A Salesian Way of Life
David O'Malley SDB
Paperback portrait 118mm x 174mm
What a treasure! An appreciation from AustralAsia Salesians. A Salesian Way of Life One of the really 'great little' Salesian Publishing Houses in the world is Don Bosco Publications, UK. They keep coming up with ideas that meet the needs of the masses. They manage to 'translate' Salesian spirituality out of what can sometimes sound like hagiographical hogwash - at least for the ordinary and uninitiated. The latest effort, A Salesian Way of Life is a real treasure. The best 43 pages for the least handful of cents (or pennies) you are likely to spend for a while. We know that a 'Rule of Life' is common to religious communities, with roots going back to Benedict and other 'Greats'. But a 'Rule' might still be off-putting for some today, so it was an inspired little touch to come out with A Salesian Way of Life, and as the author, Fr David O'Malley, describes it, not far into this brief but profound and inviting invitation to 'be Salesian' whoever you are, whatever gender, faith background ... "This small book uses the word 'Way' in its title. In some respects it resembles the first part of the Rule of Life followed by vowed Salesians. It is not a list of rules but a way of living ..."Not so different in dimensions (though not in thickness) from the Salesian Constitutions and Regulations, in bottle green rather than the burnt sienna, it even mirrors certain aspects of the latter, the emblematic picture of Don Bosco handing over the Constitutions to the 1875 first missionary expedition, and a little appendix with Don Bosco's signature 'borrowed' from the Letter from Rome which includes just a daily prayer, a picture of the Salesian Coat of Arms, and an extract from his circular On Good Books. In some ways, if you have seen an actual copy of one of Don Bosco's 'Catholic Readings', it is about that size and maybe it has much the same purpose, really, to bolster the faith of ordinary people. Other than Don Bosco, who simply shines through the pages without the need to hammer his name at every turn, we find this work dedicated to Margaret, his mother, and Francis de Sales, along with Jane for that matter - and here, in a simple way, the book will immediately appeal to women too.The similarities with the Salesian Constitutions at a physical level probably stop here but not at the level of 'deep content' inasmuch as the substance of the Rule of Life are translated into the Way of Life. It's all there: presence, moved by an inner spirit, a worldwide network, awakening a family likeness ... a Gospel pathway, Mary ... but you immediately notice how Salesian spirituality has been translated into vibrant, normal English - a rare treat indeed!Here's a little passage, just by way of example, since 'loving kindness' is a typical and central Salesian virtue and practice and it might be good to see how it is handled: The only proper response to this presence living within you and in those around you are gratitude and loving kindness.Gratitude opens you up to receive a family spirit moving in all people and in creation.Loving kindness becomes the outward sign of the respect for this sacred presence living at the heart of all people;it breaks through the isolation of all individuals and builds community. We all know that our Salesian Way of Life is a treasure, but what a real treasure to find it so masterfully presented for a wide range of human beings. The SDB will see his Rule jumping out at him at every point - some of the words, phrases, and certainly concepts; the lay person does not need that background, he or she is simply invited in and made to feel at home. As the author says "It is a small contribution to the renewal of Salesian spirituality as we celebrate Don Bosco's Bicentenary."