Tag Archives: Pier Giorgio Frassati

To the Heights

You will be hated by all because of my name,
but whoever endures to the end will be saved.
—Matthew 10:22

I have humbled him, but I will prosper him.
—Hosea 14:9

Gillis_van_Coninxloo_-_Mountain_Landscape_with_River_Valley_and_the_Prophet_Hosea_-_WGA05181As we grow into a deeper relationship with God, we may reach a point where it feels as though He has started ignoring us. Whereas we were at first captivated by the words of Scripture or felt a great peace in prayer, we now feel dryness and discontent. We aren’t “getting anything” out of prayer anymore, and we feel disconnected.

God uses these periods of discontent to push us toward a deeper, more lasting faith. He allows us to experience moments of frustration, helplessness, and humility so that we can learn to depend on Him more fully. While we might be content to float happily through life with a surface-level faith, God wants more for us. He wants us to be strong, walk boldly, perform great deeds, and endure persecutions. As Grace told us during retreat: God loves us right where we are, and He loves us too much to let us stay there.

frassatiGod is training us to be sheep among wolves: to walk amongst sin and evil and yet be uncorrupted, to maintain our innocence—our steadfast faith, our enduring hope—as we journey through treacherous lands. He is preparing us for an adventure more epic than we’ve imagined.

This spirit of adventure is what motivated Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati throughout his life. He saw his journey in the Christian life as an ascent up the mountain, and with joy he climbed ever higher—verso l’alto, to the heights. He will help us, too, to see the path before us with wonder and excitement, tackling each obstacle as we continue our ascent.

May Blessed Pier Giorgio help us to rise above our complacency, our frustrations, and every challenge before us.

Learn to be stronger in spirit than in your muscles. If you are you will be real apostles of faith in God.
—Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati

Every day that passes, I fall more desperately in love with the mountains… I am ever more determined to climb the mountains, to scale the mighty peaks, to feel that pure joy which can only be felt in the mountains.
—Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati


1. Gillis van Koningsloo, Mountain Landscape with River Valley and the Prophet Hosea / PD-US
2. Photograph of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati / Catholic Exchange

Originally posted at Frassati Reflections.

The Gleam of Heavenly Treasures

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal.
But store up treasures in heaven,
where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.

“The lamp of the body is the eye.
If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light;
but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness.
And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be.”

—Matthew 6:19–23

Antonio_de_Pereda_y_Salgado_-_The_Knight's_Dream_-_WGA17164Our relationship with God is the lens through which we view the whole world. If we seek Light, if we pursue virtue and beauty and wonder, every experience we have will be illuminated by that encounter. If we truly know how loved we are, it will change everything. But often our selfishness and insecurity and anger cloud our vision and keep us from grasping the reality of Love. When we allow this to happen, all the wonders that surround us become cloaked in darkness. Our joy, too, grows dim.

When our pursuit of earthly treasures distracts us from our relationship with God, the Light inside us begins to fade, and even our earthly treasures fall into shadow and lose their glimmer. But for heavenly treasures, the reverse is true: the more we pursue them, the more brilliantly they shine. For as we increase our desire for holiness, our capacity for God’s Light increases, and we begin to see everything more clearly.

Jean-François_Millet_Angelus

If our vision is rightly ordered, this pursuit of heavenly treasures will follow naturally. Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, though he was born into wealth, didn’t consider his riches to be of any importance. He didn’t act in the way you would expect a young man raised in comfort and affluence to behave. Instead of trying to accumulate more and more possessions, he secretly gave his money away to the poor. Instead of trying to impress other people, he embraced humility. This all flowed from the fact that he was able to see his situation more clearly, because he had encountered the Light. He recognized that, in the bigger picture, his wealth was ultimately meaningless, and thus he set about securing a treasure far more important. His wealth was a gift that was meant to be used to pour out grace upon others. If Pier Giorgio had clung to his wealth out of selfishness, it would have been a great burden, holding him back from the greatness to which he was called.

May we too loosen our grip on our earthly treasures, so that we can make room for greater ones; and may we invite God to shine His Light upon us.


1. Antonio de Pereda, The Knight’s Dream / PD-US
2. Jean-François Millet, The Angelus / PD-US

Originally posted at Frassati Reflections.

