To make substantial spiritual progress, St. Dominic Savio’s desire must become our desire. It starts with throwing out the spirit of mediocrity in the spiritual life that seems to pervade the average lay person’s thoughts. The devil craves for us to live there, in this sort of complacent, lukewarm place where we are neither hot nor cold, like a race car idling on the track. Our Lord proclaims the opposite, “I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled!” (Luke 12:49).
Don Bosco didn’t try to discourage Dominic Savio’s eagerness because of his youth, nor did he withhold the reality of the long, at times difficult, road ahead. Rather, he embraced that desire and ignited it, handing him a burning torch from one heart on fire to another! Don Bosco proceeded to teach Dominic Savio and his other apprentices three fundamental beliefs:
1. It’s God’s will that each one of you should become a saint. 2. It’s easy to become a saint. 3. There is great reward in Heaven for those who try.
Let’s ponder each of these more deeply.
It’s God’s will that each one of you should become a saint. It is absolutely critical that we understand this universally as well as personally. As we’ve stated, it’s not just his will for you but also his burning desire! If we never grasp this gift and take hold of our inheritance, then by nature something went terribly wrong.
It’s easy to become a saint. Excuse me, come again? Of all the things in life that come to mind as considered “easy”, sainthood doesn’t usually show up at the top of the list. Diving deeper, Don Bosco tells us:
1. Do ordinary things in an extraordinary way. 2. Accept what the day brings you.
Well, let’s give Don Bosco this...those concepts sound easy and simple from the standpoint of not being complex. Easy to understand, but not always so easy to live. In fact, sometimes the simplest of things can be the most difficult.
There is great reward in Heaven for those who try. As we’ve mentioned, the process may be messy. To be a little more bold in my assertion...the process will be messy. We will rise and fall over and over again. Life will bring about both interior and exterior trials, as we are tempted, pruned, wounded, scourged, heartbroken, and even tormented. But don’t get me wrong, this adventure will also be glorious! We will grow closer to God as we come to know and experience his love. Our souls will experience tastes of Heaven even here on earth; our hearts delighting in treasures the world simply cannot offer. Becoming spiritually richer than even the richest man and wiser than any human wisdom, we will develop a peace and joy that “surpasses all understanding” (Phil 4:7). Dominic Savio understood this well as he proclaimed, “I will not have any peace if I don’t keep on trying!” Even if we fall short in our honest and sincere attempt to reach heroic sanctity in this life, the reward will be great in Heaven. But it can also be great here on earth!
The Lord patiently waits to enter into your life and take the ordinary things you do and make them extraordinary. “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor 2:9).
This journey is about you. It’s about all the love the Father wishes to generously lavish upon you. It’s about all the wonderful things the Father wishes to accomplish through you. He will surely pour out extraordinary graces for those who love him, those whose hearts burn with a sincere and humble desire.
Don Bosco challenges us to do ordinary things in an extraordinary way. Over time, new habits are formed and our perspective of the world begins to change. As Pope Pius XI so simply yet profoundly professed, “In Don Bosco, the extraordinary becomes ordinary.”