Mission statement: To enhance the awareness of the Blessed Holy Trinity through evangelization and to deepen our union with our Triune God.

 
 
"For the entire law is fulfulled in keeping this one command: Love your neighbor as youself." Galatians 5:14

  

 

St Padre Pio, the mystic monk with wounds of Christ

By Fr Paul Melwyn D’Souza

A Catholic priest died on September 23, 1968, at the age of eighty-one. When he died in his monastery in southern Italy, large numbers of people from every corner of the world came to the Church of Our Lady of Grace to pay him tribute and to request him to pray for them. In fifty-two years, this priest had never left his monastery but had touched millions of people. He had never travelled far from the region of his birth. The farthest that he went to in his lifetime was to Rome, in May 1917. Prior to dying, he sighed aloud at his last breath, “Gesu, Maria, Gesu, Maria”. He was a mystic, a miracle worker or just a curiosity to some, but to the masses, he was a pious and holy priest who could help them to experience God’s mercy and forgiveness and brought about a spiritual and moral transformation in them.

Who is this priest?

Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina. He is one of the greatest saints of all time in the Catholic Church and a remarkable Capuchin. A worthy follower of St Francis of Assisi, Padre Pio was born on May 25, 1887, at Pietrelcina , in southern Italy, the son of Grazio Forgione and Maria Giuseppe De Nunzio.

Baptized the day after his birth, he was christened Francesco, a presage of his Franciscan vocation, which was to be initiated on the occasion of a visit from a Capuchin monk begging food for the convent. In 1903, he entered the novitiate, an initial stage of Capuchin formation at the age of 16.Above the door of the cloister, as a welcome, he read the sign: “Do penance or perish”. After he was ordained a priest on 10 August 1910 at Benevento, he stayed at home with his family until 1916 due to health reasons. In September of that year, he was sent to the friary of San Giovanni Rotondo and remained there until his death in 1968.

Padre Pio bore wounds of Christ for 50 years

In the history of the Catholic Church, there were saints who have been known for healing; there were saints who could read souls; there were saints who were known for levitation; there were saints who bore the stigmata, or were seen in apparition, or who had the odor of sanctity; there were saints who could understand languages they did not know and there were saints who had the gift of bilocation that is physically to be in two places at the same time. Padre Pio had a fine combination of all these extraordinary gifts and charismas.


He was the first priest to bear the stigmata – the holy wounds of Christ – just like St Francis of Assisi, who was a deacon and was also the first person to bear the wounds of Christ’s passion. While St. Francis of Assisi bore the wounds of Christ just for two years, Padre Pio would bear the wounds for fifty years and they mysteriously vanished a few minutes after his death. Like the Apostle Paul, Padre Pio placed at the center of his life and apostolic work the Cross of Jesus as his strength, his wisdom and his glory. Being inflamed by love for Jesus Christ, he became like Him in the sacrifice of himself for the salvation of the world. In his following and imitation of the Crucified Christ, he was so generous and perfect that he could have said: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me”. (Gal 2:20). He accepted the wounds of Christ as a gift from God and preferred to suffer the pains of Christ’s passion without the world knowing.

Man of prayer and suffering

Being filled with the love of God and neighbour, Padre Pio’s entire life was marked by the sacramental reconciliation of penitents and the celebration of the Eucharist. The pinnacle of his apostolic activity was the celebration of Holy Mass. The faithful who took part in these Masses witnessed the depth and fullness of his spirituality. In 1971, Pope Paul VI, speaking to the Superiors of the Capuchin order, said of Padre Pio, “what fame he had. How many followers from the world. Why? Was it because he was a philosopher, a scholar, or because he had means at his disposal? No, it was because he said Mass humbly, heard confessions from morning until night and was a marked representative of the stigmata of our Lord. He was truly a man of prayer and suffering.” No doubt, Padre Pio will be remembered in history as “a great apostle of the confessional”. Similar to St. John Mary Vianney, he spent over twelve hours a day in the confessional box, to hear confessions.

