The Two Pillars
Visit of the relics of St. John Bosco – Impressions of a Heralds Companion On the 5th October 2010 the relics of St. Don Bosco were on display at St. Benedict’s Church in Etobicoke. The relics; which included the bones and tissues of the right hand and arm were placed within a wax replica of St. John Bosco’s body; were on display from 7:30am till 11:30pm.
At 9:30pm after waiting in line for about 15 minutes I was let into the church to view the relics. Walking into the church was quite an experience. The Church was packed with barely a few seats at the back. On the left of the altar was the wax replica of St. John Bosco’s body containing the relics. Around the 3 walls of the church (excluding the altar wall) people were lined up to touch the relics. I sat down at the back of the church, while 2 youth cantors sang hymns of praise. A few moments later we were all asked to kneel down and the cantors sang ‘O Salutaris Hostia’ as youth of the Don Bosco Youth movement came in with candles to light the altar candles. The whole church, all of us, of different races, we were in one voice singing in the language of the Holy Roman church. It was as if for that moment the Tower of Babel never happened.
When all the candles on the altar were lit, a priest came in with the Monstrance containing the Most Blessed Sacrament. The Monstrance was placed on the altar and everyone silently venerated the Blessed Sacrament.
A youth dressed up as St. Don Bosco, wearing black vestments and biretta, went to the microphone and read out one of the dreams of St. Don Bosco. The dream was the vision of the two pillars, where the battle ships are attacking a stately ship. The stately ship is commanded by the Holy Father and is surrounded by the flotilla of ships that protect it from the attacks of the warship. The Holy Father eventually gets wounded and dies and the enemy is rejoicing, but a new Holy Father is elected and he guides the ship safely and moors the ship to the two pillars, on top of one pillar is the Host and atop the other is the Blessed Virgin Mary. I was awestruck because in front of my eyes on the left was the relic of St. Don Bosco and on the right was the Blessed Sacrament. The two pillars! St. Don Bosco used to have a motto ‘to Jesus through Mary’.
We had a time of silent veneration of the Blessed Sacrament again, there was a stillness in the church and yet a kind of electricity a sense of something much bigger. The adoration of the Blessed sacrament continued on with 2 youths giving testimonies of their conversion. Their stories reminded me of yet another dream of St. Don Bosco, his vision of Hell. One night a guide led St. Don Bosco down the broad road to hell, it was a sloping road with many traps. But in between the traps providence had placed knives to break the traps, the knives were the Holy Eucharist, the rosary, devotions to the saints, holy confession etc. Can you imagine, here was Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and the relics of St. Don Bosco, all ways provided by providence to avoid the snares of the evil one. While adoration of the Blessed Sacrament continued, various priests were available for the sacrament of Holy Confession.
Towards the end of the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, we sung ‘Tantum Ergo’ and the divine praises as the Blessed Sacrament was reposed. People were invited to come up to the altar and light their candles as the lights in the church were turned down. Oh how symbolic this was, ‘You are the light of the world, no one puts a light under a basket, you are a city built on a hill.’ We had received the light, from all the lives and teachings saints (St Don Bosco), and from Christ himself. It was a dark rainy night in the city and in St. Benedict’s church we were the light: a light to carry out to the dark world, a light bolstered by the two pillars of the Holy Eucharist and devotion to Our Lady.
After the final hymns of praise, I lined up to touch my rosary to the relic of St. Don Bosco. So that each time I say the holy rosary, I am reminded of the beautiful grace filled evening and that i never forget the two pillars.