Skip to comments.‘Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry’
Posted on 09/14/2009 1:50:17 PM PDT by NYer
During World War II, many Allied pilots failed to complete their missions over the Italian town of San Giovanni Rotondo. It seemed a Franciscan friar flying through the sky was staying their hands, preventing them from dropping their bombs. One aviator after the other testified to this otherworldly phenomenon, corroborating one anothers incredible tale of supernatural intervention in the midst of battle.
The friar, of course, was Padre Pio of Pietrelcina now St. Pio, whose feast the Church celebrates on Sept. 23. And the story, of course, is private revelation; Catholics are free to believe or disbelieve its veracity according to their own prudential judgment.
Either way, its widespread acceptance throughout the Church is itself testimony to the great love and respect many have for St. Pio.
Along with bilocation (being able to be in two places at once, including the sky), the humble friars extraordinary spiritual gifts, it is said, included the ability to read souls. In the confessional, where he often spent upwards of 15 hours a day, he often told people their sins accurately before they had a chance to tell them for themselves.
And, most famously of all, for 50 years he bore the stigmata the nail wounds of Christ on his hands.
Although he spent nearly his entire 60 years of religious life at San Giovanni Rotondo, he became a household name around the world during his own lifetime. Before he died in 1968, and before John Paul II canonized him St. Pio of Pietrelcina in 2002, pilgrims came in droves to San Giovanni Rotondo.
People felt they could really experience Christ through him, says Frank Rega, author of Padre Pio and America (Tan, 2009).
St. Pios example and spiritual guidance are beams of light for individuals and families striving to live out the Catholic faith in a sin-darkened world. Of the Mass, he said: It is easier for the earth to exist without the sun than without the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass! To many who came to him with every manner of trouble, he said simply: Pray, hope and dont worry.
Look at all the people from all over the world he gathered around him! Why? said Pope Paul VI in 1971. Because he said Mass humbly, heard confessions from dawn to dusk and was it is not easy to say it one who bore the wounds of Our Lord. He was a man of prayer and suffering.
Despite his suffering, he was unfailingly compassionate and jovial. Rega (who is online at San PadrePio.com) points out that Padre Pio was kind and loving toward children and always gave them special blessings. Many couples not able to have children asked for his prayers, he adds. He would tell them, You will have a son in a year or May you have eight children. He believed in large families.
Eternal Word Television Network host and author Father Andrew Apostoli of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal identifies one reason Padre Pio is a great saint and so important for families today: because his life reflects the character-forming influence of his own close-knit family.
We can see in his life how the nurturing of faith plus the human qualities, the love and concern for one another, became very evident, says Father Apostoli. For instance, his mother taught each of her children to have a special devotion to their baptismal patron saint. Pios was St. Francis.
Father Apostoli also finds in Padre Pio a certain charm to which many can be drawn, from grandparents to young children. The saint gave and continues to give spiritual and even physical assistance to families, including many healings, he adds.
He had that concern, knowing the family is the first school and the first church, says Father Apostoli, because thats where the children learn to pray, learn about God, and learn the things they need for the rest of their life, by words and example.
The saints intercession and help can come at any time. Sometimes it comes at unlikely times and in unforeseeable ways.
Padre Pio is the reason we are in the Catholic Church, says Californian Diane Allen. She converted to the Catholic faith in 1995; her husband, Ron, followed two years later. Raised as Protestants, then members of what she calls a self-realization fellowship, Diane had heard a brief mention of Padre Pio. Until then, shed had no contact with Catholics, but she couldnt get that story out of her mind. I thought about it hundreds and hundreds of times over the next 20 years, she says.
Upon waking one morning, she decided to find out who Padre Pio was. Once she read his biography, she quit her fellowship and began walking the road to becoming a Catholic. First, though, she spent two years studying about the Church, listening to tapes 40 hours per week. Discouraged by a significant roadblock hindering her progress, she found none other than Padre Pio dispelling her doubts and leading her on into Holy Mother Church.
Today, along with Ron a deacon who heads the religious-education program at their parish, Our Lady of Grace in El Cajon, Calif. she leads the booming Padre Pio Prayer Group at Our Lady of the Rosary Church in San Diego.
Padre Pio gave five steps for spiritual growth, Diane says. One is daily Communion; another is daily Rosary. She and Ron are faithful to these, joining others for daily Mass followed by the Rosary.
This is what makes us tick, she says. Were a Padre Pio family. Indeed, her daughter converted to the Catholic faith after college. So did her son-in-law and her mother, at age 84.
Today, Diane writes extensively on Padre Pio and edits the monthly online newsletter Pray, Hope and Dont Worry (online at SaintPio.org), which has received well over one million hits.