Rules of spiritual growth

He sincerely thought of himself as useless, unworthy of God’s gifts, full of weakness and infirmity, and at the same time blessed with divine favours. Amidst so much admiration all around him, he would say: “I only want to be a poor friar who prays.” He followed five rules of spiritual growth: weekly confession, daily communion, spiritual reading, meditation and examination of conscience. In explaining his spiritual growth rules, Padre Pio compared a dusting room, used or unused on a weekly basis, to weekly confession. Confession was for him a kind of ‘soul’s bath’. His motto, “pray, hope and don’t worry” is the synopsis of his application of theology into daily life. A Christian should recognize God in everything and offer everything to Him saying “Thy will be done”. In addition, all should aspire to heaven and put their trust in Him and not worry about what one is doing, so long as it is done with a desire to please God. On the social charity level, he committed himself to relieving the pain and suffering of many families, chiefly through the foundation of the ‘House for the Relief of Suffering’. He was canonized as a saint in 2002 by Pope John Paul II and remains one of the most popular saints. His feast is celebrated on the 23rd of September.

Devotion

Around the world, hundreds of thousands of people invoke the name of the Padre Pio, patron saint of prayer, hope and the easing of worries. The shrine of Padre Pio at St Anne’s Friary, Bejai in Mangaluru attracts hundreds of devotees. Each Wednesday, there is a devotion and novena to Padre Pio, which is a powerful and moving way to come closer to Jesus Christ. Padre Pio, pray for us.

 

 
If you never felt pain, then how would you know that I am a Healer? 
 
If you never had to pray, How would you know that I am a Deliverer? 
 

If you never had a trial, how could you call yourself an overcomer? 

 

If you never felt sadness, How would you know that I am a Comforter? 

 

If you never made a mistake, How would you know that I am a forgiver? 

 
If you knew all, How would you know that I will answer your questions? 
 

If you never were in trouble, How would you know that I will come to your rescue 

 

If you never were broken, Then how would you know that I can make you whole? 
 

If you never had a problem,How would you know that I can solve them? 

 

If you never had any suffering, Then how would you know what I went through? 

 

If you never went through the fire, Then how would you become pure? 


If I gave you all things, How would you appreciate them? 

 

If I never corrected you, How would you know that I love you? 

 

If you had all power, Then how would you learn to depend on me?

 

If your life was perfect, Then what would you need me for? 

 
Love, 
Jesus 
 

Please forward this mail of Jesus to as many friends as you can. GOD is Great! 

God our Father, walk through my house and take away all my worries and illnesses and please watch over and heal my family in Jesus name, Amen. 
 
 

THE GOD WHO CHANGES HIS MIND
Fr Joby Kachappilly VC
Director Divine Retreat Ashram, Faridabad

Charitable deeds and proclamations of the Word are powerful enough to
change the mind of God.
In spite of constant prayers and sacrifices if prayer doesn't bear fruit, we tend to feel
disappointed. One may even feel displeasure towards God when prayers are not
answered at all. Some may stop praying altogether and lose faith in God. The distorted
image one has about God as well as the shallowness of one's God experience are the
reasons for this unfortunate situation. In the Bible we see our God as a God who
changes His mind on seeing the tearful prayers of the people and blesses them. The
best example for this is the life of King Hezekiah. To Hezekiah who became sick and
was at the point of death, the prophet Isaiah said, “Thus says the Lord: set your house
in order, for you shall die; you shall not recover.” (2Kings 20:1). But Hezekiah was not
disappointed though the message was from a famous prophet of God. He encountered
that agony with intense prayer. Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the
Lord. “Remember now, O Lord, I implore you, how I have walked before you in
faithfulness with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.” Then
Hezekiah wept bitterly. (2 Kings 20:3). That prayer of Hezekiah really trapped God.
'Remember Lord the good I have done in your sight.' This prayer prompted God to
change his mind. Immediately God spoke to Hezekiah through Isaiah, “I have heard
your prayer, I have seen your tears; indeed I will heal you, I will add fifteen years to
your life.” (2 Kings 20:5). Besides increasing the number of years of his life God healed
him completely and blessed him too. The good deeds that we do in our lives are
counted as a deposit of blessings in God's bank.

ON THE PATH OF CHARITY:

This gives us a clear message that good deeds that we do will cause signs and miracles
in our lives. Charitable deeds and proclamations of the Word are powerful enough to
change the mind of God. On using our health, wealth and influence for the benefit of
the poor, God will be willing to change his mind before your prayer. The painful
moments that are spent for doing good in the name of God will surely bring forth
showers of blessings from heaven. God will save such people and their families. This is very obvious in Jesus' utterances with regard to the last judgment. “Come you that are
blessed by my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you, from the foundation of the
world, for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me
something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave
me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.”
(Mat 25:34-36). What is required is taking a decision to purify our lives by doing good
to others.

