I have always been impressed by this Padre Pio, the stories about him inspire me, his miracles leave me in awe. In today’s article I would like to reflect about this simple man dressed in Franciscan garb.
Embracing his Suffering
In an age when the “culture of Death” is often promoted thanks to anti-life laws, at a time when euthanasia has become the talk of the day, we must turn our attention to this humble man who embraced life till the end even when he had to follow a difficult path in order to accomplish God’s mission for him. During his life Padre Pio lived in a state of poor health, at one point in his life he had to leave the community due to his precarious health. In fact this Capuchin friar saw suffering in a particular way in fact he wrote: “The greater your suffering the greater God’s love for you.” In another letter he wrote; “He wants you entirely for Himself, He wants you to place all your trust and all your affection in Him alone and it is precisely for this reason that He sends you this spiritual aridity, to unite you more closely to Him.
Once I saw a video of Padre Pio walking in church or outside (when his health permitted), only a couple of seconds had passed when people started approaching him to try and kiss his hands. In reaction to such an outburst of love and devotion, Padre Pio didn’t let them kiss his hands at one point in time he even appeared to be in a state of anger to such an outburst. Why? Perhaps the reason can only be described in one word: “Humility”, after all let us not forget that he once said: “You have respect for me because you don’t know me. I am the greatest sinner on this heart.” Padre Pio; a sinner?! I would never say that in my whole life, he was a man whose humility awe-inspired millions, especially me. But Padre Pio didn’t humble himself as part of some actor’s routine, on the contrary he insisted that in humility one can find Christ, in fact he wrote: “When Jesus sees you prostrated in humility, he will extend his hand and draw you to him.”
Traditional till the End
Padre Pio last mass was a unique moment in itself, first because he celebrated it whilst sitting on a wheelchair, due to his declining health and secondly because during the last part of the Pater Noster after saying: “sed libera nos a malo” his stigmata disappeared. For 51 years Padre Pio celebrated the Mass in Extraordinary From, for 51 years a man of deep reverence for our Lord offered the most reverent of masses, which in turn was celebrated by many saints before him who like him faced the Lord with humility and burning love for the Most Holy Sacrament.
At the end of this article I would like to present a quote by Blessed Pope Paul VI who upon hearing of St Pio’s death said: “What fame he had. How many followers from around the world. Why? Was it because he was a philosopher, a scholar, or because he had means at his disposal? No, it was because he said Mass humbly, heard confessions from morning until night and was a marked representative of the stigmata of Our Lord. He was truly a man of prayer and suffering.”