Saint Padre Pio: Perfect Victim

Perfect Victim
Suffering before being born:
Padre Pio: “I started suffering since I was in my mother’s womb.”[1]
Elected since birth:
“The Lord from my birth showed me signs of a very special predilection.”[2]
 Future Padre Pio’s crib
Padre Pio remembered everything since the crib:
“When talking about his infancy Padre Pio said that he remembered everything about it, including when he still was in the crib.”[3]
Companionship of his Guardian Angel since the crib:
“The Guardian Angel has been my companion since my infancy.” [4]
Scared by devils since the crib:
“When I was in the crib, and my mom extinguished the lamp I saw those horrible monsters and screamed terrified.”[5]
At age three started reciting prayers:
Around age three recited rosary and other prayers by himself.[6]
Offered himself to God at age five:
At the age of five Francesco had the thought and feeling to consecrate himself forever to God.[7]
  The Sacred Heart puts his hand on Francesco’s head
The Sacred Heart accepted his offer:
“Jesus from the tabernacle made a sign with the hand to come to the altar, and put his hand on Francesco’s head.”[8]
 Winning
At 15 in a vision Jesus shows Francesco that his life will be used to snatch souls from the devil:
Padre Pio: “I was suddenly taken by a majestic man of rare beauty, bright as the sun, on a very large field, were on one side there were people dressed in white, spotless as snow, and on the other side there was a multitude with horrible faces, dressed in black. The majestic man said: “You will have to fight as a valiant warrior. I will be close to you. As a reward for the victory you will receive a splendid crown.” At That point a horrid gigantic formidable man challenged me to a fight. With the help of the majestic man I fought, overcame him, and defeated him, compelling him to run away.”[9]
Five days later Francesco, still shocked, receives another vision:
“The night before entering the novitiate I had another vision. I saw Jesus and His Mother who, in all their majesty encouraged me, and assured me of their predilection.”[10]
At 23, on August 10, 1910, at the moment of his ordination to priesthood, Padre Pio renewed the offer of his life, this time as a PERFECT VICTIM. (The perfection of the victim was achieved by the priestly powers of Mass and confession.)
Souvenir of my first Mass:“Jesus, my sigh and my life, today that with trepidation I raise You in a mystery of love may I be for the world Way, Truth and Life, and for You holy priest a PERFECT VICTIM.” P. Pio, Capp.”[11]
On September 7, 1910, twenty eight days after the offer of PERFECT VICTIM, Padre Pio received the seal of acceptance:
Under obedience to Padre Agostino: “Yes, I received the stigmata. I was aghast. They were visible, especially in one hand, and prayed the Lord to remove this visible sign, and they disappeared. But the sharp pain did not go away.”[12]
Since Padre Pio, as a Capuchin friar, was bound by the vow of obedience, he couldn’t make any offer without the approval of his superior; in this case his spiritual director. So, he wrote to him making the request.
November 29, 1910 to Padre Benedetto: “On other occasions I offered myself to the Lord as a victim for poor sinners and souls in Purgatory. This has grown continuously in my heart, and now it has become a powerful passion. Now I wish to make this offering with you authorization.”[13]
Padre Benedetto’s answer on December 1, 1910: “Make the offering.”[14]
In the period between the invisible wounds in 1910, and the permanent wounds in 1918, Padre Pio was subject to mysterious illnesses, physical pains, heavenly visions, spiritual aridity, bodily fights with the devils, scruples about supposed wrongdoing in his earlier life, and a terrifying obscurity that the experts call “Dark night of the spirit”. The sweetest consolations were combined with the most atrocious suffering. All that contributed to a painful and extraordinary purification of Padre Pio’s soul.[15] [16]
We have and extraordinary insight in this transformation through Padre Pio’s letters, and a manuscript written by himself: “Breve trattato della notte oscura dell’anima” (Brief treaty on the dark night of the soul). [17]
Padre Pio wrote down about the spiritual aridity on the back of sixteen used envelopes. It was more taking notes of what was going on, rather than wanting to teach something. Saint John of the Cross went through the same experience, and first he called it “The dark night of the soul”.[18]
  
Here is a sequence of statements by Padre Pio:
February 24, 1911: “The spiritual afflictions proceed at the same pace of the physical ailments.”
March 19, 1911: “The devil continues to wage war, and doesn’t show signs of giving in.”[19]
 Devil
March 29, 1911: “These days the devil gets up to all kind of tricks. I get terrible headaches to the point that I almost can’t see where I put the pen.”[20]
March 21, 1912 to Padre Agostino: “From Thursday evening to Saturday, and also on Mondays, it is like my heart, hands, and feet are painfully pierced by a sword.”[21]
  Fused hearts
April 18, 1912 to Padre Agostino: “There are things that cannot be translated in a human language without losing their profound and celestial meaning. This morning, during the thanksgiving after Mass, the heart of Jesus and mine were fused. There were no more two hearts beating, but only one. My heart had disappeared like a drop of water lost in a sea.”[22]
   
