Earlier this week as I was talking to a parishioner about all that is going on with the world it dawned on me to turn to one of the greatest saints in the last hundred years, Padre Pio. Padre Pio Pietrelcina is well known for his famous expression: Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry.
He received the wounds of Christ, the stigmata, in 1918 during the greatest pandemic in modern history – the Spanish Flu. Padre Pio himself was severely sick throughout his life. He was prone to severe headaches and high fevers that were higher to what the human person can physically endure. Yet in the midst of all of this he trusted in God’s will and providence.
One day as a child when he was at his parish church with his father, a mother a came with her dying child in her arms and offered her prayers to God for her dying son. The future priest prayed for this boy silently and immediately the boy recovered right there on the spot. Let us remember in the midst of all the great efforts we are doing to fight this pandemic, it is the Lord to whom we must turn to the most. Jesus Christ is the Lord of both Heaven and Earth. Padre Pio always remembered this saving truth.
How often he would pray to the Blessed Mother. Every single day he would offer many rosaries for his intentions and for the whole world. If he was ever in a panic, he just gave it to the Blessed Mother and she would always lead him to Jesus.
It is so easy for us to worry about the uncertain future. In a certain way, it is a good thing to worry because it shows that we care. But too much anxiety, too much worry can lead us to doubt in God’s saving work.
The Lord never told us that it was going to be easy. He spoke of carrying the cross but also promised that He would give us rest. Our comfort is in the Eucharist; it is Jesus who feeds us with His Body and Blood.
Like so many during these Covid-19 times, Padre Pio lived in isolation. He lived in isolation not because of a pandemic but because he was unjustly disciplined because of false rumors. He was forbidden to write to his friends and spiritual children. He was also forbidden to hear confessions and offer Mass publicly. Yet he stayed obedient and had recourse to Christ in His saving presence of the Eucharist. The one thing he could do was pray and offer private Holy Mass, which as simple as it is, it is really all that he needed.
Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry. Padre Pio lived these words. Let us turn to this great saint and look at his life as a wonderful example of the Christian Life.
In Jesus and Mary,
Fr. Jeff Yildirmaz