Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Time for a Miracle -- Novena Day Seven


It probably doesn't occur to many people in the United States, that the first of July is a pretty significant date for our neighbor to the north:  Canada Day!  Just three days separate the births of our two nations, but Independence Day definitely gets a lot more attention here -- and rightly so.  

The same three days separate the deaths of Pier Giorgio Frassati and his grandmother Linda Ametis.  If you haven't yet read the book, "My Brother Pier Giorgio: His Last Days" by Luciana Frassati, you may not be aware of the connection.  Because of his grandmother's illness and death, Pier Giorgio's illness didn't get much attention -- until it was too late.

On May 26, 1925,  Pier Giorgio wrote to his friend Marco Beltramo:  "Again I ask you to pray for my Grandmother, who unfortunately is not at all well, luckily it’s nothing serious right now but at 86 years of age her condition can change from one moment to the next."  Ten days later, he wrote again, "Please pray for my grandmother who is still not well."  For two months, the family dealt with her near-death crises and recoveries. It took a toll on the household, especially Pier Giorgio's mother.  

Pier Giorgio's fatal encounter with polio began about June 29th.  In addition to his illness, he was preoccupied with concern for his grandmother.  According to his sister Luciana, when Pier Giorgio learned his grandmother was about to die, he wrapped himself in a blanket, knelt by her bed and prayed the rosary. His grandmother recognized him and embraced him.  That evening, around 10 p.m., he was awakened and told her condition was worse.  He dragged himself to her bedroom and stayed on his knees until she passed away. It was the first of July. 

The funeral for his grandmother was held on July 3rd.  At the last minute, because of exhaustion, Mrs. Frassati decided to remain at home in Turin and not go to the cemetery in Pollone for her mother's burial.  Instead, she went to check on Pier Giorgio.  It was not until this point that the gravity of his condition was discovered.  The next evening, on the fourth of July, he went to his eternal reward.  

Two years earlier, Pier Giorgio had written to his friend Antonio Villani, 
"Since one does not know when Death will come to take him away, it is very prudent to prepare oneself every day as if one is going to die that same day; and so from now on I will try to make every day a little preparation for death, so that I shouldn’t find myself unprepared at the point of death and have to regret the beautiful years of youth, wasted from the spiritual side."  (July 19, 1923)
The rarely sung fourth verse of the Canadian National Anthem has a strikingly similar theme:  
"Ruler supreme, who hearest humble prayer /Hold our Dominion in thy loving care / Help us to find, O God, in thee / A lasting, rich reward / As waiting for the better Day / We ever stand on guard."
With people around the world now praying a novena in honor of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, we can safely say that he did not waste the years of his youth from the spiritual side.  He stood on guard and received his lasting, rich reward -- one that we will celebrate in three more days.  

Verso l'alto!


No comments: