To the heights!”Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati
One of my favorite things about this saint is that he loved the outdoors and the mountains. And that he always pushed the limits in everything he did. If I were to imagine what a hero would look like in our times, I think I would picture someone like Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati.
Pier Giorgio Frassati was born in Italy in 1901 to a prominent family. Despite not having any kind of faith or religion among his family, he developed a love for the Mass and the Eucharist at a very young age, an odd surprise to his parents.
Though he came from wealth, he lived a modest life and shared all that he had. He was also somewhat of an activist as a young man, helping everyone he could and fighting for the rights of others. The poor and suffering held a special place in his heart. He could often be found helping others, tending the sick, or giving the clothes off his back to the poor.
When he wasn’t giving of his time and service to the needs of others, he gathered his friends to climb the mountains. He was constantly seeking to go higher, climb higher, reach higher, fully aware that His yearning for more was an insatiable desire for God. He was also known to be encouraging, fun-loving, and quite a jokester. They even called him, “the terror,” because he was notorious for practical jokes.
Frassati is someone who has inspired and reminded me that living a passionate and full life is pleasing to God, and central to the Gospel. Frassati wanted to go “to the heights” in everything he did, in his faith, his love for others, and his adventures.
Whenever I’m tempted to believe that God wants anything less than a wonderful life for me, I remember the way Frassati lived. His life wasn’t free of trials, as he even contracted polio from someone he cared for, and died at the young age of twenty-four—but he is an example of someone who lived, and lived well.
We might think that being immersed in God means that we have to back away from the good things in life, but Frassati models for us how to be so immersed in God that love for people—and life—will just pour out of us all the more.
I don’t know about you, but I want to go ‘to the heights!’ like Frassati did. God called this young man out into the deep, just like Jesus told Peter to put out into the deep–to reach beyond the limits of mediocre living and thought.
The marks of Frassati’s full and generous life lived on past his death. At his funeral, hundreds and hundreds of people lined the streets in attendance. All the people that Frassati touched with love, all those he inspired to reach higher, came to pay respects to this young man who made such an impression on them.
May we learn to take an ounce of the spice for life that Pier Giorgio Frassati had. To learn from him to flee to God as the main source of our life, and then to take that grace and pour it into a full and abundant life, or in the Italian spirit of Pier Giorgio, a life full of “guuuusto!”