The article I wrote a couple of months ago entitled, “The Incredible Incorruptibles” has become my most read post. I’m thrilled by this, as the topic of incorruptibility is fascinating to me as well! One of my favorite saints is Padre Pio. He had many amazing, supernatural gifts from God. Among these gifts were: the stigmata (wounds of Christ), the ability to read hearts in the confessional (He could tell you precisely which sins you left out), and bilocation (It is documented that he was reported as being in two places at one time on more than one occasion). All this may sound unbelievable. Many of Padre Pio’s fellow friars and authorities in the Church did not believe him either. He was greatly persecuted for this. In the years since his death in 1968; however, much information has been compiled that attest to the authenticity of his gifts from God. For all of those who were skeptics of his supernatural gifts, the exhumation of his body just a few years ago, revealed yet another gift from God. His body was found to be almost entirely incorrupt – without decay.
What has endeared me to Padre Pio, however, is not his abilities or gifts. He had a deep love for our Lord at a very early age. He also had a great love and respect for Christ present in the Eucharist. I learned that his masses would often last as long as three hours, because he would become so enraptured by this beautiful mystery – Christ present in the Blessed Sacrament. In the movie about his life, “Padre Pio, Miracle Man,” the filmmakers capture a scene where “Pio” is saying mass. He glances up during the consecration, and sees two priests checking their watches. He shouts something to the effect of, “How dare you check the time when in the presence of our Lord!” AMEN!
I know of a priest who takes quite awhile to purify the vessels after communion. It is so beautiful to see him caring for every drop of blood and every part of Jesus’ body that has remained in the ciborium and chalice. It is as though someone has just handed this priest the body of Christ off of the cross, and he is tenderly caring for each and every wound. What an awesome testament to his belief in the Real Presence!
I became interested in learning more about Padre Pio when I saw a statue of him in the candle room at a local church. I didn’t recognize his image, so I was compelled to find out more. Over the years, as I continued to visit that candle room, I would talk to Pio (not to the statue!) He became one of my dearest friends.
There is an incredible promise that Padre Pio made to his “spiritual children” – those who would come to him for help and prayers. He said that,”When I die, I will ask the Lord to let me remain on the threshold of Paradise, and I will not enter it until the last of my spiritual children have entered.” Wow! What a sacrifice! After learning this, I entrusted a few people who are dear to my heart to Padre Pio’s intercession, asking that he pray for them until they would return to the Faith. What a gift to have a saint-friend like this praying for you, your friends and family.
If you would like to learn more, I highly recommend the movie, “Padre Pio, Miracle Man,” at noshamefilms.com. It is an Italian film with English subtitles. (Sorry!) EWTN also has a great little biography about him on their website: http://www.ewtn.com/padrepio/man/biography.htm. I’ve read two books about him: Padre Pio, Man of Hope by Renzo Allegri and Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry, True Stories of Padre Pio by Diane Allen. They are both very good. Once you’ve learned about Padre Pio, you’ll surely want to have him as your friend, too!