Padre Pio’s feast day last Friday stirred in me the desire to appreciate this great fellow Capuchin saint. His Spirit-given wisdom offers to us a wide range of possibilities to let our spirit be united with Our Lord. Hence, the lessons learnt from what he wrote and said are myriad.
Padre Pio teach me what true love and humility is all about. He said: Always humble yourself lovingly before God and man, because God speaks to those who are truly humble of heart, and enriches them with His gifts. Love and humility put the person to meditate. He reflected: Whoever does not meditate, is like someone who never looks in the mirror before going out, doesn’t bother to see if he’s tidy, and may go out dirty without knowing it. The person who meditates and turns his mind to God, who is the mirror of his soul, seeks to know his faults, tries to correct them, moderates his impulses, and puts his conscience in order. One grows in meditation gradually. He said: Have patience and persevere in the holy exercise of meditation; be content to begin with small steps till you have legs to run, better still wings to fly. Be content to be obedient, which is never a small thing for a soul which has chosen God for its portion. And be resigned to be, for the present, a little bee in the hive which will soon become a large bee capable of making honey.
The trials we go through in life are a source of trust not of fear. God knows what He is doing in our lives. He wants to make us strong through the trials He permits in our lives. Thus, Padre Pio said: You complain because the same trials are constantly returning. But look here, what have you to fear? Are you afraid of the divine craftsman who wants to perfect His masterpiece in this way? Would you like to come from the hands of such a magnificent Artist as a mere sketch and no more? On a similar tone Padre also said: 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 reminds us of the pricelessness of time. Blessed are we if we use it wisely. He said: 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!
Serving God is a joyful thing to do. That is why Padre Pio used to say: Joy, with peace, is the sister of charity. Serve the Lord with laughter. We are to fill our free time with pray. This is what Padre Pio suggested to us: In all the free time you have, once you have finished your duties of state, you should kneel down and pray the Rosary. Pray the Rosary before the Blessed Sacrament or before a crucifix.
For the Capuchin of the Galgano, prayer is the best weapon you and I can ever have. He noted: Prayer is the best weapon we have; it is the key to God’s heart. You must speak to Jesus not only with your lips, but with your heart. In fact on certain occasions you should only speak to Him with your heart.
The end result of all this is comfort during the trial itself and exaltation afterwards. Padre Pio said: The longer the trial to which God subjects you, the greater the goodness in comforting you during the time of the trial and in the exaltation after the combat. Furthermore, Padre Pio gives us a lot of courage in our spiritual warfare we as Christians and human beings are engaged in. He tells us that the fact the devil shouts and roars around us does not mean that he has infiltrated our will. Padre Pio says: Have courage and do not fear the assaults of the Devil. Remember this forever; it is a healthy sign if the devil shouts and roars around your conscience, since this shows that he is not inside your will.
In a loving way Padre Pio uncovers for us Satan’s deceit. He starts with calmness and moves on to storm, indifference and apathy. Padre Pio said: Temptations, discouragement and unrest are the wares offered by the enemy. Remember this: if the devil makes noise it is a sign that he is still outside and not yet within. That which must terrify us is his peace and concord with the human soul. That which comes from Satan begins with calmness and ends in storm, indifference and apathy.
Padre Pio’s teaching is very practical. Let us appreciate this beautiful piece of advice He has on gossip. He said: When you gossip about a person it means that you have removed the person from your heart. But be aware, when you remove a man from your heart, Jesus also goes away from your heart with that man.
Finally, the Stigmatized Capuchin also warns us about the spirit of agitation. When we detect such a spirit it means that it comes from the devil. He said: The spirit of God is a spirit of peace, and also in the case of grave sin, it makes us feel tranquil sorrow, humble, confident, and this is due precisely to His mercy. The spirit of the demon, on the contrary, excites, exasperates, and makes us in our sorrow feel something like anger against ourselves, whereas our first charity must be to ourselves, and so if certain thoughts agitate you, this agitation never comes from God, who gives tranquility, being the Spirit of Peace. Such agitation comes from the devil.
Let us become familiar with God’s wisdom given to us through Padre Pio! Our soul together with those of our loved one will greatly benefit from it!