The Life of Dominic Savio
The Influence of Dominic's Virtues. Favours Received. A Recommendation.
Even after such a brief description of his life, it will not be surprising that God deigned to honour his servant, Dominic Savio, with special marks of honour, which made his virtues shine forth the brighter. During his life many had depended for guidance on his advice, and been encouraged by his example; others had recommended their intentions to his prayers, and they had often been answered in a striking manner. It was natural, therefore, that after his death confidence in his intercession should rapidly spread.
As soon as the news of his death reached us, many of his companions went about openly proclaiming him to be a saint. When the usual prayers were being offered for him, and the Litany was recited, they did not think it necessary or proper to say: "Pray for him" ;but continued the customary: "Pray for us." Dominic has gone to heaven, they said, and can need no payers from us.
Others said: "If Dominic, with his innocent life and good works, has not gone to Heaven, who will ever get there?" Thus it was that by degrees he became a regular model for the example of all, and was regarded as a powerful protector and intercessor in Heaven. Almost every day I received accounts of temporal and spiritual graces received. Illnesses were cured, sometimes immediately. I myself was a witness of an instantaneous cure of yellow fever. *
*This confidence in the intercession of Dominic was greatly increased by an assertion made is the strongest terms by his father. He says: "I was is the greatest affliction at the loss of my son, and was consumed by a desire to know what was his position in the other world. God deigned to comfort me. About a month after his death, during a very restless night, I saw, as it were, the ceiling opened, and Dominic appeared in the midst of dazzling light. I was beside myself at this sight, and cried out: "O Dominic, my son, are you already in Paradise?" "Yes," he replied, "I am in Heaven." Then pray for your brothers and sisters, and your mother and father, that we may all come to join you one day is Heaven." "Yes, yes, I will pray," was the answer. "Then he disappeared, and the room became as before." This the father asserts to be the simple truth.
I have before me many documents containing accounts of favours received through Dominic's intercession. The character and authority of the writers are beyond question; but as most of them are still alive, I shall not insert them for the present. There is one related here of a grace obtained by a student who had been a companion of Dominic's.
In the year 1858, this young man's health became very precarious. In fact it had broken down so badly, that he had to interrupt his course of philosophy, take every precaution, and at the end of the year he could not present himself for examination. However, there was a later examination towards the end of the year, and he thought he might be able to prepare for that, and thus prevent the loss of a whole year in the course of his studies; but his health continued to decline and his hopes gradually died away.
During the autumn vacation he had a change of air and rest, and this seemed to give him renewed strength, so that he returned to Turin and applied himself to his studies. But again his health broke down, and he was in a worse state than ever, so that he saw there was no possibility of application to study, or of taking an examination.
"It was then," he says, "that the accounts of the favours obtained by Dominic Savio struck me particularly, and I determined to make a novena to obtain the assistance of this former associate of mine. Certain prayers were said daily, and I made a special appeal on account of my previous intimacy with him, we having been in the same class, and striving for the first place.
"About the fifth day, my health was suddenly much better, and I immediately took to my books; I seemed to master the subjects with great ease and took the examination. Nor was it a short-lived favour, for my health has since remained perfect, and two months have now elapsed since I was ill. I cannot but recognise that this grace was obtained from God by the intercession of my companion and friend."
With this fact I shall bring the life of Dominic Savio to a close. In an appendix other favours are related, which seem to be conducive to the glory of God and the good of souls.
But, dear Reader, before parting, I should like to propose some little resolution, which may be of service to you and to myself and to others; I should like you to join with me to a resolution to imitate young Savio in the practice of the virtues which are compatible with our state. In his own position he lived a most happy, virtuous and innocent life, which was crowned by a holy death. If we imitate his manner of life, we shall be assured of being like him in our last moments.
But he is chiefly worthy of imitation in frequenting the Sacrament of Confession, which was his support in the constant practice of virtue, his guiding star through life, and his consolation at the hour of death. Frequent and devout use should be made of this sacrament so condusive to salvation; bbut every time we do so, let us give a thought to our last confession, in order to make sure that it has been properly made, and when there is need for so doing we should apply remedies to the defects. It seems to me that this is the safest means to spend happy days in the midst of the troubles of life, at the end of which we shall calmly await the moment of death.
Then, with our minds at rest, and a smile on our lips, we shall go forth to meet our Divine Lord who will graciously welcome us; and, judging us according to His great mercy, will lead us both, I trust, dear reader, from the trials of this life to a happy eternity.