Monday, July 21, 2008

What Difference Will You Make?

"What will you leave to the next generation? Are you building your lives on firm foundations, building something that will endure? Are you living your lives in a way that opens up space for the Spirit in the midst of a world that wants to forget God, or even rejects him in the name of a falsely-conceived freedom? How are you using the gifts you have been given, the 'power' which the Holy Spirit is even now prepared to release within you? What legacy will you leave to young people yet to come? What difference will you make?"

This was a powerful challenge given to the youth of the world by Pope Benedict XVI during the World Youth Day closing Mass in Australia on Sunday morning. It is something for all of us to think about...what difference do I make? Maybe a question that goes along with that one is "how do I make a difference?" Sometimes we can make excuses for not doing our best in life by comparing ourselves to the gifts and talents of others and rationalizing that we cannot really make a difference because we are not as equally gifted or talented. But this is just one of the devil's methods of trickery. God has given to us all the great theological virtues of faith, hope and charity. Exercising these virtues is all it takes to make a tremendous difference in the world. This is something Pier Giorgio Frassati's life shows us. He simply went about his daily life living out the virtue of charity one act at a time. That is something we all can do.

I have been reading a lot of wonderful testimonies of people who were so moved by the opportunity to pray in front of Pier Giorgio's coffin in Sydney. The exhibit dedicated to him told the simple story of his life. Maybe it moves people so much because the story is our own. We all have difficulties and struggles and secret pain, as Pier Giorgio did. And like him, we can all respond to God's grace with faith and hope and love. He shows us that holiness is for each one of us and that true riches come from a life lived for God.

Watching the World Youth Day Mass on television was so inspiring to me that I could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in the air. I remembered back to hearing the great Pope John Paul II giving a great commission to all of us at Denver years ago to go out and live life to its fullest for Christ. We were challenged again yesterday by Pope Benedict in the same way: "Do not be afraid to say 'yes' to Jesus, to find your joy in doing his will, giving yourself completely to the pursuit of holiness, and using all your talents in the service of others!"

This is all it takes to make a difference. Be fearless and be God's. Verso l'alto!

21 comments:

Catherine-Lucia said...

thank you for posting that. it moved me very much. :)

Caroline said...

Yes, I love that speech, I watched it on EWTN. I was pretty much glued to the TV throughout all of World Youth Day. Although I wasn't there, it still amazed me and I caught the infectious, joyfull spirit of the pilgrims and enjoyed every minute of what I saw. I even stayed up till about 2 a.m. to find out where the next World Youth Day is going to be! Hahaha. (It's going to be in Madrid, Spain, and I am NOT going to miss it. I plan on being there!)

Catherine-Lucia said...

Hopefully I will be in Madrid, too! :D

Caroline said...

Hey, we should meet up! Hehe. ;) I'm hoping I can go with my Frassati Society (which by the way, I made a really cool flyer for and we're ironing out the plans for it now).

Catherine-Lucia said...

That would be amazing (about meeting up ;) and about the Frassati Society). The answer I got from my pastor was yes and no. Yes, start it on my own, but no, not church-affiliated...YET. That promising word YET! So I am hoping to get started when the school year begins. Everything is so busy right now for me--lots of summer work etc. and I don't want to rush it, you know what I mean?

Caroline said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Caroline said...

Both sure would be amazing!!! I wanna get a big banner with our Society's logo (probably just a picture of Pier Giorgio with the name of our society) to take with us. Hehe.

Wow, that's great! We're starting the society on our own right now, too. I'm homeschooled, and I know a lot of homeschoolers who would be interested in it so we're limiting it to homeschoolers (until/if we get regualr school kids interested). Because of that, we have to do it oursevles and not with the parish (since there are basically no homeschooled kids in the youth groups at my parish). But we still plan on telling my pastor about what we're doing and get his support and advice.

