Niedziela w Chicago 36/2003
Padre Pio considered that, „Love is the first ingredient in the relief of suffering”. He enacted this motto by accepting Christ’s anguish on his own human body. On September 20, 1918 Padre Pio was encompassed by an overpowering light, and he saw Jesus Christ as a young man moving towards him during prayer. On that day, he received wounds on his hands, feet, and the left side of his chest. This magnificent event prompted a lot of public attention, and people from varies walks of life came to inspect the accuracy behind his sores. Scientists concluded that they have no logical explanation for the wounds, which neither expanded nor healed. Padre Pio lost a teacup of blood daily, and had to wear white cotton gloves while he slept. A woman once asked him if the wounds „ache”? He told her that it feels: „Just as though you took a nail, drove it into the hand and turned it around”. He further responded by saying that, „these are flames of Divine love: I suffer gladly”. During the canonization of St. Pio, in his Homily, Pope John Paul II said that, „The life and mission of Padre Pio prove that difficulties and sorrows, if accepted out of love, are transformed into a privileged way of holiness, which opens onto the horizons of a greater good, known only to the Lord… Our time needs to rediscover the value of the Cross in order to open the heart to hope…The Holy Franciscan of the Gargano understood this well, when on the Feast of the Assumption in 1914, he wrote: «In order to succeed in reaching our ultimate end we must follow the divine Head, who does not wish to lead the chosen soul on any way other than the one he followed; by that, I say, of abnegation and the Cross» (Epistolario II, p. 155)”. Are individuals able to accept their crosses, like Jesus accepted his? Or is society gradually removing crosses out of sight, hoping that if they are in a drawer their symbolism will diminish, and the truth they hold will no longer exist? What can Christians do to help conserve their faith?