Saint Padre Pio - devoted to the Eucharist and Mary
Padre Pio and the Eucharist
Pio was truly a servant of God. He had a lifelong love affair with
Our Lord Jesus in the Eucharist. To him, the Eucharist was the center
of all spiritual benefits. It was the life breath of the soul. We
believe the Lord gave him an insight as to the power and the magnitude
of the Eucharist, from a very early age. As a young man, before
he entered the priesthood, he spent hours in the church, adoring
Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. After his ordination, he took a
long time for the Consecration of the Mass, to the point where parishioners
complained about all the time he spent, in ecstasy, before the bread
and wine as they became the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus. He
had to control himself, to break out of his ecstasy, and force himself
back to the Mass, at the orders of his superiors.
He began his preparations for Mass hours before the Mass began.
He would constantly ask his fellow Friars what time it was. He always
thought it was time to begin Mass, even though it might have been
two hours early. When it came to celebrating the Eucharist, he was
like a young race-horse, chomping at the bit, waiting impatiently
to get out of the starting gate.
We read an eyewitness account in the Voice of Padre Pio, about Padre
Pio and the celebration of the Mass.
"But as he started vesting for Mass, his body began to bend
forward. As he slowly approached the altar, his body stooped over
more and more as if he was being crushed under a heavy cross beam
on his shoulders; his gait dragged, his face took on the sorrow
of his Lord and Savior. As the mystery of the Sacrifice of the Mass
unfolded, Padre Pio reached the pinnacle of suffering at the moment
of Elevation of the Host in Consecration.
To quote a witness, `In his eyes I read the expression of a mother
who assists at the agony of her son on the scaffold, who sees him
expire and who, choked with suffering, silently receives the bloodless
body in her arms, able only to give slight caresses.'
He cried during the Mass. It was not weeping so much as it was deep,
involuntary sobbing. He cried from the depths of his soul. When
he beat his breast during the Confiteor, it was as if he was accusing
himself of all the sins committed by man."
Giant tears cascaded from his closed eyes onto his beard. He took
everything that was happening during that time so seriously. "Padre
Pio's Mass put him into the drama of Calvary. For him it was reliving
daily the pain which had wounded him in soul and body that morning
of 20 September 1918. The Mass was his daily restigmatization."
Padre Pio and Mary
We can track Padre Pio's love and relationship with Mary, the Mother
of God, back to age 5. It continued all his life. He mentioned at
various times in his life that he received apparitions from Mary
on a regular basis. He derived a great deal of his strength from
these apparitions, especially when he suffered the onslaught of
demons, and grotesque monsters, sent from hell to torture him.
We would like to share a few excerpts from a homily he preached
on the Feast of the Assumption.
"We Catholics, who do homage to this most gentle and kind mother
cannot do less than exult with joy on this holy day in memory of
her greatest triumph, her Assumption into Heaven and Coronation
as Queen of all the Angels and Saints....
After Jesus Christ ascended into Heaven, Mary longed with an ever
growing desire to be reunited with Him. And oh! with what ardent
sighs and pitiful weeping did she supplicate Him to call her to
Him. Without her divine Son, she was in a most painful exile....But
finally the hour she so desired came, and she heard the voice of
her desires calling her from above....
Now, who can adequately describe the triumphant entrance of Mary
into Heaven?.. St. Anselm says that Our Savior wished to ascend
into Heaven before His Mother so as not only to prepare a throne
worthy of her but also so as to make her entrance more glorious
and triumphant by being able to meet her Himself with all the Angels
and Holy Souls of Paradise."
Very seldom was Padre Pio ever seen without the Rosary in his hand,
beads slipping through his fingers, his lips moving silently, as
he prayed the mysteries. He had such a special relationship with
Mary. She was his Mother, his Friend, and his Queen. Some of his
writings about Mary projected his undying love for her.
"This most tender mother, in her great knowledge, mercy and
goodness, has desired to punish me in a very high way by pouring
into my heart so many graces....."
"My poor little mother. How much she loves me. I realized it
again at the beginning of this beautiful month. With how much care
she accompanied me to the altar this morning! It seemed to me that
she didn't have anything else to think of but me alone."
"The strength of Satan, who is fighting me, is terrible, but
God be praised, because He has put the problem of my health and
a victorious outcome into the hands of our heavenly Mother. Protected
and guided by such a tender Mother, I will keep on fighting as long
as God wishes."
One of his followers wrote about Padre Pio and Mary, "When
he spoke about his heavenly Mother, as he called her, he could hardly
contain his emotion. When he recited "the Visit" (prayer)
to the Most Holy Mary, he often could not keep back the tears and
the emotion in the tone of his voice. And sometimes he was seized
by such violent sobbing that he could not continue the recitation
of the prayer."
A normal reaction to this would be, that's a bit much, even for
someone who professed that kind of love for Mary. But one thing
we must keep in mind is that Padre Pio had the privilege of seeing
Mary all his life. That is a gift that is beyond our human comprehension.
We have read the attempted verbalizations of those who have seen
Mary. We have asked the question of Vicka, one of the visionaries
in Medjugorje, "What is it like to be in the presence of Our
Lady?" Her only reply was, "There are no words."
Why wouldn't anyone be overcome with emotion, when an actual image
of the most beautiful woman in the history of creation, comes before
you every time you hear the name? I have often said I would get
a heart attack and die if Mary ever appeared to me. That will give
you just a teeny idea of what Padre Pio may have experienced with
Padre Pio points to two helping hands for the world, that of the
Church and that of the Blessed Mother.
Bob and Penny Lord are renowned
Catholic authors and television hosts on EWTN, Global Catholic television.
They are prolific writers about the Catholic faith, especially the
Saints. Read more about Saint Padre Pio at http://www.bobandpennylord.com/St_Padre_Pio.htm
Re-published from TrueChristianity.info
in October 2012
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