulfillment of the prophetic vision of the Saint whose Feast we celebrate on this day.This vision could well describe what is occurring in our own day. We need to take our place on the Bark of Peter and follow the Pope as he follows the Lord. Pope Benedict XVI is steering the Ship through troubled waters, charting a path through those sure pillars of protection and heavenly aid. St. Don Bosco, pray for us.
One of many renderings of the vision of Don Bosco
CHESAPEAKE,VA. (Catholic online) - On January 31 in the Roman Calendar we celebrate the Feast of St John Bosco (also called Don Bosco). He lived in the 19th century and poured out his life serving the Church of Italy. Don Bosco was the founder of the Salesian Society and walked in a wonderful and intimate communion with the Lord. He also lived during a difficult time for both the world and the Church.
Among the many accounts of his extraordinary life, we read of a vision he shared on May 30, 1862. It comes to my mind frequently these days. The vision revealed the great threats facing the Churchas she continues the redemptive mission of her Lord. It also reveals the path which will lead her to victory over her enemies. The vision has been the source of much inspiration, insight, speculation and reflection.
Images of the vision have been painted by many of the faithful. The paintings themselves have a prophetic effect on the observer. The saint saw the Church as a great Ship of Peter surrounded by a flotilla of other vessels. They were engaged in intense warfare. At the helm of the Church was the Pope who at one point in a fierce battle fell mortally wounded. The enemies of the Church closed in sensing this was their moment.
In the vision two columns then emerged from the great ocean. On one was a golden Monstrance with the Holy Eucharist exposed within it. The column was inscribed with the words "Salvation of Believers". The other column held an Image of Mary, the Mother of God, inscribed with the words "The Help of Christians". Here are words which purportedly reflect those actually spoken by the Saint in describing this vision:
"The entire enemy fleet closes in to intercept and sink the flagship at all costs. They bombard it with everything they have: books and pamphlets, incendiary bombs, firearms, cannons. The battle rages ever more furious. Beaked prows ram the flagship again and again, but to no avail, as, unscathed and undaunted, it keeps on its course. At times a formidable ram splinters a gaping hole into its hull, but, immediately, a breeze from the two columns instantly seals the gash.
"Meanwhile, enemy cannons blow up, firearms and beaks fall to pieces, ships crack up and sink to the bottom. In blind fury the enemy takes to hand-to-hand combat, cursing and blaspheming. Suddenly the Pope falls, seriously wounded. He is instantly helped up but, struck down a second time, dies. A shout of victory rises from the enemy and wild rejoicing sweeps their ships. But no sooner is the Pope dead than another takes his place. The captains of the auxiliary ships elected him so quickly that the news of the Pope's death coincides with that of his successor's election. The enemy's self-assurance wanes.
"Breaking through all resistance, the new Pope steers his ship safely between the two columns and moors it to the two columns; first to the one surmounted by the Host, and then to the other, topped by the statue of the Virgin. At this point something unexpected happens. The enemy ships panic and disperse, colliding with and scuttling each other. Some auxiliary ships which had gallantly fought alongside their flagship are the first to tie up at the two columns."
This vision could well describe what is occurring in our own day. We have been blessed with holy successors of Peter who are steering Christ's Church through those two columns in very troubled waters. One, Blessed John Paul II, was even shot - but saved through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin on a Marian Feast day. Both engaged courageously in doing battle with those forces which oppose the Church. Both stood at the helm while steering her safely through the twin poles which certainly stand for orthodoxy (right teaching) and orthopraxy (right practice).
Blessed John Paul II is now in the communion of Saints in the Church triumphant, interceding for the whole Church. His friend and successor, Pope Benedict XVI has continued the mission of providing heroic leadership to the Church. I am convinced he is leading the Church through these turbulent waters into a new missionary age. Throughout the Pontificate of Blessed John Paul II he called for a "New Evangelization." His friend and successor, Pope Benedict XVI, has made this a central pillar of his pontificate.
In a Motu Propio directive (which means issued on his own authority) Pope Benedict established a new dicastery (Vatican Office). It underscored the seriousness with which he views this mission of the New Evangelization. It is specifically tasked with evangelizing countries where the Gospel was announced centuries ago, but where its presence in peoples' daily life seems to be all but lost.
Cultures formerly infused with a Christian culture are now regularly called post-Christian - and understandably so. There is little doubt that Europe, the United States, ...
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