“I understand and am deeply aware that the trial is hard and the battle fierce. But I also understand that the fruit you will gather in due course is very abundant.”
—Letters, Vol. 2, 410
All of us have things in our lives that we would rather not have to deal with or face. They might be uncomfortable or too much to bear. When he first received the stigmata, Padre Pio begged that the outward signs of it be taken away. And while they originally did—though the pain did not—the marks eventually came back. He often said that he would have preferred to suffer in silence and became frustrated with those he felt were only seeking him out to see the markings.
Still, he continued to minister to others despite the pain and struggle of bearing the wounds of Christ.
In his life, Padre Pio understood great sadness. Notice how he describes his soul in the letter below. How can we in this century relate to that kind of melancholy?
In Padre Pio’s Own Words
My present state leaves much to be desired, my father. I feel a great protraction of my strength. I see crosses added on to crosses, sorrows added on to sorrows, and I will not be able to withstand them if the immediate intervention of the heavenly Father does not sustain me with his omnipotent arm.
Bitter spiritual battles are added to my physical difficulties. Very dark clouds are always gathering in the sky of my poor soul.
It is true that Jesus is always with me, but how painful, my father, is the trial that risks making my soul offend the divine Bridegroom! But God is forever alive! My confidence to overcome and emerge victorious and the strength to continue the fight are not decreasing.
(To Fr. Agostino of San Marco in Lamis, September 7, 1914)
St. Pio, help us to remember that we may not fully understand the trials and challenges we face,
but to have faith that God is always with us.