For anyone who goes to confession without being prepared.
A witness refers to this: "One of my neighbours, whose name was Fortuna, was a penitent of the Servant of God. Many times she related to me that the aforesaid Ven.Lentini, did not hear the confession of those who were not well disposed to confessing themselves " (""Positio"" on his fame for holiness, page 48).
If someone robs you what do you do?
At least, if a poor man does, think about Fr Dominic: "A person skillfully robed a watch in his(viz. Lentini's) in his house. The following day the Servant of God sent for him, and in a very soft and pleasant manner he used kind expressions: - Look, brother, do you need money? And why did you not tell me? I willingly would have given it. Take this liittle sum for your needs. Then to take something without the owner's say-so, my dear brother, this is not good …- The person whom he addressed in so fatherly a way was moved so much as to weep before him with tears of true repentance, like a son before his father. Indeed he also thanked the Servant of God a great deal for his soft warnings, while making at the same time restitution of the watch, and accepting that sum of money in the form of a most obliged and generous offering " (quoted by Pisani; Lentini's biographer in: "His Sermons", page 62).
In relation to collections for cancer etc.?
The collection days for the various causes are not condemned. Lentini in the face of the various ills which afflict man and society turns to The One Who can correct the infected roots because He is always the Creator, the Omnipotent, He Who loves man and has come to show us the way to repair and heal man and creation: it is the reparation of the Cross. Behold how Lentini behaves and what he does at St.Elijah's for the rain or near the Cafaro torrent for the sins of the people which are the origin of evil:
"One time all the people, guided by Lentini, went to the Chapel of St.Elijah which is situated on a rocky cliff a short distance from their houses in order to pray for rain . Lentini celebrated Mass there and afterwards, when all the people were praying he was beating his chest, he said:- It is I who must beat myself! – and he started to use the discipline on himself harshly. The sky - which up to that time was clear - suddenly was covered with clouds, and there down came pelting rain.
Moreover at night he often went outside his dwelling in order to do penance. And one time the engineer Mr.Gennaro Rossi, the works Director of the Calabrian road-construction, came across him at night in the Caffaro-river district; and having asked him how he found himself there, he replied: - I came to weep for the sins which are committed here " ( "Positio" on the fame of his holiness, pages 8-9).
Lentini's holy larnyx
Whoever does good, remains alive on earth. In addition to Lentini's fame for sanctity the organ of his lovely voice remained alive on earth, the one which had always and everywhere called people back to the faith. This is the way the pharmacist John Grisostomo Alagia recalled it on 31/10/1908: " He was so valiant in preaching, that the Lord wanted to preserve from corruption the organ of his voice, and as a matter of fact in the recognition of his corpse (in 1892: editor's note) the larnyx was found to be intact, as I was told by my brother and by my doctor son called Peter, who was one of the medical observers and who rearranged the bones" (ivi, page 49).
For the priest who passes you by, what do you do?
Some touch their hat. Others remember something else that is not so nice. Almost everybody nowadays does not even look at him. How times have changed! Is it the fault of the priests that people cannot respect them? I would say rather that it is the remembrance of Jesus' words that have disappeared, since in speaking to his disciples, He said that everything that would be done to them, was done to Him, that is, to Jesus.
Lentini's times were different and when he passed by. It was as if the procession of a saint passed by. The shopkeeper Joseph Mary Curzio, leaves us this remark in the canonical acts: "He was vey zealous for God's glory, by inculcating in everybody to hear Holy Mass on the feast-days. And moreover when someone would be playing in some public-house - on hearing that it was the Venerable Servant of God that was passing by that place - he would stop the game or would compose himself with the maximum respect towards him" (ivi, page 50).