Let God Be God
In everything, St. Pio constantly counseled people, by word and example, to pray, hope and dont worry. Could there be a more fitting message for our time of stress and uncertainty or a more effective means to spiritual growth? Father Apostoli thinks not.
Once you make known your needs, fears, hopes, concerns, doubts and struggles to God in prayer, and have asked for his help, explains the Franciscan priest, you have to now trust the Lord to listen because of his great compassion.
Padre Pio asked his spiritual charges to show the sincerity of their trust by working hard at not worrying. As Father Apostoli explains, Its a big order. We tend to push the panic button, to look at the things that can go wrong. We worry like mad.
And worry may signal that were trying to take control of matters that belong to God. If I really believe God does love me and will truly take care of me, I should not worry, concludes Father Apostoli.
As St. Pio himself put it: The Lord is a father, the most tender and best of fathers. He cannot fail to be moved when his children appeal to him.
Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have You present so that I do not forget You. You know how easily I abandon You. Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak and I need Your strength, that I may not fall so often. Stay with me, Lord, for You are my life and without You I am without fervor. Stay with me, Lord, for You are my light and without You I am in darkness. Stay with me, Lord, to show me Your will. Stay with me, Lord, so that I hear Your voice and follow You. Stay with me, Lord, for I desire to love You very much and always be in Your company. Stay with me, Lord, if You wish me to be faithful to You. Stay with me, Lord, as poor as my soul is I want it to be a place of consolation for You, a nest of Love. Stay with me, Jesus, for it is getting late and the day is coming to a close and life passes, death, judgment and eternity approaches. It is necessary to renew my strength, so that I will not stop along the way and for that, I need You. It is getting late and death approaches, I fear the darkness, the temptations, the dryness, the cross, the sorrows. O how I need You, my Jesus, in this night of exile! Stay with me tonight, Jesus, in life with all its dangers, I need You. Let me recognize You as Your disciples did at the breaking of the bread, so that the Eucharistic Communion be the Light which disperses the darkness, the force which sustains me, the unique joy of my heart. Stay with me, Lord, because at the hour of my death, I want to remain united to You, if not by Communion, at least by grace and love. Stay with me, Lord, for it is You alone I look for, Your Love, Your Grace, Your Will, Your Heart, Your Spirit, because I love You and ask no other reward but to love You more and more. With a firm love, I will love You with all my heart while on earth and continue to love You perfectly during all eternity. Amen.
Thanks for this post — It is a keeper.
I’ve read a lot about Padre Pio but one thing that always bothers me is the stigmata (with other saints as well). Padre Pio and many other saints had the stigmata in their hands. But the Shroud of Turin- which I think has a good chance of being Christ’s burial cloth- shows wounds in the wrists. The only way the stigmata would make any sense is if the nails were hammered in diagonally- entering the palms, exiting the wrists.
Thanks for posting. What a beautiful prayer. St. Padre Pio is one of my favorites and such an example for our priests today. Bookmarking and sharing.
I once noticed a small picture of Padre Pio on a woman’s desk in a Miami-Dade government office and asked about it. The woman explained that as a girl in Italy, she suffered from a crippling and potentially mortal medical condition that doctors could not treat. Her parents brought her to Padre Pio and she was soon cured, to the astonishment of the doctors — until Padre Pio was mentioned. Years later, the now late middle aged woman had the sense that Padre Pio still watched over her and her family.
What a good article!
The extreme humility of Padre Pio draws more people to Christ than the Bible thumper once saved always saved heretic
One reviewer wrote:
This is a very factual, down-to-earth, well-researched and enjoyable biography of our new Saint, Padre Pio. The author goes to great lengths to examine and sort out all the claims made about Padre Pio in a fair-minded, nonjudgmental manner. And the most wonderful thing about Padre Pio turns out to be not just the miracles and the wonders that he performed, but his great love and devotion for Christ. Not to mention his great (and underrated) sense of humor! A terrific book which I've already read twice!
The author, C. Bernard Ruffin, is Lutheran.
As for the stigmata, the saint never sought the visible wounds and even asked our Lord to take them away, or make them invisible. As for why these wounds are centered in the palms and not the wrist is not something that can be explained. How God chooses to whom, why and how these marks are given is inexplicable.
Thanks for the info! I have a couple books about him, but have not read this one.
Nyer - You have posted some wonderful things throughout the years, and this certainly is one of them. My hearfelt thanks for a wonderful read!
I appreciate the book recommendation. Oddly enough, I don’t have any books about Padre Pio! I used to have a film (VHS), but I loaned it out and didn’t get it back before we moved from Tulsa.
Thanks for a great read
Padre Pio is the greatest...