“What a dreadful thing war is! In every person wounded in the flesh, there is Jesus suffering.”
During World War I, Padre Pio was required to serve in the armed forces but was repeatedly put on medical leave due to poor health. He was eventually relieved of his duties after 182 days of service. As the war raged on, Pope Benedict XV implored all Christians to pray for an end to the fighting. Padre Pio offered himself as a sacrifice for the end of the war.
Following a vision in which Christ appeared and pierced the friar in the side with a sword, Padre Pio was left with a physical wound to his side. This mark was just one of many that Padre Pio willingly bore throughout his life for the suffering of others.
In Padre Pio’s Own Words
The devil, dear father, continues to engage me in war, and unfortunately he is not willing to accept defeat. In the first days of my testing, I confess a weakness in that I was somewhat melancholic. However, the melancholy lifted little by little, and I began to feel myself a bit comforted. Praying at the feet of Jesus, I seemed no longer to feel the weight of fatigue—which I usually feel in conquering myself when I am tempted—or the bitterness of regrets.
The temptations concerning my life in the world are touching my heart more, clouding my mind more, and putting me in a cold sweat; you could say they make me tremble from head to foot. At those times my eyes are good only for weeping. I comfort and encourage myself only by thinking about what you have told me in your letters. Even in approaching the altar, good God! I feel those attacks, but I have Jesus with me, so what is there to fear?
(To Fr. Benedetto of San Marco in Lamis, March 19, 1911)
St. Pio, how brave of you to offer yourself on behalf of others.
Inspire us to be as willing to be of service to those in need.