NICOLETTA LATINI, MARRIED TO CLEMENTONI (FROM RECANATI)
(From Catechesis "Blessed among women" on 18th May, 2008. Don Marco Farina) I want to speak about Nicoletta Latini (married to Clementoni), from Recanati. I want to talk about this woman because we can learn something important to become true Christians from her. You know that today is the feast dedicated to Holy Trinity. When we read about the relationship between Jesus and His Father in the Gospel, we find that the Father was the most important person for Jesus: there was nobody, nothing, more important to him than the Father. Jesus came into the world to do His will: in His life Jesus did not think to be fulfilled, but He thought to do the work that His Father had given Him. When we see Jesus Christ in difficulty or suffering, He always turns to the Father. Jesus could preach a whole day, to proclaim the Word and heal sick people, but at night He talked to His Father. Jesus had a very confidential relationship with the Father of Heaven: he used to call Him with the same word as the Jewish children called their dad: (in Hebrew) "abba" which means "Daddy, dad." When someone tried to oppose His relationship with the Father (eg. during the temptations in the desert Satan says: " If you forget Him, and you come to me I will give you money, pleasure of the body, glory, success ... everything is mine and I will give it to you but you have to choose me as a reference point and not your Father ... "), Jesus Christ sends him away with all His might and main. For the will of the Father Jesus sacrifices everything: even when He is in the most difficult test, in Gethsemane He says to Him: "Father, this whole mountain of suffering fills me with horror: if possible take away this cup from me! Do me this favor. You can do everything, surely things can go another way. Take away this cup from me. But do not do what I want, but do what You want. For me what You want is more important than what I want". The Father's will, first of all. And in order to do it, He sacrificed everything: His life, His body, His suffering, His affections, every drop of blood. If the Father wants it, it must be that. Without any hesitation. Without any doubts. In this life everyone has to act as Jesus did, but someone has to do it in an extreme way, just as Jesus did, but on the cross. Now we are going to speak about Nicoletta: she was 30 years old when doctors found her a brain tumor. They removed the tumor, but not all parts of it, because the rest was in a place with too many blood vessels. She could lose her sight because of the surgery, but fortunately she lost only a few tenths and she was able to read, with the help of a lens. They said that the tumor would be back in two years. And it happened. Nicoletta had a lot of surgeries to remove the mass that grew in her brain. The doctors said to her: "You already have two sons. Do not have other children because it's too dangerous for you". But Nicoletta felt the vocation to motherhood, and she had another two children. Between the second and the third son there is a 10-year-gap. Her last child would have made his First Communion, in the following month of May, 2008. Well, another two children with this disease! We're not talking about a little pain, here we are talking of a malignant tumor. Nicoletta had four good and beautiful sons. His family was united in the Lord Jesus: Nicoletta and Pierpaolo met in the parish church, when they were teenagers. And they have always walked together in faith, with a great love for the Church and priests, always with a helpful mood. But the cancer proceeded and it began to spread.
