Friday, September 23, 2011

Padre Pio's Suffering

Today is the memorial feast day of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina. As the meditation for the day, the Magnificat offers the following words written by Padre Pio to his spiritual director:
“Jesus tells me that in love it is he who delights me, while in suffering, on the other hand, it is I who give pleasure to him. Now, to desire good health would mean seeking happiness for myself instead of trying to comfort Jesus. Yes, I love the cross, the cross alone; I love it because I see it always on Jesus’ shoulders. By this time Jesus is well aware that my entire life, my whole heart is consecrated to him and to his sufferings….
When Jesus wants to make me understand that he loves me, he permits me to relish the wounds, the thorns, the anguish of his Passion… But when he wants to be delighted, he speaks to me of his sufferings, he invites me in a tone which is both a request and a command to offer my body that his sufferings may be alleviated.”
Not exactly the norm in terms of what a spiritual director is given to work with! Here, it is likely the case that the director is chosen by God to witness the extraordinary gifts made manifest by God in this humble soul of a man. In and through Padre Pio we gain insight beyond what we ordinarily hear from the learned who attempt to convey some portrait of the divine.   
For instance, in telling us, “while in suffering…it is I who give pleasure to him,” Padre Pio is saying that Jesus takes pleasure in his suffering. Yes, that is what Padre Pio is telling us. Jesus is pleased with Pio’s suffering, not because he is suffering for suffering's sake, but because his entire life and his whole heart has been consecrated to Jesus and His sufferings. It is an expression of the cooperation of the human will with the divine will, an offering made by the human to the divine in response to His unique call to this soul, both a request and a command to offer his body… Padre Pio’s is a love that reflects the divine love itself which in Jesus undertook suffering for the sake of humanity. In other words, there is a human being, named Pio, who has undertaken to suffer for the sake of God, with the same love that God undertook to suffer for Pio’s sake. In Padre Pio we see a human being who has been willing to respond to God and His suffering in the very manner that God responded to human suffering.     
Having lived 50 years of his life bearing the stigmata of Christ in his own flesh, bearing the spiritual wounds of Christ in being privy to see the sins of human hearts, bearing the emotional pains of persecution, calumny and the like, and bearing natural human illnesses to which his body was subject as a man, all offered to Jesus in love, for the love of God and the good of souls, we hereafter are left not only with the memory of such a man and his letters, but even in death, Pio’s body still speaks of Jesus’ love for his suffering, in the divine will to preserve the body from corruption.  


  1. Thank you, Malga, for visiting. Many blessings, S.