Inspiration and Mystery: A True Story
When I had finished reading those few lines, he still remained in silence.
“I marveled: that letter did not contain anything extraordinary. It was one of the very numerous letters that Padre Pio received daily from those who asked for prayers.
“At a certain moment, Padre Pio, raising his head to look at me with his profound eyes, said to me: ‘Little Angelo, to ‘this one’ one cannot say no’. He rested anew his head on his breast and started again to pray.
“I got in the car to return to Rome. During the trip I continued to reflect on that phrase. I knew Padre Pio for years. I was used to seeing the most incredible things around him. I knew that his every word always had a profound significance. I continued to ask myself: ‘But why did he say: ‘To this one, one cannot say no’?’ Who was that Polish Bishop? I worked in the Secretariat of State but I had never heard him mentioned.
“Why did Padre Pio have such esteem for him even to the point of pronouncing that phrase that demonstrated that Bishop Wojtyła was a very important person for him? Having arrived in Rome, I asked my colleagues if they knew Bishop Wojtyła, but no one had ever heard his name.”
After eleven day, precisely on November 28, Bishop Wojtyła wrote a new letter to Padre Pio. “Venerabills Pater, muller habitans Cracovie in Polonia, mater quattuor puellarum, die 21 XI, ante operationem chirurgicam repente sanitatem recuperavit. Deo gratias. Tique pater venerabills, item maximas gratias ago nomine ipsius eiusque mariti et cunctae familiae. In Christo, +Carolus Wojtyła vicarius capitularis cracoviensis.”
Here is the translation. “Venerable Father, the woman living in Kraków, Poland, the mother of four girls, on November 21 before the surgery was healed unexpectedly. Let us thank God. And also to you Venerable Father I offer you the greatest thanks in the name of the same woman, her husband and here entire family. In Christ, +Karol Wojtyła, Capitular Bishop of Kraków.”
“Save these letters”
This second letter from Bishop Wojtyła was full of joy. He announced the incredible fact in summary form, but furnishing the precise elements so that it was understand that an extraordinary prodigy was involved. The healing of his friend happened unexpectedly, while the sick woman found herself in the hospital and was to undergo surgery. Therefore, the question was of a healing that happened under the eyes of the doctors, hence under the control of science. A true and proper miracle, which Bishop Wojtyła attributed, without a shadow of doubt, to the intervention of God obtained thanks to the prayers of Padre Pio.
This letter was also immediately given to Angelo Battisti with the assignment to carry it quickly to San Giovanni Rotondo.
“I left immediately because, also that time in the Vatican, they made me hurry,” Battisti later recounted. Having arrived at San Giovanni Rotondo, I entered the cell of Padre Pio. I showed the letter to him and as always he said: ‘Open and read it.’
“This time I read with much curiosity, because I wanted to know what was still of such importance, and hearing that the news was truly extraordinary and incredible, I looked towards Father to congratulate him. But Padre Pio was immersed in prayer.
It seemed as if he did not hear my voice as I read the letter. I waited in silence for him to say something to me or to order me to return to Rome. After some minutes, Father said: ‘Little Angelo, save these letters, because one day they will become important’.
“I returned to Rome, taking with me those letters as Padre Pio ordered me.
“Sixteen years passed by and I had almost forgotten that I had them. But the evening of Monday, October 16, 1978, when I heard Cardinal Felici, from the central balcony of Saint Peter’s Basilica, announce to the world the name of the new Pope who was elected to the place of Pope John Paul I, I was struck. The name was that of Karol Wojtyła. That Polish Bishop who had given to me the letter to carry to Padre Pio to ask for the healing of the woman from Krakow. I thought immediately of that phrase of Padre Pio. ‘To this one, one cannot say no’, and tears came to my eyes.”
[Karol Wojtyła (1920-2005), better known to the world as Pope John Paul II, beatified Padre Pio of Pietrelcina on May 2, 1999 and canonized him on June 16, 2002. The liturgical Memorial of Padre Pio is September 23.]
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Saint Pio of Pietrelcina; Padre Pio: The Servant of God Pope John Paul II
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