Messages by Jesus to Padre Pio
Padre Pio was born to Giuseppa and Grazio Forgione, peasent farmers, in the small Italian village of Pietrelcina on May 25, 1887, southern Italy. He was tutored privately until entry to the novitiate of the Capuchin Friars at the age of 15. Of feeble health but strong will, with the help of grace he completed the required studies and was ordained a priest in 1910.
On September 20th, 1918 the five wounds of Our Lord's Passion appeared on his body, making him the first stigmatized priest in the history of the Church. Countless numbers were attracted to his confessional and many more received his saintly counsel and spiritual guidance through correspondence. His whole life was marked by long hours of prayer and continual austerity. His letters to his spiritual directors reveal the ineffable sufferings, physical and spiritual, which accompanied him all through life. They also reveal his very deep union with God, his burning love for the Blessed Eucharist and Our Blessed Lady. Worn out by over half a century of intense suffering and constant apostolic activity in San Giovanni Rotondo, he was called to his heavenly reward on September 23, 1968. After a public funeral which attracted almost 100,000, his body was entombed in the crypt of Our Lady of Grace Church. Increasing numbers flock to his tomb from all parts of the world and many testify to spiritual and temporal graces received. On Feb. 16th, 1973, the Archbishop of Manfredonia, Mgr. Valentino Vailati, consigned the documentation to the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints so as to obtain the "nihil obstat" for the beginning of the process of his Beatification.
January 28, 1950: "Keep your windows well-covered. Do not look out. Light a blessed candle, which will suffice for many days. Pray the Rosary. Read spiritual books. Make acts of Spiritual Communion, also acts of love, which are so pleasing to Us. Pray with outstretched arms, or prostrate on the ground, in order that many souls may be saved. Do not go outside the house. Provide yourself with sufficient food. The powers of nature shall be moved and a rain of fire shall make people tremble with fear. Have courage! I am in the midst of you."
February 7, 1950: "Take care of the animals during these days. I am the creator and preserver of animals as well as man. I shall give you a few signs beforehand, at which time you should place more food before them. I will preserve the property of the elect, including the animals, for they shall be in need of sustenance afterwards as well. Let no one go across the yard, even to feed the animals - he who steps outside will perish! Cover your windows carefully. My elect shall not see My wrath. Have confidence in Me, and I will be your protection."
"Hurricanes of fire will pour forth from the clouds and spread over the entire earth! Storms, bad weather, thunderbolts and earthquakes will cover the earth for two days. An uninterrupted rain of fire will take place! It will begin during a very cold night. All this is to prove that God is the Master of Creation. Those who hope in Me, and believe in My words, have nothing to fear because I will not forsake them, nor those who spread My message. No harm will come to those who are in the state of grace and who seek My Mother's protection."
"That you may be prepared for these visitations, I will give you the following signs and instructions: The night will be very cold. The wind will roar. After a time a thunderbolt will be heard. Lock all the doors and windows. Talk to no one outside the house. Kneel down before a crucifix, be sorry for your sins, and beg My Mother's protection. Do not look during the earthquake, because the anger of God is holy! Jesus does not want us to behold the anger of God, because God's anger must be contemplated with fear and trembling."
"Those who disregard this advice will be killed instantly. The wind will carry with it poisonous gases which will be diffused over the entire earth. Those who suffer and die innocently will be martyrs and they will be with Me in My Kingdom. Satan will triumph! But in three nights, the earthquake and fire will cease. On the following day the sun will shine again, angels will descend from Heaven and will spread the spirit of peace over the earth. A feeling of immeasurable gratitude will take possession of those who survive this most terrible ordeal, the impending punishment, with which God will visit the earth since creation.
"I have chosen souls in other countries too, such as Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, who have received these revelations so that other countries also may be prepared. Pray the Rosary, but pray it well, so that your prayers may reach Heaven. Soon a more terrible catastrophe shall come upon the entire world, such as never before has been witnessed, a terrible chastisement never before experienced!"
"How unconcerned men are regarding these things! Which shall so soon come upon them, contrary to all expectations. How indifferent they are in preparing themselves for these unheard of events, through which they will have to pass so shortly! The weight of divine balance has reached the earth! The wrath of My Father shall be poured out over the entire world! I am again warning the world through your instrumentality, as I have so often done heretofore."
"This catastrophe shall come upon the earth like a flash of lightning! At which moment the light of the morning sun shall be replaced by black darkness! No one shall leave the house or look out a window from that moment on. I Myself shall come amidst thunder and lightning. The wicked shall behold My Divine Heart. There shall be great confusion because of this utter darkness in which the entire earth shall be enveloped, and many, many shall die from fear and despair."
