Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Reason no. 23 why I remain Catholic: Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati

This post will not do justice to this saint. He was a young man, from a wealthy family in Turin, Italy. He was involved in many activities both within and outside the Church. He was a normal young man to most: loved skiing, study at the Politecnico. But no one knew that he was living a virtuous life helping the poor.

What I love about Pier Giorgio is the fact that he lived a life like most young people. He was very active in the things of his time. Yet, he was a pious young man who attended daily mass. He would even make time to attend daily Mass before taking the train out to go skiing. He would take his allowance and purchase medicine or food for the poor of Turin.

I remember the first day of teaching at a local high school in Miami. I had placed a poster of Pier Giorgio in my classroom and many of the young people who walked in would inquire as to who this young guy was. He was good looking and just had a look about him that he would be a good friend.

When I told them that he was beatified by St. John Paul II, they did not believe me. It is really beautiful to see holiness in such a real way. This young man made holiness achievable. He made holiness look "cool".

There is so much more to say about Pier Giorgio Frassati but the best way to describe his life and his love for Jesus was something he liked to say: "Verso l'alto" which translates from Italian to "To the heights" and that is exactly the way he lived. He lived his life, despite his circumstances of wealth and a cold upbringing, always striving for the heights of holiness and love of his neighbor because he loved Jesus.

The proof to this was the day of his funeral procession, the poor from all over Turin gathered to pay homage to this great young man. His parents expected his friends and all of the elite of Turin and to their surprise, they say hundreds of poor gather for the sake of their friend Pier Giorgio.

To learn more about Pier Giorgio, go here.

"Heavenly Father,
Give me the courage to strive for the highest goals,
to flee every temptation to be mediocre.
Enable me to aspire to greatness, as Pier Giorgio did,
and to open my heart with joy to Your call to holiness.
Free me from the fear of failure.
I want to be, Lord, firmly and forever united to You.
Grant me the graces I ask You through Pier Giorgio's intercession,
by the merits of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Disclaimer: photo and prayer courtesy of Frassati USA

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