Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Saint Padre Pio, pray for us!
Today is the Memorial of Saint Pio of Pietrelcino, or more popularly known, as Padre Pio. He is a contemporary Saint, dying in 1968. He lived a life of heroic virtue while having the wounds of Jesus for fifty years.
Padre Pio is a very important person of the Twentieth Century. He lived a life of untiring service as a Capuchin friar, priest and "victim soul" during the most tumultuous years of the 1900's--witnessing first-hand the First and Second World Wars, the encroachment of modernity, the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, and the years of increasing immorality and the denial of the rights of God.
Most especially, Padre Pio was a sign of the presence of the Kingdom of God by the miraculous events that surrounded his life: visions, bilocation, mystical reading of souls, healings, and ultimately the impression of the Five Wounds of Jesus: the stigmata, as well as the scourging. And yet, these extraordinary manifestations of his being in solidarity with the Crucified Lord were not the reasons for his canonization.
It was his heroic virtue: the living of the supernatural life of Christ in his life that makes him a saint. The "signs" of God's blessing and workings in his life were for the faithful. The true reason he is a saint is because he loved the Lord Jesus with a faithful and enduring love.
He loved our Lady, especially in her Holy Rosary, where the basics of our belief as Catholics is repeated over and over..."Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee." In the mysteries of the Rosary, which he prayed unceasingly, he united himself with the saving mission of the Lord and His Mother.
The Sacrifice of the Mass was the very reason he got up in the morning and the reason he made thanksgiving throughout the rest of the day. It is reported that he arose at 2 AM to prepare to celebrate the Holy Mass each day and could not stop thanking the Lord throughout the day for this sublime privelege.
He is the "martyr" of the confessional, spending countless hours hearing confessions and giving absolution. Any priest who has spent only an hour or two in the confessional knows how taxing and sacrificial this ministry can be. And yet, Padre Pio tirelessly spent time in hearing the confessions of the faithful to bring healing, salvation, and comfort to his penitents.
Padre Pio, saint of the Holy Mother, the Holy Sacrifice, and the confessional, pray for priests during this Year of Priests, that they may follow your sublime example.
Pray for the faithful, that that may grow in love with Mary, the Holy Eucharist, and learn to confess often in the Sacrament of Penance in order to grow in the love of Jesus and to experience the Divine Mercy He wishes to impart! Amen.