"On that day, as soon as complete darkness has set in, no one shall leave the house or look from out of the window. The darkness shall last a day and a night followed by another day and night, and another day - but on the night following, the stars will shine again, and on the next morning the sun shall rise again, and it will be SPRINGTIME!! In the days of darkness, My elect shall not sleep, as did the disciples in the garden. They shall pray incessantly, and they shall not be disappointed in Me. I shall gather My elect. Hell will believe itself to be in possession of the entire earth, but I shall reclaim it."
"Again and again I have warned men, and often have I given them special opportunities to return to the right path; but now, wickedness has reached its climax, and the punishment can no longer be delayed. Tell all that the time has come in which these things shall be fulfilled."
Padre Pio Quotations
"Do not disturb your soul at the sad spectacle of human injustice .... One day you will see the inevitable triumph of Divine justice over it."
"The pivot of perfection is love; he who lives in love lives in God, because God is love, as the Apostle says."
"To fail in charity is like wounding God in the apple of His eye. What is more delicate than the pupil of the eye? To fail in charity is like failing against nature."
"Try always to advance more in charity; enlarge your heart with confidence for the divine gifts which the Holy Spirit is anxious to pour into it."
"God can reject everything in a creature conceived in sin and of which it bears the indelible impression inherited from Adam. But He can absolutely not reject the sincere desire to love Him."
"Charity is the queen of virtues. As the pearls are held together by the thread, thus the virtues are held together by charity; as the pearls fall when the thread breaks, thus virtues are lost if charity diminishes."
"Humility and charity go hand in hand. The one glorifies, the other sanctifies."
"The time spent for the glory of God and the salvation of souls is never spent badly."
"Where there is no obedience, there is no virtue; where there is no virtue, there is no good. Where good is wanting, there is no love; where there is no love, God is absent; where God is absent, there is no heaven."
"Obey promptly! Do not consider the age or merit of the person. And in order to succeed, imagine you are obeying the Lord."
Father Padre Pio's body 40 Years after Death
On the morning of the 20th September 1918, after having celebrated Holy Mass, the priest Padre Pio retired to the choir stalls for his usual thanksgiving. The place was S. Giovanni Rotondo and the church, Our Lady of Grace.
Outside in the small piazza the morning was similar to most other mornings on the Gargano. The friary, lying at the foot of the mountain, high above the village, seemed isolated and remote, altogether cut off from the world. Peace and quiet hung heavy in the mountain air filling the huge spaces with indescribable serenity and calm.
Chirpings of birds, muted and subdued, coming as if from far off and the monotonous drone of myriad flying insects were sounds to accentuate the silence of the place. They adorned but did not disturb it. Already the clear lines of morning were fading and merging into the heat of midday. High up, a blazing sun seared the massive garganic granite, sending all creatures hurrying to the cool oasis of shuttered rooms.
Only a few old folk long accustomed to this midday furnace moved slowly about, entering the small church to say their devotions, then emerging and making their way across to the ancient yew-tree dominating the middle of the piazza to rest silently in its shadow. A day like other September days with little hint that it could be any different from those which had preceded it or from those which must assuredly follow it.
For the young priest, however, just then kneeling in the chapel of the church, this morning was to be very different, a fateful morning like no other, containing within it a destiny, a summons whose imperious and exalted demands he would attempt to fulfill to the end. Here inside the church the silence was very great. Not a sound penetrated the thick walls from outside as P. Pio, oblivious to everything except the memory of his recent Mass, slowly prostrated in loving adoration before the outspread, bloodied figure on the crucifix.
With that marvelous facility possessed by the mystics by which all external objects are abandoned he withdrew into himself, his spirit yielding to the peacefulness which invaded his whole being, a peacefulness, he later wrote, "similar to a sweet sleep". In this absolute silence he prayed, mind and heart totally wrapped in the burning love which consumed him like some incurable fever. A sweet calm heralding the forthcoming storm.
What happened next can best be told in the simple, unadorned words of P. Pio writing to P. Benedetto little more than a month afterwards: "It all happened in a flash. While all this was taking place, I saw before me a mysterious Person, similar to the one I had seen on August 5th, differing only because His hands, feet and side were dripping blood. The sight of Him frightened me: what I felt at that moment is indescribable. 'I thought I would die, and would have died if the Lord hadn't intervened and strengthened my heart which was about to burst out of my chest. The Person disappeared and I became aware that my hands, feet and side were pierced and were dripping with blood" (Ep., V. 1, no. 5 10, p. 1094). P. Pio had just received the visible stigmata. There was nobody about. Silence settled once more round the brown robed figure now lying huddled on the floor.
A long Calvary had just begun and with it the answer to a prayer: the prayer of his profound desire to identify with Christ crucified not only by participation in the priestly apostolate but in some mysterious way in that supreme immolation of Our Lord on Calvary (cf. Le Stimmate di P. Pio, G. Cruchon, SJ, Colana "Spiritualità", No. 1, p. 102).