August 26, 1912 to Padre Agostino: “Oh! What a beautiful thing to become a victim of love.”[23]
November 5, 1912 to Padre Agostino: “Jesus made me understand the meaning of being a victim. Jesus wants that I suffer without any support.”[24]
November 18, 1912: “Jesus, Mary, and the guardian Angel keep encouraging me and repeating to me thatthe victim to be as such needs to shed all of its blood.[25]
On February 13, 1913 Jesus told Padre Pio: “I will make you suffer, but I will also give the strength. “My son, you would have abandoned me, if I hadn’t crucified you.” “Under the Cross one learns to love, and I give it only to the souls dearest to me.” [26]
March 12, 1913 to Padre Agostino: “Jesus told me: I need victims to placate my Father’s rage; renew to me the sacrifice of all yourself, and do it without any reservation.”[27]
 
June 1913 to Padre Benedetto: “The Lord shows me, like in a mirror, my life ahead: nothing else than martyrdom.”[28]
Letter  April 25, 1914: ‘Rom.9:3  “For I could wish that I myself were accursed and separated from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kin according to the flesh.” “O Lord, remove me from the book of life, as long as you save my brothers.”’[29]
June 21, 1914: “I am tired of living, and my soul ardently longs for death.”[30]
September 4, 1915 to Padre Agostino: “I feel like all my bones are disjointed, crushed, and mangled.”[31]
March 23, 1916 to Padre Agostino: “Darkness is followed by more darkness. It has become pitch dark for me. When will the sun rise for me?”[32]
 
March 23, 1916 to Padre Agostino: “I am tired of living. I abhor this world as much as Jesus abhors the sin.”[33]
May 30, 1918 to Padre Benedetto: “I renewed the offer of all myself. After that I felt like falling in this hard prison, and heard the crash of the door closing behind me, and felt those tight shackles, and it was like I was losing my life. From then on I feel like in hell.”[34]
 
On August 5-7, 1918, continuing his ascend towards the transforming union with God, Padre Pio received an extraordinary “stroke of love”: the Transverberation.
“The evening of the fifth a celestial person, holding a very long sharp pointed steel blade which seemed to emit fire, hurled it into my soul with all is might. All done in a split of a second everything in my inside was lashed by fire and steel. I felt I was dying. The agony continued without ceasing until the morning of August 7. From that moment on I feel an open wound which causes me to suffer continual pain.”[35]
On September 20, 1918, between 9 and 10 in the morning, Padre Pio received the supreme seal of the PERFECT VICTIM, and joined permanently the Passion of Christ on the Cross: The Stigmata Wounds.
“I was in the choir after Mass. Suddenly I was wrapped in a sea of blazing light. In that light I saw a mysterious individual, similar to the one I had seen the evening of August 5. He had hands, feet and side dripping blood. From his wounds came rays of very bright white light that penetrated my hands, my feet, and my side. They were like blades of fire that penetrated my skin piercing, cutting, and breaking. I felt that I would die. The pain was immense. The wounds were bleeding, especially the one on the side of the heart. I had barely the strength to drag me to my cell to clean my clothes all soaked in blood. Oh my God, how much confusion and humiliation I feel in having to show what You have done in this poor creature of yours!” [36]
 