For anyone who always wants to be right and cannot submit themselves to others
Lentini excelled in obedience towards everybody. He respects Superiors and obeys civils laws provided that they are not against God's Law. But he knows how to submit himself also to his peers. Fr. Angelo from Lauria with whom he was often seen at the Capuchin monastery remembers it: "He was obedient too towards his equals, and this indeed he observed, since his habitual expressions were: - Whatever you yourselves wish" (""Positio"", 1927, page 310).
In order not to be expelled and for teachers who, having been offended by students, react with the heavy hand of authority
The solicitor and Notary Matthew Messuti found this out from his grandfather and his grandfather's brother, who were pupils of Lentini:
"He devoted himself to the ministry of teaching, with my grandad as well as his brothers being pupils of his. The latter told me too that once the Servant of God received a slap from a man whom Venerable Lentini gave just warnings; but he, besides not getting his own back for this offence, like a true follower of the Gospel, offers the other cheek to the striker" (ivi, page 51).
If you curse, Lentini still threatens you!
During his life Lentini did not tolerate cursing. When he did not succeed with words, he announced chastisements for the incurable curser. That same Lentini hears your curses from Heaven. He makes reparation, he prays, but he warns you just like he did in life.
The building contractor Gaetano Viceconti refers to this in 1908 in the acts:
"To two men who were playing and swearing horribly, he predicted that one would die spouting blood, and that the other would not be able to receive Holy Viaticum: predictions which were verified, as they say, to the letter" (same, page 56).
The pharmacist already quoted John G.Alagia, adds another detail:
"The Servant of God when passing by a certain point of his Lauria outside a dwelling, he heard that in a certain brickyard some were blaspheming while playing; the Servant of God preannounced their end with saying that one would die spilling blood and the other would die without receiving the Viaticum; these profesies were verified to the fullstop" (ivi, page 57).
For anyone who listened to the reprimand and is remembered:
"Once a man, I do not know why, was cursing terribly. The Servant of God, heard him and went to reprove him. But, seeing that he did not stop, he prostrated on the ground and begged that man to strike him on the face. This man, on seeing that act of the Servant of God, not only stopped cursing , but he was moved and edified" (The Latest "Positio", pages 27-28).
The latest: What is not yours, may never be yours!
It is a small episode, but very meaningfull for everybody: What is not yours, may never be yours. It is among the things remembered by John Grisostomo Alagia:
"One day a devout person went to a priest's house with a little wheat to have him say Mass; but on the way he changed his mind and went off to give it to the Servant of God. The latter - regarding the offering which that person was giving him for the mass - said to him: - No, no, I cannot accept it, go and give it to that priest where you were directed" (ivi, page 56).
The episode makes us understand the gift that Lentini had for scrutinizing a person's soul. But even more it indicates Lentini's correctness with respect to the things of others. If he had accepted there would have been no stealing, but he would not have accepted the firstmost intention of the person making the offering, who changed his mind in a hurry and wanted to give it to him. Anyone else would have accepted. Not he, because the external offering was separated from the real offering: the internal one, namely the intention of bringing it to another Priest. There would not have been any evidence of wrong, but a theft of the intention. What holiness! And what a lesson for whover abuses another's money or any money which has other destinations. It is evidently a summons to whoever share in any such abuse. No less is it for anyone in the Church or its connected Institutions, who appropriates funds or makes other use of money that was given with precise intentions. Neither is it correct to employ offerings - that were given for Holy Masses - on other holy things. The lesson invites us all to respect the intention regarding what is holy and also on religious feasts. When one gives an offering to a Saint, it becomes the property of the Saint, and in that case we down here, like administrators, have to ask ourselves: What would St. Anthony or Blessed Lentini do with these offerings? What they did during their life and certainly not for singers and things of this world.
In earthquakes and other calamities
The fire of 8 August 1806 was distressing for Lauria. What did Lentini do? Eugene Giordano tell us about it:
"After the burning down of my house in the universal fire of our hometown on the eight of August 1806, he sent me in a hidden manner six money-coins and six bed-stools, and on the same day he sent six money-coins to a needy cousin of mine" (Most Recent ""Positio"" at the section Response to the Soul's-adversary, page 10).
