Reaching the goal, through God



“If you have God at the center of all your action, then you will reach the goal” (Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati).

This quote from Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, a 20th-century saint, inspires me. His feast day is the 4th of July; and although he is Italian, I like the connection between Independence Day in the U.S. and his feast day. The many freedoms we enjoy in this country are huge blessings; God also gives us the freedom to love, to follow Him, to sin, to turn away and to return.

Born into an influential family in 1901, Frassati could have turned a blind eye to the problems of the world around him, but yet his life was full of action and service to others. In 24 short years, he was part of at least six organizations and associations; was active in politics; loved art and music; climbed mountains for fun; was a member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic; received the Eucharist daily; and served the poor as often as he could. I admire him for living life to the fullest; for using the talents God gave him; and for using his free will to do God’s will, sacrificing for others even through the day he died.

The foundation of Frassati’s life of service was prayer, and each decision he made was rooted in serving Christ. As a teen, he joined the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and devoted much time (even his vacations!) to caring for orphans, helping the poor and serving the soldiers returning from World War I. As a mining-engineering student, he focused on his studies but was also active in politics, standing up for Catholic social teaching. Before receiving his degree, he became ill with poliomyelitis, most likely from the sick he served. His grandmother was dying at the time, and he placed attention on her while suffering himself. He died six days later, but not before he was barely able to send a note to a friend, asking that medication be brought to a man he was helping.

One of my favorite parts of his story is his funeral: a huge number of people came, many whom his family did not know because he had so thoroughly served and gotten to know the people of Turin. Those who attended were surprised as well because they hadn’t known that their friend was a member of the great Frassati family. I am struck by his humility.

Pier Giorgio Frassati’s life encourages me to use the freedom God gave me and the opportunities I have in this country to make a difference. Today, tomorrow and each day forward, I will try to remember, “If you have God at the center of all your action, then you will reach the goal.”