“You have every reason to be terrified if you try to measure the level of battle against your strength, but knowing that Jesus does not leave you for one instant should be the best consolation. God himself tells us that he is with the afflicted and those in tribulation: ‘I will be with him in trouble’ [Psalm 91:51]. He comes down to wipe away the tears from their eyes. Be comforted, then, with the sweet thought that after such dense darkness, the lovely afternoon sun will shine. You will contemplate our heavenly Bridegroom in that light with a very pure and simple gaze. Do not allow yourself to believe that you are practically a derelict in the Lord’s eyes and there is no salvation for you. Reject that idea, which comes from our common enemy.”
– Saint Padre Pio
A few days ago I was thinking about posting something for Mediation & Reflection, but at the time I hadn’t a clue what to post. I’d set the thought aside for a while until I was reminded suddenly of St. Padre Pio, his wisdom, faith, and compassion. With a sudden urge to revisit his writings, I walked over to my bookshelf and picked up Padre Pio’s Spiritual Direction For Every Day. It contains a collection of letters he had written to spiritual directors, and people who sought his advice, and it just so happens that this particular letter that I shared above had been previously bookmarked when I first opened the book. I cannot remember when or why I had placed a bookmark in that particular spot, but the words spoke to me nonetheless. Plus, another funny coincidence (although I believe it was more than that) the date for this passage (not the letter’s actual date, but the date intended for daily reading) was today’s date, August 24. I think it’s safe to say the Lord wanted me to read this and share it here as well!
Padre Pio’s words serve as an important reminder for us. It’s easy to get caught up in the highs and lows of life, and the daily struggles we face each day. Struggles that concern our families, communities, country, livelihood, and so forth. When things get tough, we wonder how much more we can possibly take. We question our limits, our capabilities. We become discouraged at times, and feel like all hope is lost. We start to think that God has forgotten us. But perhaps the biggest mistake we could’ve made was forgetting the Lord.
We get so wrapped up in ourselves so quickly and so easily, we forget all about a God who loves us, is with us, wants only what’s best for us, and never abandons us. He never gives us more than what we could handle, so why should we worry? As Saint Paul said, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” [Romans 8:31]. Whatever tries to make us believe otherwise it is most certainly not from Christ, but as Padre Pio states from our common enemy who constantly attempts to destroy our faith, our goodwill, our hope in the Lord.
Sometimes things have to become very dark before the light can burst through. And sometimes, when cleaning, we have to make a huge mess before everything is neat and tidy again. But in the face of adversity, faith and hope keeps us going. Everyone has their battles, their trials, and dark nights. But in God we can do all things, and He will take us to that radiant afternoon sun, turn our tears into joy, and renew us all. Whatever life throws at us, let us ask the Lord to grant us (and others in need) the graces to persevere with joy, faith, and love, that we may be consoled with the reminder that Jesus our Savior, and the Blessed Mother, are always with us no matter what.
Saint Padre Pio, pray for us!