Oh!!! And guess what? This is switching gears a bit, but I have to tell you.... yesterday, after like- three or four months of waiting, I got my relic from Rome!!! (a little piece of the coffin they used for Pier Giorgio's funeral) You can see what it looks like here. http://www.frassatiusa.org/index.cfm?load=page&page=321
After all that time, I wasn't sure if it was coming, but Pier Giorgio pulled through! (I said a couple of novenas to him while I waited) Along with the relic, I recieved a bunch of holy cards, including one that could be a bookmark, but it has a picture of Pier Giorgio on it that you don't see very often. It's in a different language, so I don't know what it says, but it's a quote from him. I'll try scanning in a copy to show you somehow...

Caroline said...

Here's the link to the scan of the bookmark (I put it on photobucket):
http://i280.photobucket.com/albums/kk168/cari103117/PGBookmark.jpg

Chris said...

That is great news that your relic arrived! I was wondering how long it would take. I think your bookmarker is Slovak. The Dominicans in Slovakia have started a Frassati Society. (I think the Link is on the website in the Frassati Societies section but needs added to the blog list.)

Catherine-Lucia said...

I did my best to get the bookmark translated but unfortunately “Sám neurobíš nič, ale ak Boh bude stredom tvojej činnosti, dosiahneš všetko.” is either not Slovak or not able to be translated online, so, unfortunately, I couldn't :( but the part in the corner clearly says "Dominican laity"! ;)

For me, my relic of Pier Giorgio is the imprint he has left on my spirituality. And hopefully one day I will take the same scapular as he did as a member of the Dominican laity! (Those darn age limits!)

;) I have good news though. Since my dad is looking for a new job right now I don't know, but if he gets a good one, my mom is totally on board for taking my sister and I to World Youth Day. Even better news? My sister wants to be Confirmed in Pier Giorgio's name! Confirming using a Blessed's name has only happened once at our parish (last year with Bl. Teresa of Calcutta) so this is kind of a big deal. Yay. :) I am very very VERY happy about it!

Catherine-Lucia said...

also, out of curiosity, caroline--how did you have the opportunity to receive a relic of Bl. Pier Giorgio?

Caroline said...

Hmm, darn. I wish I could know what quote it is... ah well.

Really? That's great, Catherine-Lucia!!! I'll pray for you and your dad that he gets the job! I can't wait for World Youth day... when I went to the library yesterday, I got books on Spain so I can see what it's like. ;)

Wow- that's so awesome about your sister!!!... I want to take his name too, but I didn't know if girls were aloud to take a male patron's name. I assume you are, then? Or does it depend on your parish?

Well, really I recieved my relic thanks to Chris. (Thank you so much, Chris!!!) She gave me the address of the sister in Rome who is in charge of distibuting relics. So I wrote to her (using on online translator since I don't speak Italian) and sent a $40.00 donation. (Yes, I sent cash!!! I know it was crazy, but we wouldve had to travel kind of far to get to a bank that could issue the right kind of check for us, and the fee for issuing such a check was rather steep- and even then there was no guarantee they would be able to use it there in Italy. So, I entrusted the sending of the letter and money to Pier Giorgio, and my guardian angel.)
So... yes. I hope that answers your question. I can give you the address, if you like.

Catherine-Lucia said...

Aha! I have translated some of the words from the bookmark online.

Sam: COULD MEAN ‘alone’ or ‘only’
neurobis: ??
ale: but/yet/while, etc.
ak: if/should
Boh: God
bude: will
stredom: centre
tvojej: ???
cinnosti: ???
dosiahnes: achievement, grasp
vsetko: ??

From the nature of the grammar, etc. that all of these words presented, though, I've deduced that this is the Slovak equivalent of "if you have God as the center of all your action,then you will reach the goal." Which would be more like a half-quote but you know what I mean. :)

Hope that helps!

I'm so excited for World Youth Day to be in Spain. I am well acquainted with Spain through the culture, literature, language, but most of all the SOCCER ;) so I know a fair bit about it even though I've never been! lol! I love it though. Plus it is an area that could use some good old Catholic-youth-partaying.

Girls can take male names at Confirmation, but guys usually can't take female names (unless it's Mary). But you should check with your pastor, because that changes parish to parish sometimes. The issue is not usually the male/female but the saint/blessed so you should ask to be sure.

