Page 4, 14th June 2002

14th June 2002
Page 4
Page 4, 14th June 2002 — Understanding the value of suffering

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Understanding the value of suffering

nyone wanting to understand Padre Pio's spirituality could begin by pondering his remark: "If we knew the value of suffering we'd ask for nothing else."

As the late Father Joseph Pius Martin OFM Cap, from San Giovanni Rotondo, who knew Padre Pio; told The Catholic Herald in 1999 said, "What is it that makes the saint? Is it the miracles, the stigmata, the hi-locations and the perfumes? It is true he is the only saint in the history of the Church who has had all the gifts of the Holy Spirit and all the mystical phenomena known to Christian spirituality but this is not the sanctity. The sanctity is the imitation of Christ.

"The other things are gifts, they are called charisms, they are given to a person not even for himself but so he can transmit them to others." said Fr Martin who died in the Jubilee Year.

"This imitation of Christ calls to mind the words of Isaiah 53:5: But he was wounded for our transgressions. he was bruised for our iniquities: upon him was the chastisement that made us whole and with his stripes we are healed'."

For Padre Pio the most imporl'tant time of the day was when he celebrated Holy Mass, the greatest of all prayers any of us can make. The sacrifice of the Mass as a re

enactment of Calvary' was no dry theological concept for Padre Pio but something as tangible as walking. His prayer was continuous and rooted in the basics of the Roman Catholic faith. He spent many hours before the Blessed Sacrament. And for the many hours he spent hearing confessions he was known as the 'martyr of the confessional'. .

He recalled how as a young man he had an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary who said to him: "I will be your Mother.". And as befits somebody who gave himself to Our Lady for her Motherly Blessing the Holy Rosary was never out of his hand.

This prayer led to a life of great love, humility and obedience. As Father Joseph explained the spirituality of Padre Pio makes him a saint for the Apocalyptic age we are living in.

"St Louis de Montfort wrote abut the great saints that Mary will produce in the latter history of the Church because of their closeness to her — one of these is certainly Padre Pio.

He added: "There had to be a very good reason why a man would be turned into a living Crucifix for 58 years. The reason was that the Mother of all Humanity was frightened about her children's salvation so she had to have this great reparation being done."

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