"The the Servant of God, says text 49, loved God as much as a heart is capable of loving him. He talked about God in private conversations; he lit up so much while talking of God, that he seemed like a Seraphim, and he always had God in his mouth, in order to inflame everybody with Divine Love" (Latest ""Positio"", page 22). And witness no. 55 adds: "From the words that he said and from the facts of his life one saw clearly that he had but God in his mouth and heart and recommended nothing else but the love of God" (ivi, page 22).
In relation to one's neighbour
A seperate chapter would be needed in order to deal with this adequately. Anna Riccio has dealt with it as her thesis for the Tursi-Lagonegro's SR Institute. I hope that she publishes it. Here I call to mind only what witness 47 said and no.11 too.
Witness 47:"The charity of the Servant of God Dominic Lentini was such and so great towards the neighbour that I do not have sufficient terms to express it. He remained fasting, shoeless and naked in order to help and assist his peers, depriving himself of everything and of every means necessary for life, such as to arouse admiration in everybody who came to know about such heroic acts" (ivi, page 22).
Witness II: "When he went to preach and received some emolument, he made them give it to him in small change, because he wanted to give it to the poor, thus returning home as poor as when he set off" (ivi, page 24).
The Tappa-bread of Latronico
Nicola Viceconti tells us about it(""Positio"", 1927, page 228): "One of the times when he had to preach in the neighbouring town of Latronico, the carriage-operator Giambattista Di Lascio (now dead), one of his pupils, went over there to bring him back home to Lauria with his master's mule, viz. Fr Julian Luglio's, (who is also dead). When he arrived at Latronico, Di Lascio went immediately to the house where the Servant of God was living in order to ask him the time at which he had to leave on the following day and he found that the Servant of God was chatting to a certain person, whose name I do not remember but his nick-name was the Bread stopper. The following morning when Di Lascio returned to the Servant of God's dwelling at the appointed to see if it was suitable for leaving he found the Bread-stopper there again (= 2nd time), and the master said to Di Lascio: - Go and get the mule ready, because I am going to celebrate Mass and then I will came down to ground level to be able to leave -. Di Lascio carried out the orders of his dear master, the Servant of God, and while he was waiting for him at the designated place he realized that the Servant of God was followed by the same Bread-stopper (3rd time). On account of these accompanyments Di Lascio thought that the Servant of God, had in mind to give some of his clothes to the one who was following him. The above-mentioned carrier knew full well that the Servant of God was accustomed to coming home without some of his clothes. When the Servant of God came near, he told him: - Brother, off you go very slowly with the mule, because I have another visit to make and I will catch up on you. This was eneough to confirm Di Lascio's suspicions and he started to go off. But when he reached a turn in the road outside the houses, he hid the mule behind a barrier, and looking slily he saw that the Servant of God was approaching, and at a certain point he took off his cap and gave it to the aforementioned Bread-stopper (4th time). Di Lascio let his master pass by without his being seen, and then at full speed to overtook that scrounger, and took the hat from him by force, and in exchange gave him a good number of blows with a vine stick. Then he returned and caught up on the Servant of God, who on seeing hiM, said:- Brother, where have you been?- Il Di Lascio answered: - My Lord Master, walk on since I will tell you later -. But when the Servant of God realized that he was carrying the hat, he said to him: - Brother, brother, what have you done? That fellow is a poor man with five children who are naked and without shirts! To which Di Lascio retorted vulgarly: - Eh! Master, are there poorer than you? and you speak about the poor -" The hat was not mentioned, because the Bread-stopper had gone off, to avoid any other blows from Di Lascio!
For students and teachers
For his whole life, apart from his moments of ministering and apostolics works: he was a student and teacher.
