A Young Man of Heroic Virtue

smiling-frassati

If we take the time to investigate, it is not difficult to find models for the youth of today – for example, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati.  He lived a joyful, pure and authentic Christian manhood.  His brief life was one of self-giving.  Young men, be inspired.  Young women, be hopeful.

St. Irenaeus, one of the Church Fathers, once said “The glory of God is manfully alive”.  To be “fully alive” is to be alive in Christ and radiant with love – not to be an “undead” bad boy!  (Did you ever notice that “Cullen” rhymes with “sullen”?)  When we are filled with love, we are driven outside of the realm of selfishness.  Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati exemplified this truth.  His life was so good, his love was so pure and his generosity so sincere that today, more than 80 years after his death, his body remains incorrupt.  Many Saints’ bodies have been found incorrupt years after their death. This is a miracle- a gift from God who has power over life, death and decay.  Jesus said in the Gospel of John: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn. 10:10) 

Here is an introduction to his life:

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati is a saint for the modern world, and especially for the young people of our time. Born in 1901 in Turin, Italy, his time on earth was short-only 24 years-but he filled it passionately with holy living. Pier Giorgio was a model of virtue, a “man of the beatitudes,” as Pope John Paul II called him at the saint’s beatification ceremony in Rome on May 20, 1990. He was described by friends as “an explosion of joy.” As Pier Giorgio’s sister, Luciana, says of her brother in her biography of him, “He represented the finest in Christian youth: pure, happy, enthusiastic about everything that is good and beautiful.”

To our modern world which is often burdened by cynicism and angst, Pier Giorgio’s life offers a brilliant contrast, a life rich in meaning, purpose, and peace derived from faith in God. From the earliest age, and despite two unreligious parents who misunderstood and disapproved of his piety and intense interest in Catholicism, Pier Giorgio placed Christ first in all that he did. These parental misunderstandings, which were very painful to him, persisted until the day of his sudden death of polio. However, he bore this treatment patiently, silently, and with great love.

Pier Giorgio prayed daily, offering, among other prayers, a daily rosary on his knees by his bedside. Often his agnostic father would find him asleep in this position. “He gave his whole self, both in prayer and in action, in service to Christ,” Luciana Frassati writes. After Pier Giorgio began to attend Jesuit school as a boy, he received a rare permission in those days to take communion daily. “Sometimes he passed whole nights in Eucharistic adoration.” For Pier Giorgio, Christ was the answer. Therefore, all of his action was oriented toward Christ and began first in contemplation of Him…

Read more of this biography here
: http://www.3op.org/frassati.php 
And for further information on Blessed Pier Giorgio and the young people inspired by him, click here:

http://www.frassatiusa.org/

Fascinating information on incorruptables can be read here:

http://www.overcomeproblems.com/incorruptables.htm

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9 Comments

  1. I feel like I”m stalking you… I’m from your anti twilight post…

    Anyway – to find a model of a man, you had to go back, oh about seventy years.

    While I’m pretty sure that they’ll come around a bit more often, there aren’t quite enough perfect men to go around. They’re in short supply – everyone wants one!

    So, I think I’ll settle a “decent” man, if/when I find one that’s available and interested.

    Not to mention – it didn’t say in the article whether or not this person married. So it doesn’t really matter if there is a perfect guy if he isn’t looking for a girl… ;P

    Now I feel like a horrible person :(… I’m not trying to be mean… But I LOVE Twilight – and all is fair in love and war.

    I admire the fact that you are trying to be such a good, Christian person. But – it just isn’t feasible for everyone. And you insulted Twilght.

    Still, I’m sorry.

  2. @Teenage girl: My sentiments exactly. Whoever writes this crap is a naive idealist. There aren’t that many perfect men out there, nor are there many perfect women. I too, find it amusing that you had to go back many decades to find the “perfect man.” The Bible says that no one is perfect anyway, so I’m sure dear Giorgio had some ugly little secrets tucked away somewhere. I’m not judging; everyone does, including myself. But marriage, real marriage that is, is about finding someone who is perfect for you, yes, but not someone who you will never fight with. If you do find someone who shows true unconditional love, you’re either very lucky or you’ve just found yourself an insecure, dysfunctional spouse. The latter is much more likely.

