By his example he proclaims that a life lived in Christ’s Spirit, the Spirit of the Beatitudes, is “blessed”, and that only the person who becomes a “man or woman of the Beatitudes” can succeed in communicating love and peace to others. He repeats that it is really worth giving up everything to serve the Lord. He testifies that holiness is possible for everyone, and that only the revolution of charity can enkindle the hope of a better future in the hearts of people.
—Excerpt from Pope St. John Paul II’s homily from the Beatification Mass of Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati
The Beatitudes seem to be full of contradictions. It is difficult for us to believe that sacrificing our temporal happiness and welfare will bring us any reward, or to treat the hardships and trials we experience as blessings. But this is the formula for happiness—true happiness, peace, and fulfillment, not the happiness that the world gives—that Jesus preaches. It would seem impossible to us still, if not for the example of His life and death for us on the Cross. He not only preached the Beatitudes; he lived them out, and He has also sent us many saints who have demonstrated what living out the Beatitudes looks like.
Pier Giorgio Frassati, the “Man of the Beatitudes,” was living proof that the promises of the Beatitudes hold true. He sacrificed so much of himself—serving the poor, feeding the hungry, mediating family tensions—and yet he radiated joy. For Pier Giorgio, the Beatitudes were the rungs on a ladder toward the Beatific Vision, where he now resides with God in perfect happiness. With each effort and sacrifice he made for love of God and neighbor, he grew more and more in holy joy. Let his example inspire us to let go of the fear of sacrifice; let us, too, dive in to a life of mercy and service without reservation.
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.
—Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati