December 18

God is a great gentleman

Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” …. When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. Mt 1,18-24

After the event of the Annunciation the Lord sends, in a dream, an angel to Joseph to inform him on the conception of Jesus and to involve him in the history of the salvation. Before, however, he waits that Joseph is proved to be deserving that role. The proof to which Joseph is exposed is related to the justice, which is something greater than the legality. The law, in fact, would have allowed him to repudiate Mary; but Joseph decided to “repudiate her in secret“, avoiding to her the public shame. Your mother and myself, when we were young, had the privilege to be familiar with a person with a similar sense of justice. He was father Cipriano Ricotti, by those times the prior of the Dominican convent of Saint Mark, in Florence. Father Cipriano guided us during the entire period of the engagement and eventually he celebrated our wedding in the church of Saint Martin at Mensola. One evening of several years ago, we were watching at the television a program dedicated to the Jewish religion, during which they mentioned that “avenue of the right men“ which, in Jerusalem, is dedicated to the persons who, during the second world war, have saved the Jewish people from the persecution, risking their life. At a certain time father Cipriano Ricotti has been interviewed, together with some Jewish persons from Milan, who were tanking him in public because he saved them. We had been impressed, because we did not know anything about: father Cipriano never mentioned it to us. We informed us and we have discovered that, in Florence, he has saved a lot of Jewish persons, hiding them in the attics and after in the entire city. Father Cipriano was not only a right man, he was also a man of mercy. By some day, after having celebrated the holy mass during the week of Passion, he joined us, as usual, to greet us. His eyes were shining: “Excuse me – he said –  but when I celebrate the Eucharist during this week, it happens to me to be moved”. He was a senior person, but we were too young to fully understand him. But with the elapsing of the years, however, his teachings and his example light always incrementally our choices of life.

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