Franciscan Spirit Blog

Lent with Padre Pio: Palm Sunday

“One who comes [to the confessional], comes seeking comfort, pardon, peace in his soul; let him find a father who embraces him and says, ‘God loves you,’ and makes the penitent feel that  God really does.”
—Pope Francis, speaking of Padre Pio

Even before he was officially recognized as a saint by the Church, Padre Pio was held in highest regard by the people of San Giovanni Rotondo, where he lived for a good part of his life. In fact, when Padre Pio’s superiors considered relocating him amidst speculation about his stigmata, the townspeople angrily gathered together to protest the move and even barricaded the monastery. In Padre Pio they found a model of faith.

To this day, Padre Pio is venerated for his holiness, simplicity, and poverty—three characteristics we can all try to emulate.

In Padre Pio’s Own Words

Holiness means overcoming ourselves. It means having perfect victory over all our passions. It means truly and constantly disregarding ourselves and despising the things of this world to the point of preferring poverty to riches, humiliation to glory, and pain to pleasure.

Holiness means loving our neighbor as ourselves out of love for God.

With regard to others, holiness means loving even those who curse us, who hate us, who persecute us, and even doing good to them. Holiness means living a life of humility, detachment, wisdom, righteousness, patience, charity, chastity, gentleness, and diligence. It is a life of doing our duty for no other reason than to please God and receive our reward from him alone.

In summary, Raffaelina, holiness has the power in itself, according to the language of the sacred books, to transform a human being into God.

(To Raffaelina Cerase, December 30, 1915)


St. Pio, may we be as effective in spreading Christ’s message through our actions as you were.
Let our lives be a true witness to others.

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