A Tiny Whispering Sound

At the mountain of God, Horeb,
Elijah came to a cave, where he took shelter.
But the word of the LORD came to him,
“Go outside and stand on the mountain before the LORD;
the LORD will be passing by.”
A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains
and crushing rocks before the LORD—
but the LORD was not in the wind.
After the wind there was an earthquake—
but the LORD was not in the earthquake.
After the earthquake there was fire—
but the LORD was not in the fire.
After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound.
When he heard this,
Elijah hid his face in his cloak
and went and stood at the entrance of the cave.
—1 Kings 19:9–13

Johann_Wilhelm_Schirmer_Elia_am_Bach_KeritA tiny whispering sound. How gentle God is toward us. He is all-powerful; He created mountains and earthquakes and fire and wind. He could drop anvils and send down lightning to try and get our attention. And yet He speaks to us softly and tenderly.

He is the still, small voice within our hearts. He does not seek to control us; instead, He delights in watching us find our own way. He is always whispering words of guidance and love—and if we aren’t distracted by our own noise, we will hear His voice. But He does not force Himself upon us; rather, He pursues us with gentleness and care.

We are called to imitate this example of gentleness: to be both strong and kind, brave and humble, confident and caring. To be sensitive toward our neighbors without compromising our own strength. To respond to others without feeling as though we have to intimidate them or prove what we’re capable of. To be secure in the knowledge that withholding force is not a sign of weakness in us, but of composure and mercy.

Pier-Giorgio-PortraitLook to Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati as an example: a strong, active young man who approached the poor and downtrodden with the utmost care. This was a guy who was popular and athletic, who regularly climbed mountains for fun. And yet he didn’t go around flexing his muscles to try and impress people; rather, his true strength showed through in his tenderness toward those who were weak.

When we feel frustrated and wish God would send us a big, loud, obvious sign from above, let us remember that maybe we wouldn’t actually be able to handle such a bold response. God speaks to us softly so as not to intimidate us, but also to draw us closer to Him. In order to hear His gentle whisper, we must draw ever nearer.


1. Abraham Bloemaert, Landscape with the Prophet Elijah in the Desert / PD-US
2. Johann Wilhelm Schirmer, Elijah at the Brook Cherith / PD-US
3. Portrait of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati / Brandon Vogt

Originally posted at Frassati Reflections.

Remain in Me

Before meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus, Paul was “breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord,” and yet today we remember him as a great evangelizer and prolific New Testament writer. What happened? Nothing less than an inbreaking of divine grace.

For the powers of humanity, there are a great many situations that are beyond hope: souls that have been irrevocably corrupted, systems that are beyond repair. But for God, no one is beyond hope. No matter how hardened a person, God can break through any barriers to offer them mercy and an opportunity for transformation. He stopped Paul right in his murderous path, turned him away from Damascus and out into all the world a changed man. He channeled Paul’s zeal toward its natural, rightly ordered purpose: building up the Kingdom of God. In the same way, our own human purpose can only be understood through an encounter with the divine.

Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood remains in me and I in him (John 6:56).
Jesus has given Himself to us in the Eucharist as an opportunity for encounter with Him, that we too might be transformed by His grace. He instituted this sacrament so that we might share a radical intimacy with Him. Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati understood this deeply—he received Communion daily, meeting Jesus every morning and carrying Him throughout the rest of the day. This is the key to his sanctity: not Pier Giorgio’s own goodness, but his openness to divine grace, to deep intimacy with and vulnerability before God.

“I urge you with all the strength of my soul to approach the Eucharist Table as often as possible. Feed on this Bread of the Angels from which you will draw the strength to fight inner struggles.”
—Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati

Conversione_di_san_Paolo_September_2015-1aThe great things that Paul achieved after his conversion stemmed from this intense closeness with God and awareness of God’s perfect love. This is what opened Paul’s heart to allow God to work through him rather than imposing his own will. When the scales fell from his eyes and he saw his life with sudden clarity, he fell to his knees in humility before God. Throughout the rest of his life, as he wrote and preached and converted a great many souls, he was ever aware that it was all due to God working in him: It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me (Galatians 2:20). Paul knew all too well the cold, cruel man he would be without God, and thus he was able to recognize that any good fruits that flowed from his work were not due to his own power or talent or goodness, but from Jesus Christ working through him.


