Blessed Rolando Rivi
"I belong to Jesus."
7 January 1931 – 13 April 1945
To learn more, go here.
Did you ever hear people say, "We don't choose saints, they choose us"?
They are usually talking about choosing a special patron, finding ourselves extraordinarily attracted to a particular saint, or even given a name in religion or at baptism-confirmation. It is God who gives them to us, or sends them to us. Or sometimes, in their mission to do good on earth after their death, they simply grasp us because they see a weakness which could sidetrack us? Little Therese did that with me - as did St. Francis. As I got older, others came along, Benedict Joseph Labre and so on. I didn't quite understand all of this back then - I thought I chose them.
But now this kid, Bl. Rolando Rivi has come back. It almost makes an old man cry. This little seminarian, martyred in WWII by Italian Communists for the faith. They made fun of him for wearing the cassock and saturno. They beat him and killed him to prevent another priest being ordained, and displayed his cassock on the door of a barn, to mock him.
Not too long ago a priest asked me to paint Bl. Rolando for him. I did. Blessed Rolando went away, and as with all of my work, the painting - or he - left me to go on a mission. I can't hold onto them. Perhaps Bl. Rolando hasn't been noticed by more people yet? Perhaps his message hasn't been conveyed sufficiently? Which might explain why another priest asked a second time, if I would paint him? I thought to myself, I don't take commissions, but it looks as if Rolando wants me to do it. How do I know that? My heart was burning within me ... that kind of thing. God in his mercy has given me a new project, and a saint who seems to really like me.
It amazes me. This kid really likes me.
Blessed Rolando, pray for us.