Saturday, November 10, 2007

A magical portal

Clive Staples Lewis (more popularly known as C.S. Lewis) has created a masterful epic through his series “The Chronicles of Narnia.” In the first book entitled “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” it features a mysterious wardrobe that links our world to that of the magical land of Narnia. It serves as a door towards the world of an unknown, where make-believe is a reality, and magic is extraordinarily banal.

The novitiate, however small this building may be, has also a special portal. It links us to another dimension of the world that allows us to encounter individuals—either living or dead—who lived in various ages of human civilization. This magical portal we call the library.

One consolation that I enjoyed some days upon arriving at the novitiate was the fact that I would be the library in-charge, at least for the next couple of months. Cleaning, putting books in order and even classifying subjects would be my agenda every chores time. Working in the library of the Novitiate sector (it prides itself as the most complete library in the country in terms of Salesianity resources) is not really a work, but more of a journey back to the history of the novitiate in the country, if not of the entire Salesian congregation.

Come to think of it, we have three sets of Biographical Memoirs (Biography of St. John Bosco) in three different languages (Italian, Chinese and English). In our midst, are precious documents that date back to the time of Blessed Michael Rua when he succeeded Don Bosco as the Rector Major. At times, it was tempting not to dust off the shelves, but just merely allow myself to be immersed in devouring the books.

It just feels bad that some documents are precious but they are very exposed to the elements which may speed up their depreciation. Archiving work needs to be done if the provinces (FIN, FIS) concerned are really serious in going back to Don Bosco. One way to prepare for the GC 26 is to value the rich resources that we have, not because of their financial value, but because of the rich heritage that we see in them.