Rivista DMA

Speaking informally to God

Speaking informally to God The great French painter, Henri Matisse, wrote to a friend: “As I do every morning, I am now going to say my prayers , with a pencil in my hand, before a pomegranate tree I am filled permeated with admiration...Is this not a way to pray? In those moments it is God who guides my hand in the drawing”. Having discovered the mystery of God in the miracle of nature, an artist who was apparently far from the faith, understood how prayer is impregnated with life and how much every experience can become prayer. For our Founders, prayer-life, prayer-work were the warp and woof with which they wove into the fabric of each of their days sustained by the personal and community spaces dedicated to the living encounter with the Lord, “with Mary and like Mary, to intensify communion with Him and with others.”

For Don Bosco, living in God’s presence was the first step in prayer and the point of arrival in an existence that unfolded in profound intimacy with God. For Maria Domenica Mazzarello, prayer entered into the heart of every daily event and her style was that of being continually with God: “Let us make every stitch and act of love to God”. It is evident that our Founders referred to Francis de Sales and to Teresa of Avila for whom prayer was “a relation of friendship, a finding self frequently with the loved one”! This was recently emphasized by Pope Benedict XVI during a visit to the parish of Our Lady of Consolation in Rome: “God is not far from us, unknown, enigmatic and, perhaps, dangerous. God is close to us, so close that “we may address this God informally”.

It was a style of relationship that entered into the lives of generations of FMA and also of the young people who breathed the Salesian climate. We remain thoughtful before the witness of Laura Vicuña who, at 13 years of age, affirmed with conviction: “For me, praying and working is the same thing; it is the same with praying or playing, praying or sleeping. By doing what they tell me, I do what God wants me to do, and it is this that I want to do…this is my best prayer. I think that God Himself keeps alive in me the remembrance of His presence.” Prayer nourishes and sustains our living together and our mission among the young people. The more we become persons of prayer, we read in the Plan of Formation, the more we are capable of responsibility and openness to others. Prayer is the breath of the person and embraces all that makes up human life. Praying in the source of joy and of hope; the expression of freedom and love” (cf Guidelines 91) For this reason we are convinced that prayer is the soul of the mission.

Giuseppina Teruggi

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