    @OP: The fact that you believe in incorruptible corpses shows that you are, beyond a sliver of a doubt, insane. You Catholics have added so much garbage to Biblical teaching, which is a sin, and yet many of you haughtily claim to be the “one true faith.” Your arrogance (another sin) is astounding. You have condemned Mormons for their belief in the apocryphal teachings of Joseph Smith, yet you worship false idols (yet another sin), acknowledge your own apocryphal set of Scripture, and believe in utter nonsense with ABSOLUTELY NO BIBLICAL BASIS such as purgatory, papal infallibility, and incorruptible corpses.

    As soon as I read “His life was so good, his love was so pure and his generosity so sincere that today, more than 80 years after his death, his body remains incorrupt,” I immediately discredited anything you have to say. I have observed many authoritative statements made by you, such as the assertions that arousal without consummation and contraception are immoral. Sex is not solely for procreation. The Bible acknowledges this. Today’s contraception is no different from dry sex. The goal is usually pleasure and a physical show of affection (which you yourself have said is important), not procreation. A married couple are free to have sex with each other whenever they please, and they don’t have to pay for their love with twenty or thirty children.

    You also said it is possible to kiss without being aroused. I’m sure this is quite possible for YOU, a WOMAN, but as a MAN, I can tell you that simply hugging a woman I am dating is enough to arouse me, as is even the most utilitarian kiss. Men are also often aroused by the mere sight of the woman they love, or even any attractive woman. There is nothing wrong with this; men are simply much more susceptible to arousal. Acting on arousal by having extramarital sex is wrong, but simply being aroused is not. Your beliefs are antiquated and stem from accepting nonsensical church doctrine rather than being intelligent by finding your own answers in Scripture.

  3. Dear Teenage girl –
    Don’t worry. I am not offended by the things you have written and I don’t think you are mean. I also don’t mind if you comment a lot – I read everything even though I cannot reply to everything because I have a family to take care of, and that comes first. (I have 5 daughters and 1 son, so I know what teenagers go through.) I only spend two hours a day every other day maintaining this site, so a lot has to go unsaid – but I try to tackle the major things people are commenting on by writing new posts. Later today I am going to write something on fantasy.
    Now, I don’t think it is fair to say that I have to go back 70 years to find a model man. Just to explain, I posted a story about THIS young man because he has been Beatified by the Catholic Church and presented as a model/inspiration for youth. He was a patron of our World Youth Day that was held in Australia recently. The Catholic Church beatifies/canonizes people who have lived lives of heroic virtue and can serve as an inspiration and model to others. However, that process is very thorough. It takes years. For example, Mother Teresa has been Beatified but not Canonized yet. (In other words, we can call Mother Teresa “Blessed” but not “Saint” yet.) Mother Teresa died right after my third daughter was born – back in 1997. So – that was 11 years ago. She still has not been declared a Saint because of the complexity of the canonization process. (One aspect of beatification/canonization is that miracles must be attributed to the intercession of of the saint. These reports of miracles are subjected to intense scientific investigation/scrutiny. So the Church is slow to do these things as a means of safeguarding truth. Our friend Astral Symphony may not be very convinced of that because from all indications here he has rationalist tendencies. I hope he isn’t a rationalist, though. Rationalists operate from a position of skepticism and the leap of faith is too difficult for them for some reason. Usually rationalism is an act of the will rather than the intellect – meaning it is a choice they make which cannot be refuted by argumentation because they are not open to reasoned argument about supernatural things and often resort to loaded language, cliches and a misrepresentation of statements – but that is not always the case… Anyway, I digress…)
    Just because someone is declared Blessed or a Saint does not mean that they never made mistakes. What happens is this – the person sees that they are not even close to being perfect and so they know they need help. That is where the grace of God comes in. Let me give you an example. St. Peter was a good friend of Jesus. He followed Him and was one of Jesus’ confidantes. Peter was a fisherman. The first time he met Jesus he had been fishing all night. (Luke 5:1-11) He had caught nothing. Jesus came along and said “Cast your net out on the other side”. Peter was humble enough to do it, even if he may have doubted that it was going to do any good. (Jesus was a carpenter, not a fisherman.) Well, what happened? Peter hauled in a huge amount of fish. So many fish that he realized that he had just been part of a miracle. What does Peter say to Jesus at that point? “Depart from me for I am a sinful man!” He acknowledged that there was Someone greater here, and he became a follower of Jesus. But even as someone so close to Jesus, he still made mistakes. Jesus rebuked Peter very strongly at one point, saying “Get behind me satan!” – this was when Peter was trying to dissuade Jesus from taking up His Cross. Peter also denied Jesus three times when Jesus needed him most – the night He was arrested, just before His Crucifixion. You see, even Jesus’ closest friends made mistakes. The difference is what they did about it. Peter betrayed Jesus. Judas betrayed Jesus. Peter is a Saint. Judas is not. Peter humbly repented. Judas despaired and took his own life. It is the willingness to repent that separates Saints from others. It is humility. Owning up when we are wrong and working really hard not to be wrong again. God blesses us with His grace and helps us fight the battle.
    Don’t ever sell yourself short on the kind of man you can attract and be happy with. Don’t ever “settle”. The pursuit of holiness and goodness is for everyone – and people who really set about trying to love God and their neighbor end up finding other people who are trying to do the same. None of them are perfect, but they help each other on the journey towards virtue. With God’s help, anyone can be a Saint. Even Peter. Even you or me. When we put love of God and neighbor first (rather than looking for a guy), guys will show up… good ones.

