Grace to you!
It’s a little town, by far less than any of the major cities in the country or in the West. In that little town, over four hundred teens run a schedule like cadets, except that they weren’t training to be infantry soldiers, but miles Jesu (soldiers of Christ). Their weapons were to be prayer and the practice of virtue.
In that little town called Osina, in the eastern part of Nigeria, West Africa, a house of discernment for priestly vocation is located. It’s a school, a minor seminary called Bonus Pastor Seminary (meaning the Good Shepherd Seminary).
The routine of sleep, prayer, dinner, studies, manual work and exercises made each day pass quickly. No one would expect that in that far, little town, a man whose life was impacting lives beyond Italy was ringing a bell. Saint Pius of Pietrelcina, popularly known as Padre Pio, was an inspiration to many of those teens. I happen to be one of them.
Forgive me if I sound personal here. Among the four Saints who have influenced my life and ministry in a huge way are Saints Padre Pio, Catherine of Sienna, Theresa of the Child Jesus; and for evangelization, Venerable Fulton J. Sheen. Mother Mary belongs to another class of influence. Therefore, a day like this, when the Catholic Church celebrates the life of Padre Pio, is special to me.
Recently, the heart of Padre Pio made rounds in Boston, Massachusetts, venerated by thousands of people whose lives were impacted by the Saint. What a blessing, made possible through Cardinal O’Malley.
The miracles, heroic virtue and life-witness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ lived by Padre Pio when he was alive are unbelievable. No wonder his body is partially incorrupt close to 40 years after his death.
Do you want proof about the omnipotence of God? Then visit the crypt in the Church of Our Lady of Grace, in San Giovanni Rotondo, southern Italy, where Padre Pio is buried. It is the second most visited Catholic shrine in the world. There you will see how the power of God’s grace in the life of a human being like you could transform the world.
From the power of bilocation, a spiritual gift where you can be in more than one place at a time (I am not talking of virtual world or the techno-third life – I mean real presence), to stigmata, power of reading souls, numerous miracles and healings. There is nothing God can’t do.
Whenever I contemplate what God did in the life of Saint Padre Pio, I have chills of joy. You and I can be like Pio, or rather like Christ, whom he followed. One of his famous quotes may be a good word to end today’s reflections: “Pray, hope and don’t worry.”
Saint Padre Pio, pray for us.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.