Born in 1815, Saint John Bosco was a man of extraordinary intelligence, charm, and physical strength—gifts he used exclusively to serve his neighbor in tireless efforts to win souls to God, especially those of young boys. He founded the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales, a school and refuge for boys, and, in 1859, the Christian education of youth.
His teaching style was candid, simple but filled with wisdom. We present here what he called “medicine” for the soul. The simplicity and efficacy of these “prescriptions” remind us of those good old-fashioned homemade remedies made by our mothers and grandmothers. They help young and old alike.
Prescription #1: Give God the greatest possible glory and honor Him with your whole soul. If you have a sin on your conscience, remove is as soon as possible by means of a good Confession.
Prescription #2: Never offend anyone. Above all, be willing to serve others. Be more demanding of yourself than of others.
Prescription #3: Do not trust those who have no faith in God and who do not obey His precepts. Those who have no scruples in offending God and who do not give Him what they should will have many fewer scruples in offending you and even betraying you when it is convenient for them.
Prescription #4: If you do not wish to be ruined, never spend more than you earn. You should bear this in mind and always measure your true possibilities accurately.
Prescription #5: Be humble. Speak little of yourself and never praise yourself before anyone. He who praises himself, even if he has real merit, risks losing the good opinion of others. He who seeks only praise and honors is sure to have an empty head fed only by wind… will have no peace of soul and will be unreliable in his undertakings.
Prescription #6: Carry your cross on your back and take is as it comes, small or large, whether from friends or enemies and of whatever wood it be made. The most intelligent and happiest of men is he who, knowing that he is doomed to carry the cross throughout life, willingly and resignedly accepts the one God sends him.
Promise of Happiness
Don Bosco concludes: “Dear friend, I am a man who loves joy and who, therefore wishes to see you and everybody happy. If you do as I say, you will be joyful and glad in heart.”