  4. Still – ideal men aren’t that common. Though I am aware of the whole cannonization process and understand why you wanted to chose this man.

    Anyway, it sort of irked me when you made being a rationalist sound like something bad.

    I go to an special highschool with a heavy focus on science/math, and I have to say that a fair amount of my friends are atheist/ agnostic. And almost everyone would qualify as a Rationalist (if by rationalist you mean someone who approaches everything rationally).

    However, in my old school, I was picked on and bullied a lot, often by children who went to church weekley – some from my own church.

    In my new school – no one picks on anyone. Ever. Over anything. Except maybe the silent eye-rolling whenever someone denies evolution… and even then, everyone will listen respectfully to whatever the person has to say.

    And they’re a lot more accepting of other religions as well- no one mocks the occasional Muslim kid who’s fasting during Ramadan, the way they did in my old school.

    Thats probably what bothers me most about people who take the Bible really literally. Some of the best friends I have ever had, and the nicest, most giving people I have ever met have either been of another religion, or of no religion.

  5. Dear Teenage girl –
    Yes – ideal women aren’t common, either! We ALL have work to do… so – let’s get to it! That’s my point in putting this site together – to encourage people to try harder – (Including myself).
    By rationalist, I don’t mean people who approach everything rationally. I mean people who do not think faith and reason are compatible. (You see, people of faith can approach things rationally, too. In fact, Pope John Paul II wrote an encyclical letter called “Fides et Ratio” – Latin for “On Faith and Reason” – accessible HERE: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_15101998_fides-et-ratio_en.html ) and it explores and explains the complementary relationship between faith and reason. When Astral Symphony said I was “beyond a sliver of a doubt, insane” for suggesting that incorrupt corpses could (and do) exist, it suggests that he thinks I cannot be both rational and also believe that an omnipotent God who created everything out of nothing can also perform miracles for the edification of His People. That may be a rationalistic position. That’s all.
    I agree with you that bad Christians are a sorry spectacle. I am sorry you have been hurt. It is called “scandal”, and all Christians have an obligation to be holy and start loving their neighbor! Unfortunately, most of us are still in training! I would ask one thing of you, though. Do not judge Christianity by those who practice it BADLY. That is as fair as judging football by attending a game played by preschoolers. Not impressive! Look to the PROS if you want to see real, exciting football. Look to the SAINTS if you want to see true Christians. Pray for me. I want to be holy.

  6. Just to clarify, the “ideal man” is one who spends all his time praying and ignores everything else?……….I’m pretty sure that Jesus wanted us to talk to other people and to him so that we could be like a beacon on the hill towards unbelievers………Kind of hard to do that when you spend all of your time on your knees praying. Don’t get me wrong, we should all be talking to God throughout the day but we should be living too. Example: I can say a quick prayer while in line for food or before I get in the car, etc….

  7. Oh and I’d also like to point out that I don’t think Astral Symphony ever said anything about faith and reason being incompatible. If anything, I believe that he very near quoted the Bible in saying that ALL sin and fall short of the glory of God with the one exception of Jesus Christ our savior. This includes the saints. I personally do not believe that the saints should be prayed to as only God is worthy of our prayer but that is my belief and I respect the fact that we don’t share the same beliefs. I’m not sure entirely what you’re talking about with the whole “incorruptible corpses” thing. I’ve never heard of that. I don’t believe a corpse can be pure until the day that Jesus calls us all to Heaven and makes our bodies perfect. (I believe that is somewhere in Revelations but don’t quote me on that)

    Also, Teenage girl you shouldn’t feel guilty at all. Reading Twilight is not a sin and I agree with you completely that I find more often than not that Christians can in some cases be much more intolerant of other people, even other Christians, than non-Christians can be. I personally have many close friends who are not Christians. Some are agnostic, some are of different religions, etc… but the over all trait with these people is that they are very respectful of my beliefs and we even have calm and reasoned debates about our different positions on religion.

    It is with Christians that I have the most problems debating faith. This is due to some ridiculous belief within the Christian community that if you raise questions about aspects of Christianity, you are sinning. Where did this come from?? I have never read anything along those lines in the Bible anywhere? The bible is God’s living word therefore it speaks to everyone differently and there will be many different perceptions of what it is saying. This is how God communicates to us. I hope this helps 🙂

  8. Hi Jake.
    First, if you looked at the link to Frassati’s life you would see this:
    “He lived his faith, too, through discipline with his school work, which was a tremendous cross for him as he was a poor student. Most notably, however, Pier Giorgio (like the Dominican St. Martin de Porres) lived his faith through his constant, humble, mostly hidden service to the poorest of Turin. Although Pier Giorgio grew up in a privileged environment, he never lorded over anyone the wealth and prestige of his family. Instead, he lived simply and gave away food, money, or anything that anyone asked of him. It is suspected that he contracted from the very people to whom he was ministering in the slums the polio that would kill him.” His sister said he gave himself in prayer AND action.
    Having said that, however, some are called to pray always as a supreme act of charity for their fellow man. That is Scriptural. Just look at the story of Martha and Mary. (Lk. 10:38-42) Jesus told Martha that Mary, who was sitting at His feet in contemplation, had chosen the better part that would not be taken away from her.
    Jake – have you ever asked a friend to pray for you? Most Christians do it all the time. That’s what we do with the Saints, who are not only our friends but who are part of the Mystical Body of Christ and still alive with Him – closer to HIm than we are – in Heaven. We ask them to pray to God for us. It’s called intercession.
    Finally – you are completely correct that the Bible is God’s living Word. The primary Author of the Bible is the Holy Spirit Who inspired the human authors. God is Truth and cannot contradict HImself. His Word cannot be contradictory either.

  9. Ah thank you for clearing that up for me :). I was just confused with the way that the post was and the fact that I didn’t know anything about the man prior to reading this. It sounded like you meant that he was the model for the perfect man in that he did nothing but pray. When put in the light that he answered God’s calling I see what you mean and I agree that he was a great man in Christ.

    Also thank you very much for explaining the thing with the saints. I have had many debates with my friends, both Christian and non-Christian, about whether or not the Catholic Church was committing idolatry. Myself not being Catholic, I didn’t know exactly what was involved with the whole saints thing.

    About the Bible, I agree with you completely. There is only one true God and that is his living word. This is why it bothers me so much when Christians get so angry when debate is started about small aspects of our beliefs. The truth will always hold up to debate so there is no reason to shy away from it. We should express our questions so that they will be answered within the church so we can be better able to answer the questions of unbelievers when they ask about our religion.


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