How cool about the relic! it's really nice of you to explain. I'd love it if you could tell me the address. Thank you so much. I would love to have the presence of Pier Giorgio with me, but more importantly for my younger sister as she is just beginning her Confirmation preparation (we confirm in 8th; she's in 7th, which is the first year of super-intense--but in a good way!-- religion classes).

Caroline said...

Wow!!! That's awesome, Catherine-Lucia!!! Yeah, that helps a lot! Thanks!

I know! I can't wait! I'm going to take my relic with me, maybe in a small reliquary of some sort, so people can see it and ask me about it and I can tell them about Pier Giorgio.

Really? Yesssss. *air punch* lol. Yeah, I'll definitely ask my pastor about that... maybe after we show him the plans for our Frassati Society so he'll be more warmed up to the idea. Hahaha!

Yeah, sure, no problem! Here's the address:

Sr. Maria Grazia Soleti, O.P.
Monastero Claustrale Domenicano
Santa Maria del Rosario
Via Alberto Cadlolo, 51
00136 Roma
ITALY

The suggested donation per relic plus postage and handling charges is $35 made on an Official Bank Check. I personally included $40 instead of $35 to cover the cost of having the money converted. But that was because I sent cash. If you get a check, then they don't need to convert anything. And make sure and write in Italian. (You probably knew that, but I gotta make sure) Since you're translating it, make sure you make it short and sweet, using simple words, and translate the Italian version back to English to make sure it's ok. My first draft of my letter kept calling Pier Giorgio "pillar george" and then it was saying something about there being a sundae in back of the sister I was writing to!!! I was practically rolling on the floor laughing at some of the odd ways it translated it, let me tell you.

Catherine-Lucia said...

No problem whatsoever on the Slovak translation. I love that kind of stuff anyway. :)

THANK YOU for the address. I am forever in awe of your awesomeness Caroline. ;)

Caroline said...

Me??? Hahahahaha!!! Awwww, shucks, it was nothing. Hope you get a relic! xP =3

I made a movie to show at our first meeting (September 5th) today! It took a few hours, but boy was it worth it. I've got a bunch of pictures and quotes of Pier Giorgio, as well as Pope John Paull II on Pier Giorgio. It's the the song "Recieve the Power" by Guy Sebastian. (The World Youth Day 2008 theme song)
Speaking of the video, Chris, is it ok that I used sections of the biography of Pier Giorgio that you have on the website? At the end of the video, I put "(biography adapted from www.FrassatiUSA.org)

Catherine-Lucia said...

YOU MADE A MOVIE?!

I am still in awe. How do you do it? lol. Congratulations. That's really cool. :)

Chris said...

Caroline,
I don't mind if you use the text from the FrassatiUSA website as long as you give the proper credit/citation. As for the pictures, nearly every Pier Giorgio picture is copyright protected by the Associazione Pier Giorgio Frassati in Rome. If you are using your video for personal purposes only, that should be okay.

Caroline said...

Hahahaha, well, yeah, using windows movie maker. I have to say, it came out pretty beautifully. But I credit that to the Holy Spirit and to Pier Giorgio, since they were the ones who showed me what to do. (assuming Pier Giorgio doesn't mind me using his copyrighted pictures!!!)

The proper citation? Is "biography adapted from www.FrassatiUSA.org" enough?
Oh. Gosh, I didn't know that! I should have thought of it though... well, I think you could classify my video as being personal, since I'm only showing it to out society members at the first meeting. That's ok, isn't it?

Catherine-Lucia said...

still impressive ;)

MJ Spaghetti said...

Dear Brothers and Sisters, My name's Irene, I'm Italian and I consider Pier Giorgio a friend and a pure guide and a great example and inspiration. I feel is giving me his noble and strong arm to support me in this very very difficult moment i'm living.

Please, don't hesitate to contact me if you need some translations of Italian material regarding Pier Giorgio, since online translators are not always helpful. You can write me to exchange opionion or to ask for prayers. My address is: abandonedspaghetti@gmail.com

Please, if you want, remember my mother Anna Maria in your prayers. She will start the chemotherapy in a few days.

God Bless you All, Pier Giorgio's Friends!

Irene