HIS DEATH


Heavenly in the eyes of God is the death of the righteous. A righteous man lives constantly his hour of death, he imagines it as a sweet embrace between loved ones.

Constant meditation on death is part of the Church’s precept to its members and Father Dolindo has given instructions in his books, sermons, in his meditations to his followers on the mystery of life, death, judgement, Hell, Purgatory, Heaven and all are illustrated with such rich images to appear almost as if, he, like Paul, had been mystically kidnapped. However, All the treasures which God has prepared for us must be paid for through the agony of our mortal body, which bites despite rotting teeth, the flesh which is the Christian soul’s vessel for its voyage towards Heaven.

At 88 death hovered at Father Dolindo’s bedside, bronco-pneumonia devastated that human shell which fueled the Holy Spirit’s fire. Leeches were applied, I.V. tubes inserted, tracheotomy performed. Medical Science finally waited for inertia of the body to succumb. At dawn November 19, 1970, the day of the dedication of Saint Peter and Paul’s Basilica, Father Dolindo’s conditions got worse without losing consciousness he passed the time of his last day with the “Salve Regina”. He was inundated in a cloud of mystery. He could no longer swallow but the desire for the food he had hungered for all his life never ceased. Father Giovanni Galasso offered it to him after having absolved him. The scent of lilies filled the air and was felt by all present as an ultimate sign of his sainthood. Suddenly at 5:13 P.M. in the hour when Angels reap the earth and present the harvest unto God to be stored in his heavenly silos, this vision of Paradise briefly reanimated his body, his limbs contracted and then relaxed. The weight of his body for some mysterious reason caused his body to rise, he floated lightly on the bed as if going towards a vision, that of his Celestial Mother to whom he had consecrated his life and works.

His countenance was of indescribable beatitude, the piousness of his spiritual daughters slowly laid his head to rest on his pillow. The whole city of Naples mourned him and went in procession to honor him and to say good-bye, all was heightened by the glory that God Almighty reserves for his saints. Jesus’ love for his friends was so immense that he left the Eucaresty as a sacrament to remind them. Neither did Father Dolindo go without a promise: That of instilling them with all of the forgiveness and grace that they would ever need from the Virgin Mary and Jesus.
If they knocked on his tomb in need, he would never hesitate to listen.
And this is how the Neapolitan custom of knocking three times in the name of the Holy Trinity on the marble of his tomb where he lies in the Virgin of Lourdes’ Church in Naples got started. Here Cries and prayers are left, fueled by a mixture of mercy and need.

We too have knocked on that tomb and have received far beyond that which we asked for. This memory has been put down in ink to certify these facts of which we are testimony and to praise our Lord through the spreading of the image and works of don Dolindo Ruotolo, who for himself was nothing but in God was all, nothing for self and all for God.


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