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

Mary, the First and Greatest Disciple

Mary remains an ever-present figure as we journey through the Gospels with the women who meet Jesus. These stories are the tales of very different women, yet the common thread is the one most powerfully illustrated by his own Mother: intimacy with Jesus calls out the very best of who we can be.

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

A Tiny Thing in the Arms of God

“It seems to me that I am no more than a very tiny thing in the arms of God, and that I will remain so until I die. I do not know what He wants to do with me, but I desire it all.”

—Venerable Marthe Robin, as quoted in Robert Ellsberg’s The Franciscan Saints

The Community of Faith

When you read and study Scripture, you are not alone. You are part of an ancient and global community (Acts 2:42–47). It’s more than an individual expression, because it also happens in and with the universal Church. Reading and studying Scripture is both an individual expression of love and trust for God, as well as a communal expression of our faith.

—from the book Ignite: Read the Bible Like Never Before

Fallen Humans, Infinite Desires

We as human persons are made with infinite desires that only God can fulfill. But because we’re fallen, we tend to live at the level of our superficial desires—desires for comfort, fun, fame, wealth, pleasure, success. These desires are not bad, but the rosary helps us be more aware of the soul’s deepest desires, which are for God. As Saint Catherine of Siena taught, the greatest gift we can give to God in prayer is not the finite work of saying the words but our “infinitely desirous love” for God that is expressed in those words and that is being drawn out of our souls in prayer.

—from the book Praying the Rosary Like Never Before: Encounter the Wonder of Heaven and Earth

Doing the Lord’s Work

Tom Harkin, senator from Iowa, entered into the Congressional Record these words from an article in the Des Moines Register: “Sister [Dorothy] Hennessey taught many things, including courage, compassion, and the importance of independent thought and creative action. She taught that aging gracefully can be consistent with living meaningfully and even dangerously. But most important, she taught that we don’t have to stand by in frustration when wrongs are perpetrated, even by our government; that the world is best served when we stand up for what is right. And that you do whatever you can, from wherever you are. In her case it was the Lord’s work.”

—from Robert Ellsberg’s book The Franciscan Saints

Work Done Well Brings Us into Wholeness

It is in work that we find the test of our relationship to the creation because work is the question of how we will use the creation. For Berry, work done well brings us into a wholeness and cooperation with the creation in which we can find health. Bad work destroys the connections that make life possible. For Berry, good work is like a prayer—it is an act of both gratitude and return. Good work accepts the gifts of creation and uses those gifts to further their givenness. There are seeds that lie for decades in the soil, waiting for the right conditions before springing to life. Good work is that which creates the conditions for such life to burst forth from the whole of the creation.

–from the book Wendell Berry and the Given Life

Standing with Our Lady of Sorrows

Sometimes darkness has its hour and there is nothing we can do to stop it. Sometimes the blind, wounded forces of jealousy, bitterness, violence, and sin cannot, for that moment, be stopped.

But, like Mary under the cross, we are asked to “stand” under them, not in passivity and weakness, but in strength, knowing that we can’t stop the crucifixion but we can help stop some of the hatred, anger, and bitterness that surround it.

And, in this way, we help take away the sins of the world and continue to bring Jesus’s saving death to the world.

–from Ronald Rolheiser, author of the book The Passion and the Cross

The Cross: Ultimate Symbol of Fidelity

Among all the religious symbols in the world, none is more universal than the cross. You see crosses everywhere: on walls, on hillsides, in churches, in houses, in bedrooms, on chains around peoples’ necks, on rings, on earrings, on old people, on young people, on believers, and on people who aren’t sure what they believe.

Not everyone can explain what the cross means or why they choose to wear one, but most everyone has an inchoate sense that it is a symbol—perhaps the ultimate symbol—of depth, love, fidelity, and faith.

–from Ronald Rolheiser, author of the book The Passion and the Cross

Meeting God in the Upper Room