1. Domenico Morelli, Conversion of Saint Paul / PD-US
2. Caravaggio, The Conversion of Saint Paul / PD-US

Originally posted at Frassati Reflections.

Pier Giorgio Frassati’s Life of Grace

By guest writer Lauren Winter.

This morning I listened to the always enlightening Bishop Barron talk about Frassati. First of all, Bishop Barron is a national treasure and I 10 out of 10 recommend the Word on Fire Show. Secondly, let’s take a minute to talk about our boy, Frassati.

Frassati’s life is an example of how grace and faith can grow in the most surprising places. Frassati wasn’t raised in a faith-filled home like so many of the Saints. His father was a prominent Italian politician and his mother a well-known painter. His father was agnostic, and his mother was *vaguely* Catholic. Frassati wasn’t given a spiritual upbringing but found one for himself instead.

Even from a young age and without any humanly prompting he was captivated by the Eucharist and the liturgy. He would disappear for hours at a time and visit the chapels for Eucharistic adoration causing his parents to frantically search for him. (Now where have I heard that story before? *cough cough* finding at the temple *Cough cough*)

Similar to his surprising devotion to the faith, he also had a devotion to the poor. He gave all his money and all his time to the poor. He was truly a man of the poor. He was both their caretaker and their advocate. His love of the poor was so brilliant that when he died of polio at the age of 24 his funeral was a HUGE event. It wasn’t his prominent parents’ friends who overwhelmed the event, but the poor. His funeral was a massively-attended event because of the massive amount of people he attended to and cared for while he was living.

When we hear about mountain-climbing Frassati’s “Verso L’alto” we are reminded of his acceptance of grace and his determination to climb closer to Christ. Frassati was a man of action. First, he accepted grace into his life and then boldly ACTED. May he be an example to us all. To the heights!!! Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, pray for us.

___

Originally posted on Instagram.

Lauren Winter is a mother of three and owner of the apparel brand Brick House in the City, designing inspirational clothing for Catholic women as her contribution to the New Evangelization.

Grief into Joy

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn,
while the world rejoices;
you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.
When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived;
but when she has given birth to a child,
she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy
that a child has been born into the world.
So you also are now in anguish.
But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice,
and no one will take your joy away from you.
On that day you will not question me about anything.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.”
—John 16:20–23

Often we have a tendency to assume—even, sometimes, when we know better—that if we follow Jesus perfectly, we will live a charmed life free of suffering. Thus, when we experience suffering that seems “undeserved,” we become frustrated with God and think that there’s no way we can handle what He’s asking of us.

Christ_in_Gethsemane

But Jesus doesn’t negate the suffering of the Christian life. He acknowledges it fully, saying that if they persecuted Him they will surely persecute us. He tells us we will weep and mourn and grieve while the world rejoices. Yet our pain and suffering are not wasted in His plan of salvation. When we meet Jesus in Heaven, when we see the destination to which He has led us on such a long, winding journey, our hearts will rejoice. We will receive a lasting joy, greater than anything of this world.

We will experience suffering in this life, but through Christ, this suffering becomes a holy calling. We don’t need to put on a happy face and pretend everything is fine—no, this trial is a gift, meant to break and re-form our hearts, making them more like His own. We can embrace our suffering and lean in to it. And we don’t need to spiral into despair, either, for this trial is not the end. A greater joy awaits us, a joy that will eclipse any memory of pain.

piergiorgioOur patron, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, was a joyful, exuberant young man who radiated hope. He loved to have a good time with his friends, sharing inside jokes and enjoying outdoor activities. But at the same time, he did not shy away from suffering. Although he easily could have stayed within the comfortable bubble of wealth provided by his family, he ventured into the poorest parts of his city, undeterred by the noise and smells, to seek those who needed company and support. He saw the beauty in each person he encountered and considered them friends. His passion for the Lord propelled him to serve, and even when he contracted a fatal disease through this service, he embraced this, too, as a gift. His love for Christ emboldened him to face every trial without fear.

Fear not. As Christians, we always have reason for hope. Inspired by the example of Pier Giorgio, may we face our sufferings with boldness and joy, knowing that all our earthly pain will pass away and that the joy to come is worth it all.

We are an Easter people, and hallelujah is our song.
—Pope Saint John Paul II


1. Heinrich Hofmann, Christ in Gethsemane / PD-US
2. Photograph of Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati and friends

Originally posted at Frassati Reflections.