He had not desired this physical conformity and when he had recovered somewhat from the immediate experience his embarrassment was extreme: "I am dying of pain because of the wound and because of the resulting embarrassment which I feel deep within my soul. . . Will Jesus who is so good grant me this grace ? Will he at least relieve me of the embarrassment which these outward signs cause me" (Ep., V. 1, p. 1904). Not the wound, not the pain did he wish removed but only the visible signs which at the time he considered to be an indescribable and almost unbearable humiliation.
Later, much later, however, he would come to love and cherish these divine marks of predilection, drawing from them that rich source of superhuman energy which from then on marked his apostolate of love and suffering. With Catherine of Siena he could truly say: "My wounds not only do not afflict my body, but they sustain and fortify it. I feel that what formerly depressed me, now invigorates me." His wounds, hitherto invisible but now manifested exteriorly, mark a definitive stage of his soul's transformation into the object loved, namely, the Lord who suffered and was crucified.
For the next fifty years they would confound impartial science; their continuous and profuse effusion of blood, accompanied often by the sweetest fragrance, came to be regarded as a prolonged miracle, because, as the experts correctly state, blood for its production requires nourishment while this friar's extraordinary frugality was such as hardly to maintain the life of a small child.
The remarkable nature of this miraculous gift becomes more apparent when it is considered how such loss of blood was simply inconsonant with and disproportionate to the stamina and energy with which P. Pio with ever greater activity and zeal conducted his life in all matters relating to the service of God.
Such are the bald facts of P. Pio's stigmata. From his correspondence it is clear that very early in his priestly life there were, at least, indications of what eventually came to pass. Writing to P. Benedetto as early as 1911, only a year after ordination, P. Pio described a phenomenon which he had been experiencing for almost a year: "Then last night something happened which I can neither explain nor understand. In the middle of the palms of my hands a red mark appeared, about the size of a penny, accompanied by acute pain in the middle of the red marks. The pain was more pronounced in the middle of the left hand, so much so that I can still feet it. Also under my feet I can feel some pain" (Ep., V. 1, p. 234).
This is his first mention of the phenomenon to his spiritual father because, as he says, he was overwhelmed with shame. He simply did not want to talk about it, hoping no doubt that it was a passing thing which would soon clear up and then be forgotten.
Four years later, in 1915, his beloved P. Agostino demands certain information in the name of Jesus: When did Jesus first favour him with celestial visions ? Has Jesus made him a gift of his stigmata even though invisible? How often does he feel the crown of thorns and the scourging? P. Agostino asks these questions not out of curiosity but for the glory of God and the salvation of souls (Ep., V. 1, p. 659).
In his reply to this letter P. Pio recognizes the express will of God and willingly answers all three questions. To the first he replies that Jesus began to favour "his poor creature" not very long after his novitiate (Jan. 1903 to Jan. 1904); to the second, whether Jesus made him a gift of the stigmata, the reply is affirmative and we learn that from the start the wounds were visible, especially in one hand, but that P. Pio was so terrified in the face of this phenomenon that he begged the Lord to withdraw them.
From then on they did not appear again until September 1918 although their pain remained and were felt more acutely under certain circumstances and on determined days. The final question he also answers affirmatively. He experiences the pain of the crown of thorns and the scourging. How often he cannot say except that at the time of writing he has been suffering from them almost once a week for some years (cf. Ep., V. 1, p. 669).
The rest is history. News of the event spread like wildfire and by the following year there began that afflux of pilgrims to the tiny friary which has not ceased since. At first in a tiny stream they came, later in the tens of thousands, flocking to glimpse this priest with the wounds of Christ, to assist at his Mass, to kiss those mittened hands and for those who could speak Italian the privilege of confessing to him.
In all this, of course, there were dangers. The danger of a "personality cult"; of the possibility of self-induced wounds produced by a morbid, impressionable, temperament; the danger of fraud and deception, deliberate or otherwise, with the intent of leading a credulous faithful astray; that the stigmata was nothing more than an effect of natural causes rather than a supernatural gift; and finally, there was the dangerous possibility of preternatural and diabolic activity.
In the light of this, and in retrospect, it is understandable why the Church authorities took a course of action that at the time seemed harsh and cruel but which today can be seen, at least in part, as the anvil on which P. Pio's sanctity was hammered out, put to the test and purified to become the luminous and diaphanous veil through which men glimpsed God.
[From: The Spirituality of Padre Pio, Augustine Mc Gregor, O.C.S.O., edited by Fr. Alessio Parente, OFM Cap. (San Giovanni Rotondo: Edizioni "Padre Pio of Pietrelcina" of Our Lady of Grace Monastery, 71013 San Giovanni Rotondo, FG, Italy, 1974). Used with permission of: The National Center for Padre Pio, 2213 Old Route 100, Barto, PA 19504, through which a subscription may be obtained.]
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