Salesian Meditation: A Perennial Source of Energy for Spiritual Renewal

03 Jul 2018

(ANS – Rome – July 2) – A few weeks after the study seminar on Salesian meditation, which took place at St. Callistus, May 10-12, the Formation Department returns to re-examine the meaning of that event and the steps to be taken to rediscover and live an element of Salesian spirituality that Don Bosco and his successors have always indicated as fundamental and vital.

During the seminar, Fr. Ivo Coelho, general councilor for formation, the team of his department, and five other Salesian experts in the field first compared and discussed each individual’s experience of daily meditation and then examined personal experiences in the light of Salesian tradition.

At the end of the seminar, Fr. Coelho collected the salient elements of this intense occasion for reflection.

Points discussed, or that emerged:

— It was amazing to see how much Don Bosco and the first generation of Salesians insisted on meditation. See Don Bosco’s additions in the Italian edition of the Constitutions, the attention and focus given by Fr. Barberis in teaching novices the why and the how of meditation, and the insistence on meditation of Fr. Philip Rinaldi.

— If you are convinced of the value that meditation has in your life, you are certainly more inclined to be faithful to meditation itself and to learn how to grow increasingly more in the way you live and experience meditation. Perseverance, too, is of the utmost importance, a word often found on the lips of Jesus and in the New Testament. We must learn to pray by praying, and it is important to “be there,” day by day, for meditation.

— Good meditation echoes and reverberates throughout one’s day, gradually overcoming the “parallelism” of our daily activities. Conversely, meditation leads to the unification of our practices of piety, the sacraments, life, work, etc. The fruits of meditation are seen in the transformation of life that takes place.

— Currently many have little or no initiation to meditation; hence, increasing pedagogical formation and training is vital.

— An e-book is being prepared with the seminar material, and other initiatives will be launched during the meetings of the regional formation commissions.

Finally, what emerged is that there is an interest in meditation, in prayer – especially for this form that is such a Salesian form of praying together, united by the silence of listening – probably much more intense and widespread than one might, indeed, imagine.

Once sent, Fr. Coelho’s letter, in fact, received a surprising response from many Salesians from all the regions, who asked and encouraged that there be further studies, a greater and deeper journey into the field of meditation.