For Don Bosco love for Jesus Christ necessarily gives rise to love for the Church by working assiduously for its growth as well as fidelity to the Pope, to his teachings and to the bishops of the Church. He exhorted his Salesians that “no effort should be spared when the Church and the Papacy are at stake”.
Don Bosco saw Mary as the powerful ‘Help of Christians’ who helps her children daily, going to their rescue and leading them to Jesus. She is the defender of the Church and the Pope from every kind of danger. This is why in the Salesian spirituality the daily recitation of the Rosary is not only an element of Marian devotion, but above all the contemplation of Jesus in the mysteries of his saving Incarnation.
Salesian spirituality seeks to meet God in ordinary daily life through exact fulfilment of one’s own duties. Praying and living are spontaneously united. Salesian prayer is joyful and creative, simple and profound. Don Bosco was so passionate about the Eucharist that he encouraged frequent communion and short but frequent visits to the Blessed Sacrament. For him, Confession and the Eucharist were the two sacraments that inculcated, especially in young people, Christian virtues and holiness.
Salesian spirituality is at once contemplative and active. It is joyful and optimistic. For Don Bosco joy was a form of life, an evangelical constant that gives rise to happiness and optimism. For him, “serve the Lord in holy joy” was the 11th commandment. St. Dominic Savio told a newcomer in the Oratory: “Here we make holiness consist in being cheerful.” Hence, there is no place for corporal punishments and violence, no place for toxic harshness or the arrogance. It strives to win hearts. “Strive to make yourself loved”, advised Don Bosco to Fr. Michael Rua.