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Lent reflection - Happiness in the holiness of the young




Our reflections this Lent are based on the Strenna (or gift) of the Rector Major for 2019 - 'Holiness for you too'. We present extracts from his commentary on the Strenna, and thoughts on holiness from members of the Salesian Family, along with scripture readings and prayers for you to pray and reflect on during each week of the Lenten season.

This week, on International Day of Happiness, Theo and George, volunteers on the Savio House Retreat Team, write about where they see holiness and happiness in their work with the young. Photo: the Savio House Team 2018-18.

My idea of holiness isn’t exactly portrayed within myself; for me, it’s highlighted within the youth that I get to spend my time with.

My work as a youth volunteer centres around helping them see what they are and how much they are loved by God, and I think that when they truly realise this, it feeds back to me and affects my own idea of holiness. My role allows me to see the unique relationship between the young and God, and the more I can see it develop, the stronger my own happiness becomes.



Holiness for me, comes from having a palpable and profound change on a young person’s life, resulting in transformation. Furthermore, it comes from being a instrument of God’s love to the people we work with, and by being a representation of God’s love, virtues and message. This is what we are asked, as Christians. Happiness again comes from seeing the effect that our work (and by extension of course, God’s work) has had - a transformative effect or even just a tiny change. To do the ordinary in an extraordinary way is to bring happiness.




If you would like to support the work of Savio House, please consider making a donation through their JustGiving page. If you'd like to becopme a volunteer, or arrange a retreat for young people, take a look at the Savio House website.


Fr Ángel on the Strenna



The proposal of holiness is addressed to every Christian because it is the fullness of life and synonymous with happiness, with blessedness. We Christians find happiness when we follow Jesus Christ.


And Pope Francis told young people that happiness is not negotiable, that they should not allow any reduction in their expectations so that in the end happiness is not ensured in any genuine and serious way, but only as something that can be experienced in “small doses,” that, as so often happens, does not last, and naturally is not true happiness, nor does it bring full human satisfaction: “Your happiness has no price. It cannot be bought; it is not an app that you can download on your phones.”


At the beginning of his letter from Rome on May 10, 1884, Don Bosco writes to his boys: “I have only one wish: to see you happy both in time and in eternity.”


At the end of his life on earth these words sum up the heart of his message to young people of every age and of the whole world. He wants them to be happy, as a goal that every young person dreams of, today, tomorrow, always. But not just that. “In eternity” is that extra that only Jesus and his proposal of happiness, which is holiness, can offer. It is the answer to the deep thirst for “forever” that burns in the heart of every young person.


The world, the society of all nations, has no way to offer this “forever” or eternal happiness. But God can.


For Don Bosco all this was very clear, and he was able to sow in the hearts of his boys the strong desire to become saints, to live for God, and to reach paradise.




Psalm 37: 6-8

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this:

He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret - it leads only to evil.




God our Father,

Never let us forget that holiness brings lasting and real happiness.

Thank you for the wonderful opportunity of working with the young. Help us to guide them with good humour during the difficult times of their lives, and when we ourselves are struggling, let us be inspired by the natural joy of young people.






Last modified on Wednesday, 20 March 2019 10:59


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