We celebrate the feast of St. Padre Pio on Sept. 23. He suffered greatly. His desire for that suffering, if it be God’s will for Him, can be hard for us to understand, as most of us struggle with some practical atheism in our daily routines. But we do understand some sense of the darkness. If we look around the world today we see it in the pain so many suffer.
It turns out that the saint is a very a practical model, once you get beyond the stigmata.
We see the renovation plans for the rebuilding of the Church in St. Padre Pio. Pope Paul VI said that when we look at St. Pio, we shouldn’t focus merely on the rarely inimitable qualities — the stigmata for 50 years, the bilocation, the reading of people’s consciences, the nocturnal battles against the devil — but instead on what all of us can emulate: that he humbly prayed the Mass, heard confessions from dawn to dusk, was a man of prayer, suffering and charity. These are the pillars for our rebuilding and the rebuilding of the Church.
We need to grow in intensity in the way we pray the Mass, the frequency and quality of our confessions, the priority we give to prayer, the way by which we unite our sufferings to God, and the way we become Good Samaritans for others. That was the means by which St. Pio became a resplendent Temple radiating Christ’s light and even his wounds to the whole world. That’s also the means, through his intercession, by which we will, too.
Also reflecting on Padre Pio, Fr. Steve Grunow writes: “An encounter with the Lord will inevitably draw us out of what is predictable and safe. Only when we accept this, do we truly progress in the spiritual life.” And isn’t this what both Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis have been trying to share with us?
Padre Pio, pray for us!