Padre Pio da Pietrelcina: The Great Mission.
The years passed in Pietrelcina prepared Francesco to receive with open arms the “great mission” that God had designed for him; accepting the consecrated life among the Capuchin, the novice Brother Pio fully felt the same mission which God the Father had entrusted to Jesus. Padre Pio said “I intimately feel a voice that constantly says to me: Sanctify and be Sanctified”.With the guidance of Our Lord, he worked for his sanctification by praying: “O dear Lord free me above all from myself and do not permit that I am lost, He who with such cure and care has called and torn me from this world”.
He works for the sanctification of others when he prays: “Confirm in Your grace all those that have been entrusted to me” and when in his priestly role he lives to propitiate Our Lord in front of the whole human family.
He assimilates himself to Christ through the works of redemption of mankind. Even though he is closed in a convent his fame reaches souls in all the world, orienting to Christ scientists, artists and politicians. His apostleship and his preaching are his silence full of God and his immolation in the confessional. “His mission was to renew the passion of Our Lord Jesus”
The mission given to him was to renew the passion of Christ, it was made of physical and spiritual sufferance: mystical gifts, crosses, floggings. Year after year, Padre Pio realized deeper and deeper the meaning of that suffering that had marked him from when he was small. The mystical gifts are the uncommon contacts with God, the visions and ecstasies that he lived rendered more intense his interior suffering. These wounds of the soul were more painful than those of his body, he himself said “before the nails in my hands and feet, my soul was already crucified on the cross as a scapegoat” and he carried this cross in order to expiate the sins committed by the people of God, it was made of physical pain, of sickness and the stigmas; it was also made of floggings on his soul with insults and persecutions. The signs of the passion, on the body of the venerated Padre Pio, recalls the suffering and death of Our Lord. They weren’t events that just happened or by a series of circumstances more or less accidental, they were the seal of the entire mission of Christ.
The Way of the Cross, a scandal for the Jews and foolishness for the pagans, it is not a possible way but is indispensable for every spiritual walk. Padre Pio in his long spiritual walk, he showed in an admirable and uncommon way the two foundation grounds of the Story of Salvation: forgiveness, reconciliation and peace restored to our brothers.
His work of salvation is explained like the lines of a cross: according to a vertical dimension, by the works of mystical practices of assimilation to Christ and to seek the Father, lived by accepting the stigmas, seclusion in the convent and the priestly mystery and in a horizontal dimension, in his zeal in working to save others while offering himself as victim for the poor sinners, knowing that the price of salvation and of sanctification would be the cross and sufferance.