Editor’s note: Bl Pier Giorgio Frassati’s feast is on July 4th. The following article is adapted from the upcoming book, Finding Frassati: And Following His Path to Holiness. It is available to pre-order from your neighbourhood Catholic bookstore or online through Sophia Institute Press.
Pier Giorgio’s Eucharistic Life
Jesus Christ has promised to those who feed themselves with the most Holy Eucharist, eternal life and the necessary graces to obtain it.
–Pier Giorgio Frassati, Letters, 129.
Have you ever attended a Eucharistic Congress? It is a thing of true-blue perfection to attend the closing Mass and look a great procession of bishops, clergymen, deacons, seminarians, and altar servers stimulating its route through a throng of thousands of lay faithful — all for Jesus in the Eucharist.
Pier Giorgio attained it a point to participate in Eucharistic Congresses when possible. On April 2, 1922, he moved a mailing-card to his mother with simply one decision: “A thousand salutes and kisses from the Eucharistic Congress.” The following year, he rearranged his planned so that he could attend a Eucharistic Congress in Genoa, where an stunning procession of the Blessed Sacrament took place both on ocean and on country. Although these periodic large happenings replenished him with passion, it was a regular appointment on his calendar that fortified his soul: his daily meeting with Jesus in Holy Communion.
Pier Giorgio was ten years old when he made his First Holy Communion, on June 19, 1911. In those days, he would have had to wait until he turned twelve; Pope Pius X issued a decree during the summer of 1910, however, that allowed children to receive the Sacrament at “the age of reason” — about seven years old. The papal covenant did even more than lower the age of First Communion; it also exhorted parents to enable their children to receive routinely, even daily, if possible.
This opportunity portrayed itself to Pier Giorgio two years later, when, at age twelve, he was enrolled in a school operated by the Jesuit Fathers. There he was encouraged by the headmaster, and secured allow from his mother, to begin receiving Our Lord daily in the Blessed Sacrament. For the next twelve years, the Eucharist became the central point of Pier Giorgio’s life and the driving force behind his labors of kindnes. “Jesus comes to me every day in Holy communion, ” he said. “I repay him in my disgraceful way by visit the poor.” He received the Eucharist for the last time on his deathbed, on July 3, 1925 — a mere fourteen years after obliging his First Holy Communion.
It has been said that if we truly believed in the Real Presence, we would go crawling on our hands and knees to receive the Eucharist. Pier Giorgio guessed. The exertion he made as a girl and young adult to receive daily Communion is even more impressive when you consider that his mother went to Church merely on Sundays and his father was a fallen-away Catholic who did not attend Mass with the family.
Holy card of Bl. Frassati, photo by Fr. Lawrence Lew, OP/ Flickr
Speaking to Catholic youth in his area, Pier Giorgio appealed to them with all the strength of his soul to “become totally consumed by this Eucharistic Fire.” By doing so, he said, they would find the strength to fight interior lures and gain all of the necessary graces to obtain eternal life with Christ and genuine prosperity on earth. These weren’t mere words. Pier Giorgio lived them. His example challenges us to do the same.
Inspired by the example of Blessed Frassati, make us take advantage of every opportunity to receive Our Lord worthily in the Eucharist and encourage others to do the same. Go to an extra Mass this week and, if possible, producing a friend.
Pier Giorgio’s Practice of Penance
In His Infinite Mercy, God has surely not retained my innumerable sins in mind.
–Pier Giorgio Frassati, Letters, 137.
How often do you go to Confession? The answer to this question on numerous examines over its first year has been astonishing. Less than once a year or never — the response from more than three-fourths of Catholics — is necessarily not employ anyone in the narrow road on the freeway to holiness.
Consider that saints such as Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II went to Confession at least weekly. Consecrated Pier Giorgio also went very frequently — sometimes daily. Why? Did they know a secret about this sacrament that is hidden from the rest of us?
One of my favorite floors is an account of a epoch when Pier Giorgio went to see Confession on a busy sidewalk in Turin. Harmonizing to a priest identified Father Righini, they ran into each other the working day around 11:00 a.m. while spanning wall street. Pier Giorgio was on his course to Mass at La Consolata, a beautiful and beloved basilica. After reacting the priest, Pier Giorgio asked if he “could have the pleasure of going to confession.” As Father Righini looked around for a nearby school, Pier Giorgio said, “That’s not necessary. I’ll confess here on the street.” He removed his hat, made a large Sign of the Cross, and meekly began his confession.
This type of encounter was out of the ordinary for Father Righini, who admitted to being very amused while hearing the acknowledgment. He memorandum, though, that Pier Giorgio had no concern at all for what anyone delivering by has been possible to recollected, and afterward, he went on his road satisfied and happy.
Pier Giorgio received the Sacrament of Confession for the first time on June 11, 1910. Over the years, as he came to believe that the smallest sin could lead to greater blasphemies, he searched God’s forgiveness for the most minor flaunts of frustration or aggravation. Luciana Frassati wrote that her brother “wanted to approach God more frequently to purify his soul, and he tried help from his confessor’s advice so that he could live the Christian life more seriously. Possessing the Lord’s peace, it was easier for him to suffer, to form relinquishes, to deal with the daily silence in our house and the cruel experiments of kindnes outside the home, ”( L. Frassati, Mio Fratello Pier Giorgio ).
Perhaps, then, this was the secret known too by saints such as Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II, who often confessed; that is, the regular pattern of Confession garrisons us to endure the contests we face and to resist the near occasion of guilt in our daily lives. Actually, this is not a secret. At some elevation, we all know it. We simply tend to focus more attention on our blasphemies than on the charms awaiting us in the confessional. Or, as the case may be, on the two sides of a busy street.
If you’ve been away from the sacraments for a while, ask Blessed Pier Giorgio to assist you make a good acknowledgment this week. The spiritual lives of his friends were always a priority for him, and he will not let you down.
This article is adapted from Christine M. Wohar’s forthcoming notebook, Finding Frassati: And Following His Path to Holiness. It is available to preorder as a paperback or ebook from your regional Catholic bookstore or online through Sophia Institute Press.
image: description of Bl Pier Giorgio Frassati by Luciana Frassati/ Wikimedia Commons( Public Domain )
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