From head it goes to the lungs, to the liver, and then to the bones, the pelvis, the spine, the cervical vertebrae, shoulders; then to the lymphatic system, everywhere. Despite the therapy, there was no way to stop the cancer. Nicoletta asked us for prayers and we went to pray for this woman. We prayed for her many times; I announced her that Jesus Christ can heal. I saw several people heal from cancer through prayers, I fully believe in this kind of miracle. I prayed, I prayed, I prayed, but nothing, not any improving. Every time I prayed I hoped to feel the Anointing of the Holy Spirit, when the Holy Spirit uses you for healing, you feel its power through you and the person receiving your prayer feels a fire that burns the disease. But for Nicoletta nothing, nothing. From the spiritual point of view instead, Nicoletta, after prayer, always had a wonderful smile and she used to sing for joy. She was part of a prayer group, she was the guitarist, she knew the songs, she always sang. But she was never as serene as she was after prayers. Even if she was sick, Nicoletta was a living testimony. People said: "Look at her suffering with joy: she can carry the burden of the disease ...". Everybody praised this woman. I said to the Lord: "But why did you not heal this woman? There are a lot of people who pray for her, an entire region! Prayers, prayers, prayers ... And there are four children, the last one is only 8 years old. Oh Lord, why can’t you move Yourself to this sick mother who has got four children?". Nothing. All my believes of faith on divine healing, everything disappeared and I also sinned against the Lord because I did not accept her non-healing. The Lord did not want to hear the prayers of anyone. Nothing. Why? Because there was a largest project of Jesus on her. And I realized later. I discovered that Nicoletta had a great love for the Church and especially for priests. Some priests went to talk to her not only to visit her, but also to take advice, to receive a word. The bishop had sent her a young priest because he was in crisis: she would help him resume his vocation well and his spiritual strength. She just lived with the great desire that the Church was holy, strong in faith, and that the priests, instead of being obstacle or scandal to the faith of God's people, became help, living charity, companionship for the sick, proclaimers of the Word. Nicoletta wanted the Church be sanctified and especially she wanted the priests live their vocation and mission well.
To make the works of the Lord you have to pay a price. If one wants to buy a loaf of bread he will have to spend a few euros. If one wants to buy a television he must spend a few hundreds euros, if one wants to buy a car he will have to spend a few tens of thousands euros. If one buys a house even more. Maybe he must take out a mortgage for 30 years! Depending on what one wants to get there is a price to pay. How much do saving souls, sanctifying the church, making holy priests cost? For Jesus Christ, how much did returning souls to the Father cost? Was it enough to have fallen into the world with His holiness of baby and boy? So He saved only childhood and family. Living in a wonderful reality of worker and trade with products built by the job of carpenter, was this enough to save humanity? No, doing so He sanctified work, but there are many people who do not work, who are not married. Therefore Jesus left His family and became an apostle among the distant people, going from village to village to proclaim the Gospel to sinners and bring them back to the Father. Miracles will boost His preaching attracting a lot of people. But in this way did the Lord Jesus manage to take all the sinners? No. With His preaching He did not take the Pharisees, scribes, Sadducees, Sanhedrin and the priests of that time, the power of the Palaces of that time. There was still a higher and deeper step to do. Jesus Christ had to take all the sin and its consequences on Himself. So it was still necessary for Him physical death, moral suffering and suffering of all kinds. Everything, all the works produced by the Spirit of evil. All the sins made by all men of all times and all places of the earth on Himself. Everything. And historically taking all the evil in the world on Himself had a very realistic way. Which one? The cross. Two pieces of rough wood above which being nailed. When you see 30,000 sinners changing their life after the preaching of the Word and returning to the Church to pray and give their money to the poor, you understand the importance of preaching. But what do a rough cross and three large steel nails mean? Really that was the most powerful testimony and preaching done by Jesus Christ until then. Jesus has converted more souls with the cross than with three years of preaching in Palestine. With His public ministry Jesus has reached the borders of Judea, with His cross He has reached the ends of the world and the boundaries of time from Adam to the last man who will be born and set foot on this world. He took everything. Then the spiritual value and power of suffered love are bigger than any preaching activities or miracles and exorcisms in attracting souls to God. The Lord, for the sanctification of the Church and in particular of the priests, asked Nicoletta this level of love, suffered or crucified love, as you prefer. This means being victim-souls, rare vocation because very high and very painful. In her last