J.M.J. On this the Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Mary, ponder this great episode from the life of Saint John Bosco that appeared in Saint John Bosco, Blessed Friend of Youth (pages 184-185) and was recounted in "Never Withhold a Sin During Confession" in the September/October 2015 issue of Crusade Magazine (page 2).
"A fifteen-year-old boy in Turin was about to die. He called for Don Bosco, but the saint was not able to make it in time. Another priest heard the boy's confession and the boy died. When Don Bosco returned to Turin, he set out at once to see the boy. When told that the boy was dead, he insisted that it was 'just a misunderstanding.' After a moment of prayer in the room of the dead child, Don Bosco suddenly cried out: 'Charles! Rise!' To the utter amazement of all present, the boy stirred, open his eyes, and sat up. Seeing Don Bosco, his eyes lit up.
"'Father, I should now be in Hell!' gasped the boy. 'Two weeks ago I was with a bad companion who led me into sin and at my last Confession, I was afraid to tell everything . . . Oh, I've just come out of a horrible dream! I dreamt I was standing on the edge of a horrible pit of flames surrounded by a horde of devils. They were about to throw me into the flames when a beautiful Lady appeared and stopped them. 'There's still hope for you, Charles,' she told me. 'You have not yet been judged!' At that moment I heard you calling me. Oh, Don Bosco! What a joy to see you again! Will you please hear my confession?'
"After hearing the boy's confession, Don Bosco said to the boy, 'Charles, now that the gates of Heaven lie wide open for you, would you rather go there or stay here with us?' The boy looked away for a moment and his eyes grew moist with tears. An expectant hush fell over the room. 'Don Bosco,' he said at last, 'I'd rather go to Heaven.' The mourners watched in amazement as Charles leaned back on the pillows, closed his eyes, and settled once more into the stillness of death."
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Please pray for Bishop Swain today as he thanks God for another year of life.