Yesterday I wrote an entry about St. Maximilian Kolbe who gave up his life so another might live. Yesterday, another priest gave up his life for a stranger. #JamesMartin, editor of America Magazine, likened Father Giuseppe Berardelli to the beloved saint and called him a “martyr for charity.” One who gives up one’s life for love’s sake.
Father Guiseppe’s parishioners had purchased the ventilator just for him. But he believed someone younger who was ill should have it. If you put his name in Google or another search engine, or just type in Italian priest gives up respirator, dozens of stories will pop up, religious publications and secular, in amazement at this man’s selflessness, at his unbelievable sacrifice for the good of the other, have shared his remarkable story. It is beyond comprehension for most of us. Sacrificial love is real. We actually see it all the time if we have the eyes of love to see it.
A mother who takes care of her child who is sick with fever or worse, will do whatever it takes to save that child’s life. So will a father. Most parents would gladly exchange their own life for that of one of their children. That’s how God loves us. In the God-man Jesus we have that very sacrifice, that perfect sacrifice, to look to. Always know that you are loved with that kind of love by a God who gladly gave His life up so we might live. And not just for a measly few decades, but forever.
The spirit of Maximilian Kolbe lives on in our modern age; but more than that, the Holy Spirit, the same one who strengthened St. Max, strengthened Father Giuseppe. The Holy Spirit gave both men peace that passes all earthly understanding so they could offer up themselves for someone else. Someone they didn’t even know.
Let us pray that we may all receive God’s grace to love like that…