Marvelli, a Blessed in Jacket and Tie

Interview with Biographer of New Blessed

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 22, 2004 ( Blessed Alberto Marvelli is not what most would consider a traditional blessed: he was a young, athletic layman who often wore a jacket and tie.

In this interview, Professor Roberto Di Ceglie of the Pontifical Lateran University, explains to ZENIT how «faith and history» are intertwined in Marvelli who was proclaimed blessed a month ago in Loreto. He also outlines his personality and describes him as «athletic, responsible and credible.»

Professor Roberto Di Ceglie is co-author with Natalino Valentini of a book on the new lay blessed entitled «Alberto Marvelli: Fidelity to God and Fidelity to History” published in Italian by Messaggero di S.Antonio Editrice. The book includes the minutes of a scientific congress promoted by the diocese of Rimini, Italy, this year.

Q: What does this contemporary young saint in a jackete and tie have to say to the world?

Di Ceglie: A saint in a tie and jacket means the Christian capacity to dress oneself with the clothing of history, making it significant in the light of the pillars of faith, the Eucharist, and prayer.

In other words, this clothing assumes its maximum potentiality in the constant remembrance of the values of faith in a God who himself is involved in the first person in human affairs.

Q: Marvelli is among the most luminous figures of Italian Catholicism. Why?

Di Ceglie: Because in him faith and history have been united in a marvelous way. This bond, which brings with it the splendor of a life lived to the fullest thanks to faith in Christ, finds in Marvelli an expression of exceptional power: young, athletic, courageous, intelligent, able in his studies and successful at work, solid in his positions but respectful of diversity, attentive to the needs of others, determined to pursue objectives with obligation and responsibility, credible, sure.

Who would not be attracted by the fascination of such a figure? Luminous, without a doubt.

Q: Lay, young, saint: is it a path we will see increasingly?

Di Ceglie: In each one of us, certainly, there is the yearning to see and meet saints. It is therefore desirable that holiness be increasingly allied to the condition of the laity, who can have the honor of living it in the context of daily life, in an authentic missionary spirit of which the need is increasingly noted.

And it turns out to be even more fascinating that youth comes across such paths, because it is a symbol of freshness, of openness to reality and, in a certain sense, of serene correspondence with events and history, still not vitiated, and if I am allowed the expression, foreign to a certain pedantry that at times comes with age.

In a word, it is a question of re-thinking, from this point of view, the spontaneity of the little ones, who not by chance Jesus called to be free to go to Him.

Q: Truth and charity, contemplation and action: Marvelli is spoken about as an extraordinary example of faith and history. How did he do it?

Di Ceglie: The fact of appreciating and developing earthly realities is constitutive of Christianity.

Medieval culture combined the saying Gratia non destruit naturam sed perficit, namely, that grace does not diminish but empowers the dignity of the things of the world in relationship to God who loves man to the point of sacrificing His Son for his salvation.

Marvelli’s extraordinary experience is attributable, undoubtedly, to an exceptional visibility of this relationship, which finds its effective expression in the capacity to combine faith, politics, and ethics.

But beyond this particularity, we must say that in general there is no holiness without this correspondence between faith and history.

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