days of life, Nicoletta was with a morphine drip 24 hours a day, not to die of unbearable pain. Nevertheless she collapsed in pain twice. The doctors gave her for dead both the times, instead she recovered and she still went on. I went to visit her in the hospital, about 10 days before she died, I still prayed for her, I asked the Lord for her recovery again, I gave her even the Anointing of the Sick. I saw a crippled body and at the same time I saw a beaming soul, shining in her clear beautiful eyes. How true that the eyes are the mirror of the soul! At the end of the prayer Nicoletta began singing praise to the Lord. Then she was not able to finish it because she was very weak. She died at 47, in the spirit of praise. But what happened at the end of her life? The devil failed, giving her all that suffering, because she never said: "But why does God make me suffer so much since I always obeyed?" She has never thought about this and praised God suffering and offering herself. Who of us would be able to see his or her young body that dies day after day, hour after hour, and say to God: "You are great, you are good, you are the Infinite Love." She could do because she had discovered the value of suffered love, the value of Jesus’ love on the cross. Suffering is a terrible spiritual battle. The devil is terrible. What for? To make us to rebel and disconnect from God. To make us think that God does not love us anymore because we suffer. God doesn’t make us suffer, it's him, the spirit of evil that creates all suffering. So we are in a fight. If we give in to temptation, we’ll rebel against God, and then we’ll suffer not only with the body but also with the soul in a state of struggle against God. If we remain faithful, ( this is very hard), we’ll remain standing inwardly and we’ll praise God even when we are in bad conditions. And if one praises God while his body is dying in the middle of a sea of suffering, who is winning at that moment, in that soul, God or the devil? Tell me. It means that the devil, despite having used all his arsenal against us to disconnect us from God and condemn us and take us where he is, has been defeated! If one praises God when suffering, he’ll break the horns to the Devil and defeat him. Do you understand that? We all knew since childhood that we must love God above everything: "You shall love your Lord with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your strength." Then in the vicissitudes of life we forget this love. As I prayed for Nicoletta I asked the Lord for a word for her. At that moment Nicoletta was lying on the bed, I was at one side of the bed, on the other side the daughter Monica was assisting her mother. Monica was kneeling and melted into silent tears .... I opened the Bible and the Word was this: Mt 10,37ss "Thus says the Lord:" Who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me ... ". The daughter was crying for her mother ... if she dared to say to God: "Lord, where are you, you say you are good: don’t you listen to the prayers to heal Mom?", she would not have been worthy of Jesus who has given up His Mother to do God’s will... Do you understand this? And then: "... Who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me ...". The mother had her daughter in tears in front of her. She was dying of cancer and her daughter was in perfect health, but Mom was singing for joy and the daughter was crying. But who are healthier then, healthy or sick people? Nicoletta put this word into practice: she loved Jesus more than her husband, more than her four children, more than her last 8-year-old son, who would receive the First Communion shortly thereafter on the month of May. As a pastor many times I heard grandmothers saying to God: "Lord let me die, but first let me see my grandson who receives Communion." The Lord did not allow that to her. Hallelujah! "... And whoever loses his life for my sake, he will find it." Shortly before her death, Nicoletta told her family, and she put it also in writing, that the day of her funeral they did not have to cry but they had to celebrate because their mother had gone to heaven. April 26th, 2008, at 10 am, she went to the Lord she loved. That Sunday afternoon at the funeral two bishops and over 30 priests concelebrated. If Sunday's funeral was held on a weekday, when priests were free, the number of priests would be at least double. And there were two bishops and 30 priests not because she was a rich or important woman, but because she was a great Christian. That day I did not have any tears to cry, I had already shed all my tears. Her children instead, especially David and Monica, smiled of joy during the funeral, from the beginning to the end, it seemed that they were at a graduation party. The mother had prepared them for this moment, but not only: they had the grace to be able to respond so well to the separation from their mother. And so, this is the goal of the sanctification of the Church and especially the sanctification of priests, wanted by the Lord in Nicoletta. The Lord has gained a great fruit for His kingdom thanks to that suffering. Nicoletta is an example of a great soul, a victim-soul, one of those souls who people often do not know or know only after death because they live hidden. They are the highest, thanks to them the Church today is still going on, despite many opposite testimonies and scandals that occur in it. Praise You, Lord Jesus, for Your work in Nicoletta!