The spir­i­tual in­sight of Padre Pio

In his apos­tolic ex­hor­ta­tion re­gard­ing ho­li­ness in to­day’s world, Gaudete Et Ex­sul­tate, Pope Fran­cis di­rectly quotes from his pre­de­ces­sor’s homily for the Solemn in­au­gu­ra­tion of the Petrine Min­istry, of 24 April 2005, which says: “All the saints of God ar

Malta Independent - - Opinion - FR MARIO AT­TARD

When look­ing at what God’s grace ac­tu­ally did in Padre Pio’s life I can eas­ily and hap­pily sub­scribe to what Pope Emer­i­tus Bene­dict XVI said.

On Septem­ber 23 the Church an­nu­ally cel­e­brates the feast of St Pio of Pi­etrel­cina. The lat­ter has a lot of teach­ings that can be of im­mense ben­e­fit both spir­i­tu­ally as well as hu­manly. This must be so, be­cause Padre Pio’s wise and in­sight­ful words are not the re­sult of some self-cen­tred spir­i­tu­al­ity which was com­pletely in­dif­fer­ent to other peo­ple’s hard­ships. On the con­trary, Padre Pio’s union with Christ Cru­ci­fied brought him closer to the peo­ple’s suf­fer­ing of his time. Adding to this, Padre Pio lived up to the high price of be­ing a faith­ful brother to his Ca­puchin con­fr­eres, as well as be­ing a faith­ful son to Mother Church. Due to his faith­ful ad­her­ence to both re­al­i­ties, he had to en­dure the cru­elest of per­se­cu­tions. How­ever, God’s lov­ing truth al­ways pre­vailed up to the point that the same Church who treated him so harshly was the same Church who, later, had a “change of heart” and ended up be­at­i­fy­ing and can­on­iz­ing him as a saint.

For Padre Pio, prayer was the uni­fy­ing fac­tor not sim­ply for the Church but also for so­ci­ety at large. Wisely, he said: To­day’s so­ci­ety does not pray. That is why it is fall­ing apart. Only prayer can re­ally help us, as a so­ci­ety, to seek what is true and just in total sol­i­dar­ity es­pe­cially to the vul­ner­a­ble and the poor­est of the poor. Only di­rect com­mu­ni­ca­tion with God can truly mo­ti­vate us to leave our com­fort ego­is­tic zones and start treat­ing each other with re­spect, love and com­pas­sion, as broth­ers and sis­ters would rightly do, be­cause we are all sons and daugh­ters of the same Fa­ther in Heaven.

In the hus­tle and bus­tle we are liv­ing in to­day, we hardly have time to talk to each other calmly since we are so busy work­ing. When we hap­pen to meet for a rest, we can­not re­sist that sweet and sour temp­ta­tion of giv­ing that pro­tracted glance at the mo­bile phone to catch up with the flow of What­sApp mes­sages we re­ceive. In view of such a hurt­ing sit­u­a­tion, the stig­ma­tised Ca­puchin wisely coun­sels us: Do not be so given to the ac­tiv­ity of Martha as to forget the si­lence of Mary. May the Vir­gin who so well rec­on­ciled the one with the other be your sweet model and in­spi­ra­tion.

As one can eas­ily de­tect from the lat­ter men­tioned piece of wis­dom, Padre Pio al­ways re­garded Mary as his model and in­spi­ra­tion. For him, Mary was the one who fol­lowed whole­heart­edly her Son Je­sus. She obeyed His Word up till the last mo­ment. And, from heaven, she keeps watch­ing over us, her chil­dren, who are strug­gling here on earth un­til we reach the heav­enly Jerusalem where Mary, to­gether with the an­gels and saints, re­side to wel­come us. Thus, to you and me who are go­ing through rough wa­ters in this val­ley of tears, Padre Pio en­cour­ages us with these words: You must remember that you have in Heaven, not only a Fa­ther but also a Mother… Let us then have re­course to Mary. She is all sweet­ness, mercy, good­ness and love for us be­cause she is our Mother.

Mary’s ma­ter­nal lov­ing care for you and me is not merely spir­i­tual but also psy­cho­log­i­cal. As a ded­i­cated mother would do, Mary is piv­otal in our psy­cho­log­i­cal and hu­man af­fec­tiv­ity. A case in point is the up­com­ing re­flec­tion about how to har­mo­nize one’s ac­tiv­ity with the need for si­lence and re­flec­tion. In or­der to strike that much-needed bal­ance Padre Pio re­sorts to Mary as the sedes sapi­en­tiae or the Seat of Wis­dom for her ma­ter­nal guid­ance and ac­com­pa­ni­ment in this del­i­cate yet an es­sen­tial as­pect of our lives. Do not be so given to the ac­tiv­ity of Martha as to forget the si­lence of Mary. May the Vir­gin who so well rec­on­ciled the one with the other be your sweet model and in­spi­ra­tion.

In these sim­ple but hugely pro­found pieces of heav­enly wis­dom one can­not re­frain from notic­ing the em­pha­sis Padre Pio gives to the eter­nal sweet­ness and gen­tle­ness which fills up the heav­enly re­al­i­ties. From his per­sonal suf­fer­ings as well as from the harsh strug­gles peo­ple around him un­der­went, the stig­ma­tised Ca­puchin knew per­fectly well the bit­ter­ness and sour­ness such con­flicts leave on those who live through them. His di­rect and au­then­tic ex­pe­ri­ences with Je­sus taught Padre Pio that it is solely when one meets face to face with Je­sus’ in­fi­nite sweet­ness that he and she can have the courage to keep fight­ing till the end to win the de­ci­sive bat­tle. He ex­horts you and me, ex­hausted as we are from our life’s trials: We must al­ways have courage, and if some spir­i­tual lan­guor comes upon us, let us run to the feet of Je­sus in the Blessed Sacra­ment, and let us place our­selves in the midst of the heav­enly per­fumes, and we will un­doubt­edly re­gain our strength.

When con­fronted with in­dif­fer­ence and ap­a­thy let us have re­course to the name of Je­sus! His is the name above all names! His is the name which evicts evil from us and our midst and makes pres­ence in and around us, that heav­enly peace, joy, per­fume, hope, trust, for­give­ness, in a word, that un­con­di­tional love we all long for to have! Padre Pio ad­vises you and me: Do not fear. Je­sus is more pow­er­ful than all hell. At the in­vo­ca­tion of his name ev­ery knee in heaven, on earth and in hell must bend be­fore Je­sus; this is a con­so­la­tion for the good and ter­ror for evil.

With Padre Pio and St Faustina we joy­fully shout to you, O Lord: JE­SUS I TRUST IN YOU!

Fr Mario At­tard OFM Cap

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malta

© PressReader. All rights reserved.