Franciscan saints & blesseds: September 2010 Archives
An email friend, Patty in CT, just told me that Saint Pio's relics will be at the National Shrine of Our Lady of LaSalette, Attleboro, MA.
St Padre Pio Pilgrimage Day
Saturday, September 25
the day begins at 10:00 am, there are 2 talks, lunch, confessions, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The day concludes with a 4:30 pm Mass & veneration of Saint Pio's relics.
register by calling 508-222-5410
The Church honors the life and ministry of Saint "Padre" Pio today. Immediate memories of the saint bring me back to my youth when Clara and Joe Tomaso, the backbone of the morning Mass community at Our Lady of Pompeii Church (East Haven, CT), would passionately speak of Pio and gifts. These many years later a devotion to Saint Pio has grown in my heart, and perhaps you can relate. He's been a true spiritual father.
Earlier this spring I was taken by the recent film on Padre Pio because of the spiritual battle against evil, personally and for the Church. Plus, I've always been wonderfully (and sometime fearfully) surprised by his ability to read souls. Imagine going to confession to Padre Pio thinking you've made a good examination of conscience and being told that there are even more sins on your soul than you are aware of or even you've dismissed as inconsequential. Padre Pio as a servant of the Lord as a priest is keenly aware of how hard our hearts are hardened by sin. NOTHING beats a good and holy confession of sins. Confession of sin is a matter of true humanity and the healthy heart. The mere thought of Padre Pio makes me want to run to confession.
All saints have spiritual fathers who form the heart and mind. Padre Pio was no exception. His spiritual father Father Benedict said this to Pio on the desire for sanctity:
"It is one thing to say 'I am a saint' and another to say 'I want to become a saint.' You can tell everyone that you want to become a saint without fear of pride because, after all, holiness is nothing else but divine love and the love of God is a sacred, absolute and essential duty ordered to everyone and required from all. Where is pride when protesting to observe a principal and elementary duty? Humility consists in being persuaded that one does not have this love to an eminent degree or even sufficiently, but humility does not prevent one from aspiring to it."
How much do you think Pio took these words to heart? Probably he lived them with all his strength. What you and me?
Last year's post --with the Mass prayer-- on Saint Pio is still helpful, see it here.
While the rest of the Church honors the memory of the great Jesuit theologian, bishop and cardinal, Saint Robert Bellarmine, the Franciscans remember Saint Francis of Assisi receiving the gift of the holy stigmata, the 5 visible wounds of Our Lord. The following text is a piece of chant done by the Monks of New Skete (Cambridge, NY):
What gift could you possible offer the Trinity, O holy Father, when you possessed but a tunic, breech and cord? What else could you offer the Lord but the triune gift of yourself: the gold of evangelical poverty, the incense of perfect of obedience, and the sweet-smelling myrrh of chastity. In return, out of love for all mankind, the Lord Christ granted you the grace to know His saving Passion in your own flesh. Beg Him to save our souls!
What a terrific piece of liturgical theology to meditate on today. The sentiment is not left to those who live the Franciscan charism but for all of us baptized Christians who take faith in the Word made flesh as salvific.
I am leaving today for Washington and Baltimore to attend the first vow profession of a friend of mine, Gabriel Scasino, as a Conventual Franciscan. Gabriel is from New Haven, went to Notre Dame High School (West Haven, CT) and is now following the Franciscan charism for his salvation in Christ. He will, as the hymn-writer said above, offer himself to God by giving his whole life to the Lord in "the gold of evangelical poverty, the incense of perfect obedience, and the sweet-smelling myrrh of chastity." Pray for Gabriel and the Conventual Franciscans to follow Christ more closely today and in the years to come.
The Mass prayer for today's liturgical memorial may be found here.