Today is the feast of Saint Pius of Pietrelcina, affectionately known by all his devotees as Padre Pio.
I have always loved Padre Pio, and was especially taken with him after reading C. Bernard Ruffin’s biography that allowed Padre Pio’s earthy naturalness to shine through the wildly celestial supernatural that so marked his life, and especially marked his body. Fr. Pio could be rough and tender, had a buoyant joy and sense of humor, and experienced intense stretches of inner darkness. On that latter point, Pio was insistent that the extraordinary mystical graces he received were tightly bound to the Cross; that the light of faith was for him a “dark ray”. He was a “a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity” whose ministry of reconciliation was contingent on his willingness to receive into his soul and body the dying of Jesus. He was extremely averse to receiving attention for the divine and diabolical “fireworks” that went on around him almost continually, and would insistently remind those who came to him seeking “signs and wonders” that the sweet spiritual food Jesus wishes to grant us is also “hard bread”:
In order to attract us, the Lord grants us many graces that we believe can easily obtain Heaven for us. We do not know, however, that in order to grow, we need hard bread: the cross, humiliation, trials and denials.
Okay, so there’s just too much to say about the sainted Padre, so I will share with you one of my favorite quotes of his:
Oh, how precious time is! Blessed are those who know how to make good use of it. Oh, if only all could understand how precious time is, undoubtedly everyone would do his best to spend it in a praiseworthy manner!
How true! A priest-professor I had for Spiritual Theology, whom I have quoted here before, put it to me this way once:
In eternity we will see, either with joy or sorrow, that, because of the Incarnation of God, all time is potentially pregnant with God. All that’s required is our daily, hourly, minutely fiat to conceive and give birth to Christ in this world. There in Paradise we will see that nothing in this life was without meaning and purpose when it was impregnated with divinity, filled with God through our free and repeated ‘yes.’
But without that ‘yes,’ in the face of our ‘no,’ all is lost. And that must truly be hell — eternal loss.
So daily, hourly, minutely turn your heart to God and simply say in prayer with Mary, the God-bearer, Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum, ”Let it be to me according to your word.”
But watch out, we know what happens then…
Verbum caro factum est et habitavit in nobis. (John 1:14)