Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Padre Pio Saint, Prophet, Stigmatist

"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."
Padre Pio

Padre Pio (Francesco Forgione) at 14
From his earliest years Francesco Forgione was a man of prayer. Considered a quiet boy by the other youngsters he would seldom play with them "because they blaspheme." 

This aversion to sin would cause him to run away to pray in the church of St. Pius V. 

At other times he would sit under a tree on his father's property and "think about God." 

By age five Francesco had already determined to become a Franciscan Capuchin, in part because of the habit and the beard, which he liked greatly, but also moved by the grace of God to seek perfection.

His climb of the ladder of holiness, however, involved more than pious aspirations and flight from the bad example of the world. 

Padre Pio as altar boy 1954
Even very young it encompassed to a remarkable degree the battle against the flesh and against the devil. For example, the child Francis was no stranger to mortification. Although the family had meager rations as it was, Francesco nonetheless occasionally deprived himself of food. And, at age nine his mother discovered him sleeping on the floor with a rock for his pillow, a practice which apparently had been going on for some time. Such austerity would become a hallmark of his entire life.

He also experienced the assaults of the devil, who appeared in horrible forms in his dreams. Later in life these attacks would take a more direct form, even physical assaults.

January 1903 saw Francesco Forgione, age 15, enter religious life or the state of perfection in the Franciscan Order. While religious are not by the fact of their state necessarily perfect, the life of the three evangelical counsels (poverty, chastity and obedience) is ordered to making them so. 

Our Lord, counseling those who wished to be perfect, offered them a means of complete surrender to God, the giving up of the right to marry (Mt 19:12), to own material goods (Mt 19:21a),  and to do what one chooses (Mt 19:21b).

It was at this time, the entrance to the novitiate, that Francesco received the name of Fra. Pio (Brother Pius); Fra. to indicate that he was a religious Fratello (Italian) or Frater (Latin) and Pio to indicate by his change of name that a new life was beginning. Only later, with priestly ordination in 1910, would he assume the name by which he will probably be forever known, Padre Pio.

In 1910, Brother Pio was ordained a priest by Archbishop Paolo Schinosi at the Cathedral of Benevento. Four days later, he offered his first Mass at the parish church of Our Lady of the Angels.

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Eucharist was of upmost importance to a priest.  Father Pio was no in touch with the Sacrifice of Calvary that is celebrated in the Mass, his Masses would many times last over 3 hours.

"To this Holy Sacrifice, offered visibly by way of signs - bread and wine - but presenting the invisible and eternal sacrifice of Christ (Heb. 10:14, Rev. 5:6), Padre Pio dedicated His most intense acts of piety, and obtained from the Father perfect conformity to the crucified Lord.

Padre Pio dedicating long hours in the Confessional
So, close was this conformity that he lived it out even outside of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, through the immolation of the service of the confessional, dedicating long hours to the reconciliation of sinners, through a ministry of intense sufferings offered on behalf of others, through enduring the assaults of the devil that his spiritual children might not, and through the mystical conformity of the stigmata, the wounds of Christ's crucifixion, as the first priest in the history of the Church to do so.

In all these ways Padre Pio
was both priest and Victim
like our  High Priest Jesus Christ."

The Stigmata - Padre Pio

The Stigmata

On the 20th September, 1918, Padre Pio collapsed in the chapel and was found to be bleeding profusely from five deep wounds in his hands, feet and side. When he regained consciousness he begged his fellow monks to keep the event secret, but word soon spread and people flocked to the monastery from all over the country to see the stigmata for themselves, and to confess their sins to this ‘living saint’.

During the next few years Padre Pio was forced to endure a series of medical investigations and attempted cures, none of which changed the character of the wounds. He never talked about himself or complained, but when someone foolishly asked him if his wounds hurt, he replied:

‘Do you think that the Lord gave them
to me for a decoration?’

This phenomenon continued for fifty years, until the end of his life. The blood flowing from the stigmata smelled of perfume or flowers, a phenomenon mentioned in stories of the lives of several saints and often referred to as the odour of sanctity.

Padre Pio's Sufferings 
During Mass
An interview by 

Fr. Tarcisio with 

Padre Pio:

Fr. Tarcisio: At what hour of the day do you suffer most?

Padre Pio: During the offering of the Mass.

Fr. Tarcisio: At what moment of the Divine Sacrifice (of the Mass) do you suffer Most?

Padre Pio: Always and increasingly.

Fr. Tarcisio: During the offering of the Mass, at what moment do you suffer most?

Padre Pio: From the Consecration to Communion.

Fr. Tarcisio: At what part of the Mass are you scourged?

Padre Pio: From the beginning to the end, but more intensely after the Consecrations.

Fr. Tarcisio: During the Mass, are the pricks of thorns from the crown and the scourging real?

Padre Pio: What do you mean? The results are the same.

Fr. Tarcisio: What should we do during Mass?

Padre Pio: Repent and love.

Fr. Tarcisio: How should we hear Mass?

Padre Pio: In the same way that the Most Holy Virgin and the Holy women assisted.  In the same way that St. John assisted at the Eucharistic Sacrifice and the bloody one of the Cross.  We priests are the sacrificers of Jesus, the Lamb of God during the Mass, while all of paradise reverently descends on the altar.

Padre Pio celebrating Mass
Fr. Tarcisio: What benefits do we receive on hearing it?

Padre Pio: It is not possible to number them.  You will see them in Paradise.

So, in the actual life experience of Padre Pio, we see that the Holy Mass is truly the Sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary for the conversion of sinners and salvation of souls.

Excerpts from “Padre Pio’s Mass” written by Fr. Tarcisio of Cervinara

Many thanks to Traditional Catholic Priest for the above information

Padre Pio with child
Padre Pio  and 

St. Padre Pio demonstrated the depth of his love and loyalty to the Church when he publicly praised and defended Pope Paul VI for his encyclical Humanae Vitae, “Of Human Life.” 1  

Upon its release in the summer of 1968, a torrent of vilification and disobedience was unleashed upon the Pontiff from within the Church, as well as mockery and scorn from without.  Such open rebellion against Peter’s successor was unprecedented, and yet he had done nothing more than his solemn duty to uphold the infallible, magisterial teaching of Catholicism against unnatural methods of birth control.

Pope Paul VI
Only two weeks before his own death in September of that year, St. Padre Pio wrote an inspired and moving letter to the Holy Father which was printed in the Vatican’s official newspaper L’Osservatore Romano. 2   It is an epistle of great significance, and will likely be part of the evidence put forth in his favor should St. Pio be declared a Doctor of the Church.  He is effusive in his praise of the Pope’s encyclical, referring to its “lofty teachings,” “eternal truths,” “clear and decisive words,” and its “inspired directives.”
In his letter, St. Pio recognizes that the source of the pope’s greatest suffering is the disobedience of so many within the Church to his magisterial teachings.

"I know that Your heart suffers much these days on account of the happenings in the Church: for peace in the world, for the great needs of its peoples; but above all, for the lack of obedience of some, even Catholics, to the lofty teachings which You, assisted by the Holy Spirit and in the name of God, have given us."4

He understands that the Holy Father is carrying his personal cross in Christ’s footsteps, following the narrow way of the truth.  St. Pio offers his own sufferings and prayers so that the Pope can persevere in his mission. 

"I offer Your Holiness my daily prayers and sufferings, the insignificant but sincere offering of the least of your sons, asking the Lord to comfort you with His grace to continue along the direct yet often burdensome way—in defense of those eternal truths which can never change with the times."

Padre Pio  was canonized by Saint John Paul II on June 16, 2002

Padre Pio -- body found incorrupt