Friday, July 6, 2018

Jul 6 - St Maria Goretti

+ Today we celebrate the feast of a well-known Italian girl, Maria Goretti. Maria was a beautiful, pious farm girl, one of six children. Soon after her father died of malaria the family was forced to move onto the Serenelli farm to survive. In 1902 at age twelve, Maria was attacked by 19-year-old farmhand Alessandro Serenelli. He tried to rape her, but she fought and yelled to him that it was a sin, and that he would go to hell. He tried to choke her into submission, then stabbed her fourteen times. She survived in the hospital for two days, where she forgave her attacker, asked God’s forgiveness of him, and died holding a crucifix and a medal of Our Lady. She is counted as a martyr.

While in prison for his crime, Alessandro had a vision of Maria. He saw a garden where a young girl dressed in white, gathered lilies. She smiled, came near him, and encouraged him to accept an armful of lilies. As he took them, each lily transformed into a still white flame; Maria then disappeared. This vision of Maria led to Alessandro’s conversion and he later testified at her cause for beatification.

Maria was beatified in 1947 by Pope Pius XII, and then canonized by him in 1950. The ceremony was attended by 250,000 including her mother (the only time a parent has witnessed her child’s canonization) and by her attacker Alessandro Serenelli, who knelt in St Peter’s Square as her name was announced among the saints in heaven.

Young people today are so much in need of a role model, especially in the area of sexual behavior and relationships in general. Maria Goretti will always stand out as such a model. Her priorities were in order – she must have had a great family environment to learn such Christian values from an early age, and at only age 12 she was willing to lay it all on the line for God, for Jesus, her friend, her role-model and her Lord.

Bless the children today Lord, and somehow convince them that the proper, God-ordered use of all of their instinctual powers and abilities will save them a lifetime of heartache, trouble and even death!

The body is not for immorality, but for the Lord – for our bodies are members of Christ – temples of the Holy Spirit – and instruments in the glorification of God!

All praise and glory to God, both now and forever! Amen!

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