Padre Cherubino: “Padre Pio’s life is one of enduring suffering.”[37]
Padre Lodovico: “He tries to conceal his suffering with special industry and ingenuity.”[38]
Dr. Pavone: “The wounds that Padre Pio had never changed. They remained constant. This is not explainable medically. Besides the stigmata, he had the crowning with thorns and the transverberation. He tried very hard to hide everything.”[39]
There are three white linens dotted with blood, saved in the friary. They are accompanied by a written testimony by Padre Onorato. On May 6, 1965 he used the lined to wipe Padre Pio sweating forehead. The sweat was bloody. Padre Pio was sweating blood.[40]
Padre Joseph Pius, Bill Martin before becoming a Capuchin friar, about the article of Barbara Hildebrand in the Journal of the American Medical Association that Padre Pio’s stigmata were the result of hysteria: “I saw him in the last three years of his life. It was the worst period of his life. The suffering was nothing less than horrible. He was always calm, not only with open bleeding wounds, but also with the scourging, the carrying of the cross, and the crowning with thorns, the entire Passion. So if at any time he would have been emotional or hysterical, it would have been during this time. It never occurred.”[41]
       Padre Pio’s undershirts stained with blood in the scourging of the Passion.
Padre Pio:
“Suffering is pleasant.”[42] “My sufferings are pleasing.”[43] “I suffer only when I don’t suffer.”[44]“Suffering is my daily bread, my delight.”[45] “I suffer greatly for not being able to win all my brothers to God.” [46]  [47]
      Padre Pio celebrating Mass at the altar of St. Francis.
Padre Gianluigi “Pasquale: Padre Pio spent his life in the two specific expressions of the priestly ministry: the Eucharistic celebration, and the sacramental confession.”[48]
McGregor: “In Padre Pio’s priesthood we find characteristics of permanent value, in an age undergoing transformation.”[49]
Padre Vincenzo Frezza: “If Padre Pio had not been a priest he could not have fulfilled his mission to co-redeem. God did not only want a new victim, but he wanted this victim to be a priest.[50]  “It is the state of priest-victim that makes Padre Pio unique in the Church up to now.”[51]
Maria Winowska: “Padre Pio was above all a priest and the grace lavished in him was essentially priestly.”[52]
Padre Gerardo Di Flumeri: “Hadn’t Padre Pio been a priest, he would never have become a victim.”[53]
   Men waiting to confess to Padre Pio. Some days Padre Pio confessed for nineteen hours.
Padre Marcellino: “By his example Padre Pio invited every priest to place on high Eucharist, Confession, and obedience to the Church.”[54]
Cardinal Corrado Ursi: Padre Pio was “a complete sacrifice”, the humble and great Cyrenean of Christ”. “He lived crucified, just like Christ”. “Whoever wishes to find him can do so along the way of the cross.”[55]
 People surrounding the altar were Padre Pio is celebrating at 5:00 AM.
Padre Pio to the newly ordained Padre Tarcisio da Cervinara: “My dear, you are the victim. A whish that reveals, understandably with strong words, how hard is the reality that waits a new priest, in implementing his own apostolate.”[56]
To the newly ordained Padre Alberto d’Apolito: “Love and give yourself to the souls. God demands everybody’s heart, especially the one of his ministers.”[57]
To the newly ordained don Domenico Labellarte: “My son, priesthood is so terrible, and the mission is so sublime that, if I had known it before, I would have run away in Thebaid, and become hermit.”[58]
Mario Sanvico asked: “What mission have you come for?” Padre Pio: ‘I have come for the priests.”[59]
John Paul II: “May his example encourage priests to carry out their ministry with joy and diligence.”[60]
Padre Alberto D’Apolito asked Padre Pio: “If you were reborn, would you become a Capuchin and a priest again?”  Padre Pio: “Yes, I would become a Capuchin again, but not a priest. How unworthy I am to represent Jesus on heart! How unworthy I am to be Christ on the altar! Every morning I suffer and tremble intensely at the thought that I must sacrifice and crucify Jesus, to offer Him victim to Our Heavenly Father! If, as a student, I had the knowledge that I have now, I would not have been ordained a priest. My only comfort is that of being associated with Jesus in the Divine Sacrifice and in the redemption of souls.”[61]
        

Bibliography

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Cross, S. J. (2003). Dark night of the soul. Dover Thrift Editions. Cro03
Flumeri Gerardo, O. C. (1983). The mistery of the Cross in Padre Pio of Pietrelcina. San Giovanni Rotondo: Edizioni Padre Pio. Flu83
Frezza P. Vincenzo, O. C. (1978). Priesthood and Eucharist in Padre Pio. Acts of the first congress of studies on Padre Pio’s spirituality. San Giovanni Rotondo: Edizioni Padre Pio. Fre78
Gianluigi, Pasquale (2010). Padre Pio modello di vita sacerdotale.Cinisello Balsamo: San Paolo. Pas10
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Leone, G. (1976). Padre Pio, infanzia e prima giovinezza. San Giovanni Rotondo: Edizioni Padre Pio. Leo76
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Pietrelcina, P. P. (2011). Epistolario II, corrispondenza con la nobildonna Raffaelina Cerase (1914-5). San Giovanni Rotondo: Edizioni Padre Pio. Epist. II
Pietrelcina, P. P. (2012). Epistolario III, corrispondenza con le figlie spirituali (1915-1923). San Giovanni Rotondo: Edizioni Padre Pio. Epist. III
Pietrelcina, P. P. (2012). Epistolario IV, corrispondenza con diverse categorie di persone. San Giovanni Rotondo: Edizioni Padre Pio. Epist. IV
Rega, F. M. (2005). Padre Pio and America. Rockford: TAN books. Reg05
Riese, Fernando da (2010). Padre Pio da Pietrelcina crocifisso senza croce. San Giovanni Roronto: Edizioni Padre Pio. Fer10
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Winowska, M. (1988). Il vero volto di Padre Pio. Milano: Edizioni San Paolo. Win88

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