I recently revisited Saint Padre Pio’s writings while in need of some spiritual guidance and encouragement, and I was both pleasantly surprised and renewed by the Saint’s words of hope and reassurance of God’s divine providence even in the midst of great darkness and confusion. Here’s what I came upon from his responses to a letter recipient:
“Wage war against Satan, whether he comes directly with his malicious suggestions or indirectly through the world and our corrupt nature. Cause an uproar with that miserable apostate, and do not worry about his threats to swallow you up at times. It does not matter, because he can do nothing to your soul that Jesus is now holding so close to Himself and is upholding in a hidden way with His ever vigilant grace. Cheer up, beloved daughter of Jesus, because I am telling you the truth. Never in the past have things been as good with your soul as they are now. Do not let yourself think that your sufferings are being inflicted in reparation for your wrongdoings, because the Lord is afflicting you only to embellish your crown with the jewels He has decided to give you.” (To Raffaelina Cerase, September 19, 1914)
“Do not be in doubt about receiving divine assistance, and do not lean on yourself to deal with these multiple afflictions that constantly surround you. Everything will turn out for the glory of God and the salvation of your soul. Tell me, how can you doubt my reassurances? Without divine grace would you have been able in the past to get through so many crises and so many wars? Therefore be confident at all times, because that same grace will still be there for you. You will be saved, and the enemy will gnash his teeth in his rage. In the meantime continue to pray, to thank God, and to suffer according to His divine purposes and His divine will. Be encouraged by the thought that your reward is not far off.” (To Raffaelina Cerase, April 20, 1915)
It’s easy to depend on ourselves when faced with worries or problems. We set out to find our own solutions without trusting in the Lord first. Padre Pio assures us that no matter the intensity of the threats or danger God’s grace is always with us, getting us through the tough times. It reminds me of something very similar in Scripture that Saint Paul said:
“Wherefore, so that I should not get above myself, I was given a thorn in the flesh, a messenger from Satan to batter me and prevent me from getting above myself. About this, I have three times pleaded with the Lord that it might leave me; but He has answered me, ‘My grace is enough for you: for power is at full strength in weakness.’ It is, then, about my weaknesses that I am happiest of all to boast, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me; and that is why I am glad of weaknesses, insults, constraints, persecutions and distress for Christ’s sake. For it is when I am weak that I am strong.” [2 Corinthians 12:7-10]
Saint Padre Pio, pray for us!
Saint Paul, pray for us!