The Prayers of Padre Pio

There can be no doubt that Padre Pio dedicated his life to prayer and suffering. Every breath he took was a prayer—never for himself, always for others. From the beginning of his life, he was able to easily travel from this world to the next, through deep prayer. He used this connection with God to recommend to him the prayers of his spiritual children.

This ability to make contact with the powerful presence of God through prayer enabled him to bless and pray with those in most need, wherever they were in the world.

—from the book Padre Pio: A Personal Portrait


Padre Pio: A Personal Portrait

A Glimmer of Light Within Darkness

Always bear in mind as a safe general rule that while God tries us by his crosses and sufferings, he always leaves us a glimmer of light by which we continue to have great trust in him and to recognize his immense goodness. I urge you, therefore, not to be entirely disheartened in the face of the cross...heaven bestows on you, but to continue to have boundless confidence in the divine mercy.

—from the book The Joyful Spirit of Padre Pio: Stories, Letters, and Prayers

As It Was in the Beginning

Exactly one hour later, to the exact second that you slid into sleep, your father comes up to check on the kids, and he sees you with the rosary tangled in your fingers, and he silently goes downstairs and gets your mother, whose hands are soapy as she turns toward him questioningly from the sink, but she knows him, and she rinses her hands and dries them on that old blue towel, and she comes upstairs too, and they stand over your bed for a few minutes, in the moonlight. Neither of them says a word, but they never forget those few moments, and even now sometimes, for no reason at all, all these years later, one of them remembers, and says something quietly to the other, and they both smile and feel a pang of joy and glory and sorrow. As it was in the beginning is now, and ever shall be, world without end, amen.

  

Instruments of Peace

How can we become instruments of peace? Fear, anger, bluster, or revenge do not overcome violence; they feed it—whether between people or nations.

Saint Francis of Assisi knew that only love will bring peace: a fierce, gentle love that gives us the courage to face suffering, a love whose power even death cannot defeat. As Christians, we claim this to be divine love, embodied in Jesus: in his ministry, on the cross, and in the resurrection.

Opening ourselves to this fierce love through prayer, and then acting out of it—personally and in our public policies—is the only pathway to peace.

  

Finding God in His Creation

While both Clare and Francis left the world to pursue God insofar as they abandoned their status, wealth and security, never did they renounce the world for the sake of God. Rather, they realized that the created world was the world embraced by God; thus God could not be found apart from the world. The world, not the monastery, was the true cloister.

—from the book Clare of Assisi: A Heart Full of Love

Knowing My Worth

Edith Stein believed that before we can carry out our specific roles and fulfill our God-given vocations, we need to “first become a person!... Before a woman can become wife and mother in a positive way, she must first mature in her own self-possession. Although woman longs to love and receive love, she must also become strong enough to be a true gift to another.”

It seems to me that this statement is a clarion call for our times: Woman, know thyself. One biographer of Edith said it another way: “Before they can be ready to assist others, women first need to be securely anchored in their own depths.” Because the very essence of our vocation as women is self-donation, the truth is clear that we cannot give away what we do not possess. What we need to possess is an inherent and soul-deep understanding of our dignity and worth as women in the eyes of God. We are not simply speaking of a psychological acceptance, but of a spiritual maturity that blossoms and bears fruit through the contemplation of our vocation as women as an outpouring of our intimate, loving relationship with Jesus Christ.

—from the book Embracing Edith Stein: Wisdom for Women from St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

Looking for the Lord

“Why are you weeping?” the angels ask her as she leans into the tomb. Mary Magdalene is not ashamed of her emotion; she is not hesitant in her answer. She is missing her Lord. No, she does not fully grasp the great theological mysteries of the passion and the resurrection that she is about to encounter. She cannot explain that she leans in to look because everything about Jesus indicated there was something greater coming on the other side of his hideous death. All she knows is that she is there because she is looking for her Lord. And that is enough to lead her straight to the Resurrected One.

—from the book Who Does He Say You Are? Women Transformed by Christ in the Gospels

Organic Simplicity and Communion with Christ

In the host of saints of the Catholic Church, there has never been one so connected to the earth, yet so joined to the Spirit. The rhythm of the seasons, the cycles of the moon, the bounty of the harvests, and the elements of wind and fire surrounded her each day. And from this organic simplicity, a huge capacity for spiritual communion with Christ was nurtured and matured like a mighty tree, the symbol of the Iroquois. Yet Saint Kateri Tekakwitha remained a gentle lily.

 

–from the book Lily of the Mohawks

A Pilgrim Prays by Walking

That is very simply what a pilgrim does: walk. And it is the way the pilgrim prays, with his or her feet. And the feet walk through dark clouds to illumination to the light that is holy action. Through dark, cloud-filled days to a hint of subtle lightening to the sun breaking through, the feet taking us where we least thought we’d go, where before we had thought darkness dwelt, and finding there instead, in bright sunlight, the broken, the poor, the marginal, those made ugly or disfigured by abuse and oppression and woundedness. We are changed simply by walking, rain or shine, toward and back from whatever shrine we had thought contained our hope and longing. We walk back toward what was there all along that we could not see.

–from the book Enter Assisi: An Invitation to Franciscan Spirituality

God’s Life-Giving Water Brought You Here

The eleventh degree of humility in the Rule of Benedict treats a situation like this quite specifically. “Do only those things sanctioned by the community,” the sixth-century document reads. Take counsel. Listen. Seek direction. While moving ahead stay close to the kind of counsel that has strengthened the community in the past. Stay close to the spiritual well whose life-giving water has brought you to this point. The value of this saying is immeasurable. It is much more than an exciting new answer, the effects of which no one knows. It is a reaffirmation of spirituality based in experience, grounded in the wisdom of the elders, and rooted in self-control.

–from the book In God's Holy Light: Wisdom from the Desert Monastics

Meeting God in the Upper Room