TEARS AND PATIENT WAITING:

God surrenders himself before the tears of his children. The answer God gives to the
prayer of Hezekiah is noteworthy. "I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears.”
(2 Kings 20:5). God appears to Hagar who runs away weeping to the desert unable to
bear the persecution of Sara, Abraham's wife. 'The Lord has given heed to your
affliction." (Gen 16:11). Bear in mind that the affliction and tears in our lives are
mediums for a God experience. The realization that God is touched by the tearful
prayers of man will help us share our sorrows with God. After his resurrection, jesus
appears to Mary Magdalene who was weeping. He asked, “Woman, why are you
crying?” (John : 20). Jesus not only wipes the tears of the one who cries, but he cries
with them too. The Gospel records that Jesus wept with the family members who were
weeping in distress over the death of Lazar. (Jn 11:34). God is not moved by the tears
of despair and guilt ; he is willing to change his mind before prayers of hope as well as
tears that are shed in faith. If King Hezekiah cried facing the wall, today we have to cry
facing the altar. During each sacrifice at the altar God comes down. 'So you have pain
now'. (Jn 16:22). Remember, it takes some time for the tears to reach God. St. Monica
who waited tearfully for the conversion of her son St. Augustine, stands as a great
example.

IN ORDER TO ATTAIN GOD'S PROMISE :

The Bible clearly records that God fulfilled his promise to heal King Hezekiah and
increase his life. God even goes to the extent of changing His own decisions for man.
This change of mind depends on the depth of the father-son relationship. In order to
receive the promise of God, one needs to establish an intimate relationship with God.
Spend time with the Father during the precious moments of prayer. This requires a sort
of spiritual growth akin to the new born who is sustained by drinking the milk of the
mother as well as experiencing her warmth. The book of Samuel describes a beautiful
scene in which the childless Hanna pours out all her afflictions before the Lord. To Eli
the priest she said, “I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. Do not regard
your servant as a worthless woman, for I have been speaking out of my anxiety and vexation all this time.” (1 Sam 1:15-16). Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, the God of
Israel grant the petition you have made to him.” God gave her a great gift- an anointed
son, Samuel.
Whatever we ask with purity and faithfulness God will surely grant. This is made clear
through the parable of the widow and the judge. Jesus said, “If the unjust judge has
granted the widow justice just because she troubled him continuously, will not God
grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in
helping them?” (Lk. 18:1-8). Let us lead our lives with prayers and sacrifices in such a
way that God will change his mind before our prayers and fulfill his promises.
KEEP IN MIND:
Many are haunted by guilt feelings and memories of their past sins. One is troubled
over these things because one does not know the real attitude of God . God hates sin
but loves the sinner. God never keeps a record of sins once it is frankly revealed at the
confessional. "I will not remember your sins." (Isaiah 43:26). However grave the sin
may be, God has a kind heart to save and help such a person. God who decided to
destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah where people indulged in unchaste and
unnatural relationships, later changed His mind when Abraham implored to God to
show mercy towards them and spare them. God said that he would show mercy
towards them if there were enough good people as promised by Abraham. (Gen 18:16-
23). What was the factor that prompted God to change His mind before the request of
Abraham? The answer to this is given in the Scriptures itself. "Abraham continued to
stand before God." (Gen 18:22). God will change his mind for the people who live in his
presence and fulfill his will. He will turn situations and persons in their favour.
Another example of this is the story in which Jesus saves a family from humiliation
during the wedding at Cana when the wine was over. When Mary asked him to perform
a miracle there, the reply he gave was noteworthy, "My time has not yet come." (Jn
2:4). But Jesus changes his mind before the request and purity of Mary in order to save
a family from humiliation. He disregards the time factor and performs the miracle. God
the Father has a tender and merciful heart. Standing before that loving expression, ask
anything that is required without fear and with an open heart. All that God feels is good
for us will be granted to us ignoring our sins and weaknesses. If you change your mind
for God, God too will change His mind for you.THIS IS WHAT U CAN DO:
1. Instead of leading a life nurturing the guilt feeling about your past sins, do charitable
deeds to the best of your abilities.
2. Evangelize in any way you can.
3. Live in the presence of the Lord.
4. Surrender to God the persons and situations you dislike.
5. Remember, the prayers that you deposit in the bank of the heavenly Father will
never go waste. Wait for the day God returns everything with interest. Then all that you
considered as curses will turn out to be blessings.
Are you leading a life of holiness that will change God's mind ?

 

 

 

 



 

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