Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on September 23, 2013

0228f462a7428f34a78bb5f16e061b81_w600Gospel reading of the day:

Luke 8:16-18

Jesus said to the crowd: “No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed; rather, he places it on a lampstand so that those who enter may see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light. Take care, then, how you hear. To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: Jesus counsels us to pay attention to how we hear his word, because passivity in hearing is not the goal; what we hear must bear fruit in action, since the one the who has will get more, and the one who has not will have what he appeared to have taken away. For this reason, how we listen to Jesus has to be a hearing which understands, accepts, assimilates, and puts into practice. What we hear and assimilate, has to be passed on.

Saint of the day: The Servant of God Salvo D’Acquisto was born in October 1920 in Naples, Italy. He was the eldest of eight children, three of whom died in infancy and another sibling who died as a child. His father worked in a chemical factory. He left school at the age of 14, as was customary for working-class boys at the time. He volunteered to join the Carabinieri in 1939 and left for Libya the next year, a few months before the start of the Second World War. After being wounded in the leg, he remained with his division until he contracted malaria. He returned to Italy in 1942 to attend officer school. He graduated as a vice-sergeant and was assigned to an outpost in Torrimpietra, a little rural center on the Via Aurelia not far from Rome. In July 1943, Benito Mussolini was overthrown, and the new Italian government negotiated secretly with the Allies to switch sides. An armistice was officially announced on September 8, 1943.

410px-Salvo_D'AcquistoAround that date, a division of German SS troops camped near an old military installation previously used by the Guardia di Finanza, in the vicinity of Torre di Palidoro, which was in the territorial jurisdiction of the Torrimpietra station. On September 22, these German soldiers were inspecting boxes of abandoned munitions when there was an explosion. One died and two others were wounded. The commander of the German division blamed the death on “unnamed locals” and demanded the cooperation of the Carabinieri, at the moment under Salvo D’Acquisto’s temporary command. The next morning, D’Acquisto, having gathered some information, tried in vain to explain that the death was an accident, but the Germans insisted on their version of events and demanded reprisals.

On September 23, 1943, a Thursday, a day of special Eucharistic devotion, Salvo went to confession, mass, and communion. The same day Germans conducted searches and arrested 22 local residents. An armed squad took D’Acquisto by force from the station to Torre di Palidoro, where the prisoners were gathered. Under interrogation, all of the civilians said that they were innocent. When the Germans again demanded to know the names of the responsible persons, D’Acquisto replied that there were none: the explosion was accidental. The Germans ridiculed, insulted, and beat him, and tore his uniform. The Italian prisoners were ordered to dig a trench, some of them with their bare hands. The process of digging their own mass grave reduced many of them to tears.

Only Salvo kept calm and tried to reason with the SS, but it was in vain. It was only at 5:00 PM that he at last succeeded in persuading the SS to let their prisoners go. One of the prisoners stayed to see the outcome, while the others fled in gratitude. He was a 17-year-old boy, and the sole witness of Salvo’s death at the hands of the SS firing squad. For Salvo had convinced the Germans that he was responsible for the imaginary crime and saved the lives of the 22 hostages in so doing. “You live once, you die once,” he had told the boy while they had been digging the trench that afternoon. His cause for beatification as a martyr opened in 1983.

Spiritual reading: What does it profit to give God one thing if He asks of you another? Consider what God wants and then do it. (John of the Cross)


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