A Holy Influence Continues
by Monsignor Charles M. Mangan
©Catholic Online 2004
Saint Pio of Pietrelcina—still better known as “Padre Pio”—has captured the attention of millions of the Faithful throughout the world.
The holy Capuchin Franciscan Friar, a native of Italy who died in 1968, is remembered for his “otherworldliness”—his sincere and complete abandonment to Almighty God and his beloved Madonna. Thirty-six years after his passing from this “valley of tears,” the salutary influence of Padre Pio certainly shows no sign of waning.
Saint Pio signifies many things to many persons. A noted Italian journalist has publicly attested to her fervent, abiding devotion to Padre Pio. Paola’s life has been profoundly touched by his good example and, especially, his celestial intercession. She considers Padre Pio to be a loyal companion who teaches, buoys, consoles and challenges her. In a word, Padre Pio has become Paola’s guide, urging her to walk down the difficult path of holiness that infallibly leads to Paradise.
How beautiful when those who are recognized as leaders in their respective fields realize and give witness to what the Lord, His Mother, the Angels and the Saints have meant to them!
The Risen Lord Jesus uses Saint Pio to draw men and women, boys and girls of various nations, languages, educational backgrounds and socio-economic classes to Himself. Christ is aware that Padre Pio’s stellar cooperation with God is attractive and demonstrates that it is possible to follow Jesus regardless of race and tongue and despite human weakness and temptation.
Padre Pio often acknowledged his absolute dependence on the Lord. He admitted that, left to himself he had nothing to offer to any of the hundreds of thousands who made pilgrimage to San Giovanni Rotondo to see and talk with him.
It is true that we will go nowhere in the spiritual life, which is, indeed, our cherished friendship with the Crucified but Living Jesus—unless we confess our utter helplessness and surrender cheerfully to Christ. This is what our Master wants. He understands what is best for us in time and eternity.
When we yield to His abundant grace and obey the Ten Commandments and the Precepts of the Church, we proceed along the sure route that will end in perfect union with the Most Blessed Trinity forever. If we push aside the valuable assistance we possess in daily prayer, self-denial, the Teaching of the Church’s Magisterium, the Sacraments—primarily Confession and the Most Holy Eucharist—and reliance on the supernatural aid found in Our Blessed Lady, Saint Joseph and the Saints like Padre Pio, we do ourselves a terrible disservice that has long-lasting implications related to our happiness here on earth and our final destiny.
The blatant transgressions that wreck havoc on our souls, like pride, anger, impatience, sexual excess, overindulgence, sloth, ingratitude, lack of fortitude and accommodation with our era’s prevailing mentality that rejects the sanctity of human life, must be conquered once-and-for-all if we are to bask in the spiritual freedom that Padre Pio represents.
We cannot claim that we are not responsible to alter our troubled age. We must act—and soon. With Padre Pio as exemplar, we throw open ourselves to God and grow in sanctity, thereby doing our share to pattern our society after the image of Christ Jesus.
Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, pray for us!
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Saint Pio of Pietrelcina; Sanctity
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