Lentini the student
This the way the surgeon Nicholas Giordano remebers him. ("Positio", 1927 page 30): "I knew the Servant of God from my earliest years as a boy, while we were school pals, and aferwards when we were away from the teacher, if I said some word which was not very decent, he drew my attention to it, and exhorted me to be more modest in speaking. If someone intended to do some boyish prank, he used say the following words to me: - Let us first of all learn the verses, which meant the lesson, and then we will enjoy ourselves -. I was there many times when his father would call him, and well I remember, that he flew off in order to be obedient. In school he was more so than all the others, he was more modest, respectful and attentive in such a way that I do not remember him ever being put down by our teacher"
Why did he give himself to the School?
In those times almost all the Priests were doing so. It was a social supplement for them in times of little or no State Schooling. Lentini started at it early on. The local Gentlemen obtained leave of absence for him to continue his theological studies at Lauria and to open a school for youth at the same time. He turns out to be a worker priest : like St.Paul who lived as a hide-tanner. He did it on account of his poor circumstances says his distinguished pupil, Charles Viceconti ("Positio", 1927, page 217): "On account of his needs he did schooling in order to live - having lost even his share of the Church(= salary), since he assigned it to one of his father's creditors ".
Testimonies about Lentini the Teacher
Fr Michele Forastieri: "It was his maxim in the school and he frequently repeated to his pupils the following: - Vani sunt omnes homines in quibus scientia Dei non subest (Vain are all men in whom knowledge of God does not reside) -. This is what his pupils assure me and in preference the very gifted Fr Charles Viceconti".
Fr Dominic Scaldaferri ("Positio", 1927, page 34): "I have known Fr Dominic Lentini from my youth as my teacher, & for the rest of my days as a fellow Priest serving the same Church. I was in his school for two years, and I learned Latin from him and above all I learned lessons of healthy morality and good habits, and there I learned to fear God, to flee from sin and to hate vice".
His free time with the youth
He perfected religious education with the youth through The Spirit Sodalities which he held at the Assunta church or in nearby St. Vincent's. But even in free time he often spent it with them to bring them in the evening after lessons on a visit to the Blessed Sacrament - preferably to the Convent or else during the day to the Assunta - and to his preferred sanctuary of St. Elijah, where he used make them hear his sermons which he had prepared before going to give a Lenten mission.
He was always ready
Dominic Alagia ("Positio", 1927, page 251): "When he was called to the confessional he used hurry along at whatever hour and he never got tired hearing confessions. When called to preach, he never found difficulty in preaching ".
Fraternal advice to Priests
What Pisani says suffices (quoted, page 56): "For priests, in general and individually, he addressed the following and frequently: "Brothers, let us always rememember that we are priests; let us have the holy fear of God, and let us respect our superiors, who take God's place. Let us listen to their voice with reverence, since they are God's own voice ".
The efficacy of his preaching
He prepared himself and before going to preach about confession he used make a general confession: "Grace moves everything, and the Servant of God in order to attract it in abundance used always make his general confession before his sermons, usually to Rev. Fr Joseph Ielpo" (Pisani, quoted on page 37).
He used pray to Our Lady and the Saints and above all, do Eucharistic Adoration, which was the center of his piety, as Fr. Angelo from Lauria noted("Positio", 1927, 154): "He was most devoted to the Blessed Virgin and the Saints, but it seemed to me that his special devotion was to the August Sacrament of the altar, because before it he seemed to like a Serafin itself".
He used go up to St. Elijah's to commend himself to the Great prophet where, besides repeating some sermons to his students, he used do some penance afterwards. His penance accompanied his preaching days: public penance, as was then in use in preaching, and hidden penance. He used sleep on the ground or in uncomfortable places, like my friend Biagio Ferrari at Rivello has written in his book Fr Dominic Lentini at Rivello, on page 33. He never preached for gain. He used set off to preach poor and poor he came back. The offerings that he received went to the poor of the townlands where he had preached, such as the Bread-stopper from Latronico.