Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Three Years and Counting!

Today is a special day here at FrassatiUSA. It was just three years ago on this day that the website was launched and Pier Giorgio's message was sent forth into cyber world! Hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the United States and more than 120 countries have been to the site. I didn't even know there were that many countries with English-speaking people and internet access!

What a privilege it is to hear from people all over the world who have found Pier Giorgio through the site. It's a simple website with not many bells and whistles but it is a thrill to see how it is making a difference. A big thank you to our donors who keep us going and help us bring Pier Giorgio to the world. Verso l'alto!

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Conversion of Saint Paul

Today's feast is one that always inspires me. Paul, a great persecutor of the followers of Christ, becomes, in a moment of blindness, the greatest evangelist for Christ. The conversion of Paul is so dramatic and life-changing. It is a story that gives hope to those of us who need conversion in various areas of our lives. How fitting that the Church celebrates this feast in January -- the month for making (and often quickly breaking) resolutions.

I'm no theologian and have no profound thoughts to offer. I just love that the method Christ uses to permeate Paul's life is to strike him blind. To fully see, in other words, has little to do with our physical eyesight. And when Paul asks the Lord what he should do, the answer is a simple step: "Get up and go into Damascus." Paul, being blinded, can't find his way alone and so, Scripture tells us, he is led by hand by his companions. (Acts 22:10-11) How gentle the Lord works with Paul and uses his friends and even his former enemies to bring him to the understanding of how he would become a great instrument for the Lord.

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati did not have a conversion experience like Paul. From his childhood, he was disposed to love God and that love grew until the moment of his death. And yet, Saint Paul was his favorite saint and model for charity. Despite their different paths, these holy men had a common denominator underlying their spirituality; that is, the understanding that God is love and the love of God compels us to love one another.

On January 15, 1925, Pier Giorgio wrote to his best friend Marco Beltramo, "In the world which has distanced itself from God, there is a lack of Peace, but there is also a lack of Charity that is true and perfect Love. Maybe if all of listened more to St. Paul, human miseries would be slightly diminished."

Today, as we mark the feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, it would be an excellent day to listen more to him, to sharpen our resolve to perform acts of charity, to remind ourselves that we can break free from our sinful ways and live for Christ, to seek the blindness that enlightens us.

Friday, January 22, 2010

37 Years - 51 Million Lives

Today is a day that I find both reprehensible and incomprehensible -- the 37th anniversary of the infamous Supreme Court opinion legalizing the killing of the innocent unborn child in our country. By modest estimates, we have now extinguished more than 51 million lives and counting. I am not able to be at the March for Life this year but am grateful for that loving, peaceful presence of the multitudes that will attend. Last year, I met a group ("Voglio Vivere") that had come from Italy as well as members of the French delegation who reminded me that this is a worldwide issue and we all stand united. One of my favorite quotes of the late, great Pope John Paul II has been on my bulletin board for years to challenge me daily. During a visit to the U.S., in front of a crowd of hundreds of thousands, he boldly proclaimed: "We will stand up every time that human life is threatened. When the sacredness of life before birth is attacked, we will stand up and proclaim that no one ever has the authority to destroy unborn life!" This is an important day to stand up. Where do you stand?