The Humor of Miracles

The Storm on the Sea of Galilee, Rembrandt (1632)
The Storm on the Sea of Galilee, Rembrandt (1632)

When reading about the time Jesus awoke from His nap, calmed the stormy sea, and chastened His disciples for being afraid (Matthew 8:23-27), one just has to suppress a grin. Picture the scene: the disciples mortally alarmed in their storm-tossed craft; God in human form slumbering peacefully astern (maybe snoring, even), and then the Creator of the universe wakes up from His forty winks and casually sorts everything out, grumbling at His creatures for their understandable yet ultimately groundless fear.

One sees this divine humor again and again throughout the accounts of miracles down the ages. A favorite saint of mine is Saint Gregory Thaumaturgus, i.e. the Wonder-Worker, patron against earthquakes.

During the construction of a church for his growing flock, the builders ran into a problem with a huge buried boulder. Gregory ordered the rock to move out of the way of his church; it did.

When returning from the wilderness, Gregory had to seek shelter from a sudden and violent storm. The only structure nearby was a pagan temple. Gregory made the sign of the cross to purify the place, then spent the night there in prayer, waiting out the storm. The next morning, the pagan priest arrived to receive his morning oracles. The demons who had been masquerading as pagan gods advised him that they could not stay in the purified temple or near the holy man. The priest threatened to summon the anti-Christian authorities to arrest Gregory. The bishop wrote out a note reading, “Gregory to Satan: Enter.” With this “permission slip” in hand, the pagan priest was able to summon his demons again.

The same pagan priest, realizing that his gods unquestioningly obeyed Gregory’s single God, found the bishop and asked how it was done. Gregory taught the priest the truth of Christianity. Lacking faith, the priest asked for a sign of God’s power. Gregory ordered a large rock to move from one place to another; it did. The priest immediately abandoned his old life, and eventually became a deacon under bishop Gregory. This ordering about of boulders led to Gregory’s patronage against earthquakes.

(CatholicSaints.Info: notes about your extended family in heaven)

Here’s a story from Asia:

Condemned on 26 July 1644, and executed the next day, Andrew was the first Vietnamese martyr.

Father de Rhodes retrieved the body and shipped it to Macao for burial. When the transport ship was attacked by pirates, it struck a rock, and a hole was torn in the hull. A large stone rolled into the gap, held out the water, and the ship was able to deliver its cargo.

(“Blessed Andrew the Catechist”, CatholicSaints.Info)

And a recent one:

During his coma, he remembers waking up in the house he shared with his friends, and hearing someone downstairs. That was odd; he says he’s always the first one up. He investigated, and in the living room he found a young man he didn’t know.

Who are you?”

I’m George, your new roommate.”

That can’t be. I already have two roommates.”

They aren’t around anymore.”

Oh.”

He then spent a long timeless day with George. An ardent soccer player who hates staying indoors, Kevin kept trying to leave the house but George wouldn’t let him go. They fought about it, as if they were brothers, but George was adamant. He encouraged him to be patient. Kevin remembers passing the time by doing schoolwork—which he says would surprise anyone who knew him before his accident—and sitting on the couch with George playing a soccer video game called “FIFA.”

Eventually he awoke in the hospital.

(Will Duquette, “Stunning story: Miraculous recovery attributed to Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati”, Aleteia)

Who in high Heaven would think of sticking the soul of a comatose patient in an ethereal house with Pier Giorgio Frassati while healing his broken body?

What kind of a God allows a ship bearing the body of His saint to be attacked by pirates, then plugs the resultant hole with a boulder? Why not preserve the ship from the pirates in the first place?

Jesus in His divine nature surely knew His disciples were panicking while He was deep in slumber, but He waited until the right moment to display His dominion over the winds and the waves.

God has perfect timing. Comic timing, even. But always perfect. Like Gandalf, He is never late, nor early; He arrives precisely when He means to.

Looking back over my life, I could have avoided a lot of worry, heartache, and stress if I had simply trusted in Him completely.

One time I did trust God completely was when my father had a stroke when I was 10. The nurse didn’t want to let me into the ICU because she was afraid I was too little to handle seeing my father in such a sorry state. But throughout his struggle for recovery, I was impervious to worry, just knowing somehow that he would be fine. (My mother had to bear the brunt of the stress.)

