Home > Archives > 05 - 2010 > “Seek the countenance of the saints every day and find repose in their speeches” (Didaché IV, 2)
from issue no. 05 - 2010

Archive of 30Giorni

“Seek the countenance of the saints every day and find repose in their speeches” (Didaché IV, 2)

by Lorenzo Cappelletti

We publish in this issue an article in the feature “Nova et Vetera”– published in No 4 of 30Giorni 1998 – in which Stefania Falasca presented the delightful character and ingenuous writings of Antonietta (Nennolina) Meo, a Roman girl who died when not yet seven years old on 3 July 1937 and was buried in her parish church of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, where she had been baptized on the Feast of the Holy Innocents in 1930.
We republish this article, in the wake of whose first publication invocation of Nennolina intensified and her cause for beatification regained momentum. We offer it as restful reading for the summer, in tune with what Pope Benedict XVI said at a certain point in response to the first priest who joined in the Colloquy during the Vigil in St Peter’s Square on 10 June last. On that occasion the Pope urged that we “recognize our limitations, open ourselves also to this humility. We remember a scene from Mark, Chapter 6, when the disciples were “stressed”, they want to be doing everything, and the Lord says: ‘Let’s go, rest a little’ (cf. Mk 6, 31). This also – I would say – is pastoral work: to find and have the humility, the courage to rest”.
This article makes restful reading, not only for its simplicity but also because it places us, like a child in its mother’s arms, at the heart of the Catholic faith.
To read the life and writings of Nennolina, in fact, contributes to the praise and glory of the Lord. What else is this child a witness to if not of predilection by the Lord, reciprocated by that total and pure love of children?
Secondly – but it is like saying the same thing in another way – Nennolina is testimony to what sacramental grace can do, which it is not lawful for priests to underestimate (cf. the reflections of Pope Benedict XVI on 5 May published in the previous issue of 30Days), and which St Pius X in 1907, with regard to the Eucharist, wanted to be made accessible to younger children also.
The article published here, finally, can be an opportunity, during the holidays, for a visit to Nennolina and the relics of the Passion of Christ (especially the inscription of the Cross that bears the name “Jesus the Nazarene” that Pilate had composed), which few know has been preserved since antiquity in the Basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme. Nennolina is almost a signpost there. Her body rests right at the foot of the small staircase that leads to the chapel of the relics of the Passion. She had written in the last of her little letters: “Dear crucified Jesus, I love you and am so fond of you! I want to be with you on Calvary. Dear Jesus, tell God the Father that I also love Him very much. Dear Jesus, give me your strength for I need it to bear these pains that I offer for sinners”.
We do not sufficiently heed the fact that the Council of Trent ended by recommending, along with the honor due to relics, the invocation of saints to intercede for us sinners.

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