Today, in the Dominican Calendar, we honour the memory of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, a Lay Dominican beatified by Pope John Paul II on 20th May 1990. Blessed Pier Giorgio was a Catholic social activist who dedicated his short life to social justice issues, in order to better aid the poor and less fortunate people living in his hometown of Turin.
Blessed Pier Giorgio contracted a severe case of polio, probably caught from the sick to whom he ministered, and he died, aged 23, on 4th July 1925. Visiting his tomb in 1989, Pope John Paul II remarked that he had felt in his own youth “the beneficial influence of his example.” “He left the world rather young,” he said, “but he made a mark upon our entire century.” His process for canonisation continues.
Abraham cared a great deal about his nephew Lot, despite the fact that Lot was selfish and prone to making poor choices. Refusing to give up on Lot, Abraham interceded for him and even bargained with God in order to preserve the town where Lot had chosen to live.
God listened to Abraham’s prayer and sent his angels to warn Lot of the impending judgment that was about to be visited upon Sodom. When Lot dithered and hesitated, the angels took him and his family by the hand and pulled them away from imminent disaster. All this because Abraham had interceded for his nephew.
Like Abraham we may be the means by which God saves another person from danger: either physical or spiritual. It could be someone close to us, or a stranger who walks in from the street. God wants every person on earth to turn away from sin and be transformed by his love. And we all have a role to play in that process through what we say, and perhaps more, by the example of our lives. And what better example do we have today than the life and work of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, who dedicated his short life to helping those in need.
The lesson for us today is not to give up when the going gets tough. When it comes to intercession and evangelization, it’s always too soon to quit.
Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, pray for us.