God’s ways are not our ways; He teaches us something each time He makes us wait, each time He allows something calamitous to occur. Through everything, He is there with us, and He will be there in the end.

God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t.
― C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

And as I close this chaotic volume I open again the strange small book from which all Christianity came; and I am again haunted by a kind of confirmation. The tremendous figure which fills the Gospels towers in this respect, as in every other, above all the thinkers who ever thought themselves tall. His pathos was natural, almost casual. The Stoics, ancient and modern, were proud of concealing their tears. He never concealed His tears; He showed them plainly on His open face at any daily sight, such as the far sight of His native city. Yet He concealed something. Solemn supermen and imperial diplomatists are proud of restraining their anger. He never restrained His anger. He flung furniture down the front steps of the Temple, and asked men how they expected to escape the damnation of Hell. Yet He restrained something. I say it with reverence; there was in that shattering personality a thread that must be called shyness. There was something that He hid from all men when He went up a mountain to pray. There was something that He covered constantly by abrupt silence or impetuous isolation. There was some one thing that was too great for God to show us when He walked upon our earth; and I have sometimes fancied that it was His mirth.
― G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Healer of Souls

Over the past week, the Gospel readings have contained many scenes of healing from Jesus’s public ministry. We know that Jesus performed many miraculous healings during His life and continues to do so today. The healing springs of Our Lady of Lourdes, whose feast we celebrated on Saturday, have brought about countless healings that have baffled doctors and defied human understanding. We know that Jesus’s healing power is still active today. But reading about all these healings also raises an uncomfortable question: What about the people who don’t receive physical healing? What about the people who make pilgrimages to Lourdes, seeking a cure, and leave with no physical change? What about saints like Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, who prayed constantly and yet suffered an excruciating death? How do we reconcile the fact that God allows some people to be freed entirely from the burden of their disease with the reality that many who pray desperately for healing still suffer and die?

We can begin to understand this mystery through the story of Jesus healing the paralytic:

And when he returned to Caper′na-um after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room for them, not even about the door; and he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and when they had made an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “My son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak thus? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question thus in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your pallet and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic—“I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home.” And he rose, and immediately took up the pallet and went out before them all; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

—Mark 2:1–12

Jesus does eventually heal this man, but His first action shocks everyone in the room: He forgives the man’s sins. This is not why the people went to such lengths to bring him before Jesus. Not only was this not what they were asking of Him, it was an act that seemed blasphemous! How could He forgive sins? But Jesus did this both to reveal His divinity and to put first things first. The people were asking for a physical healing, but Jesus wouldn’t settle for just that. He knew that unless this man received forgiveness of sins, unless he received the healing of his soul, he would never be truly healed. Jesus’s ability to make the man walk again is a manifestation of His healing power, but the most miraculous thing about this story is that the man’s sins were forgiven. That is the part that matters most. Jesus was asked to perform a quick fix—to heal just the man’s body—but He gave the man what he didn’t know he needed, healing him inside and out.

Some are granted both spiritual and physical healing, some just spiritual—but that spiritual healing is the greater priority, the most important thing. Unless our souls are healed and our sins forgiven, we are unwell, and if we are healed interiorly, we can bear any physical suffering. We can ask for healing and confidently expect our prayer to be answered: for regardless of the path we are called to follow, whether we are to give God glory through allowing Him to heal us physically or by offering up our sufferings, He will heal our souls, and His grace will shine through us. If our story is not to be one of miraculous healing, then He wants to give us the grace to bear our sufferings with joy and recognize their great purpose. If we earnestly ask to be healed, He will not fail to give us the interior healing that transcends any physical maladies. Ultimately, Jesus wants us to be healed both spiritually and physically; it pains Him to see us suffer. He wants us to be physically healed, too, but He also knows that we will certainly find physical healing in Heaven, and sometimes He uses our sufferings to help us—and the other souls for whom we offer our sufferings—to get there. Let us look to Pier Giorgio Frassati, who despite his terrible illness never wavered in his joy. He was not granted physical healing, but his soul was fully restored and awakened, and because of that he was able to see even his trials through the lens of grace. The promise of healing in the Gospel stories is there for each of us. When we haven’t found the cure that we’d hoped for, we don’t need to despair or worry that we will be forgotten. We are not forgotten. Everyone’s story is different, but He desires each of us to receive the most precious of gifts: interior healing of the soul, forgiveness of sins, and the promise of Heaven.

The Secrets to Happiness

The Funeral of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati
The Funeral of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati

How happy really are we today? How do we define that we have really ‘lived’?

We live in a marketing led world – a place of big dreams and bucket lists. Generally we have a high standard of living, yet we are constantly on the hunt to get more out of life.

We have everything we could possibly need, but still feel that our lives are incomplete. According to what comes across from the media this isn’t until we’ve taken selfies on the latest iPhone while flying over Europe wearing a size 0 designer dress and eating a sugar/grain/dairy free cronut. First world problems huh?

We are left feeling that our life is lacking because it is filled with impossible dreams that mean you haven’t lived. Impossible because they aren’t real. They are scripted, photoshopped, or we are unable to access them without personal trainers, dietitians, stylists, nannies, freebies and finances. All of them center on us as the individual and turn us into narcissists.

Unfortunately, most days of our lives are filled with what could be the mundane. Living every day can be hard.  Social media puts a glamorous face on everyday life, but underneath lurks despondency and depression.

The best secrets to everyday happiness (nay, joy) have been tried and tested by some wise people who went before us. People who lived not only through the trials of everyday life, but through true hardships – adversities like illness, wrongful imprisonment and concentration camps.

Their secrets?

“I will not wait. I will live the present moment, filling it to the brim with love.”
Servant of God Francis Xavier Nguyen van Thuan is a great source of wisdom about living happily everyday. This is coming from a man who spent many years of his life imprisoned, including nine years in solitary confinement in a small dark room. Yet to live the present moment to the fullest was the decision he made when he was first imprisoned to counter his feeling of sadness, abandonment and exhaustion. He decided not to live his life waiting for freedom.

“If I spend my time waiting, maybe the things I look forward to will never arrive. The only thing certain to arrive is death.”

If you focus on the present moment and doing it well, you can’t be too hung up on the past or the future. There can be no regrets that you didn’t live moments well in the past if you were focusing on them in the present.

“Do the Little Things with Love
St Therese of Lisieux was all about doing the little things with love. Hence, she was called the ‘Little Flower’. St Therese lived a relatively plain and basic life as a nun, though she often was ill. But what makes her a saint, famous worldwide was her resolve to “miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.”

Don’t seek all your satisfaction in earthly things
Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati had it all. He was a handsome, fun-loving, athletic, courageous man born into a prominent Italian family. Yet instead of living the “good life” he spent much of his life giving to others: growing in spiritual life and prayer; serving the sick, needy orphans and veterans; being involved in political activism; giving constantly to charity; leading his friends in apostolic works and focusing on others. His wisdom was that we “must not squander the best years of our lives as so many unhappy young people do, who worry about enjoying the good things in life, things that do not in fact bring any good, but rather the fruit of immorality in today’s world.” Instead we need constant prayer, organization and discipline to be ready for action at the right moment and to sacrifice ourselves.

Through this he constantly gave himself with joy and called sadness a disease:

“A Catholic cannot help but be happy; sadness should be banished from their souls. Suffering is not sadness, which is the worst disease. This disease is almost always caused by atheism, but the end for which we are created guides us along life’s pathway, which may be strewn with thorns, but is not sad. It is happy even through suffering.”

He died at the young age of 24 and to the surprise of his family, who didn’t know the work he had done in secret, his funeral was attended by thousands of people lining the streets.

Remember, all the little things make a great life
Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher to the papal household, once explained it this way:

“A mother . . . goes home and begins her day made up of a thousand little things. Her life is literally reduced to crumbs, but what she does is no little thing: It is Eucharist with Jesus! A religious sister . . . goes to her daily work among the old, the sick, the children. Her life too might seem split by many small things that leave no trace at night—another day wasted. But her life too is Eucharist. . . . No one should say, ‘What use is my life? What am I doing in this world?’ You are in the world for the most sublime of reasons, to be a living sacrifice. To be Eucharist with Jesus.”

The “crumbs” of our lives are gathered together and bring hope to other people. Each one of us is a treasure.

Most of these ‘secrets’ involve seizing the opportunities that we are given on a daily basis. Enjoying each moment, offering what we have to others and putting away worry, in exchange for hope.

With that, we can weather whatever comes, with joy.

And that is what makes a good life.