Happy Birthday Padre Pio!
Can't you just hear him saying, "You remembered?"
Yes, Padre, we did! Though it is quite a busy day in the Church because your birthday is also the feast of St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi, St. Gregory VII, and the Venerable Bede (who is really St. Bede)! Nonetheless, thanks to two friends reminding us, we here at Miss Marcel's Musings have catapulted you to the top of the post to say, "Happy Birthday!" and we don't even need to add "Ad Multos Annos!" since you are in the heart of eternity as we speak! Or are you . . .?
No, we have no doubt that you are in Heaven, but then we recall your words that you'd stay outside the gates till all your spiritual children get it. What a father you are to us! Thank you! We're asking St. Peter right now to make sure you get a nice piece of cake and some Neapolitan ice cream while you wait for us.
Since there's nothing you need today (except for all of us to join you, and we can't rush that), we've decided, in lieu of giving you gifts, to ask for the miracles we need. Please, dear Padre Pio, attend to the many conversions, healings, reconciliations, and random urgent necessities and heartfelt desires we place at your feet. Jesus whom you have loved so much cannot refuse you any request you make of Him, especially on your birthday . . .
For our part, how about if we offer on this day in your honor a little docility and attention to your fatherly advice? We will thus be a little closer to you and to Heaven, and our earthly pilgrimage will be all the easier, and His yoke all the lighter. I found these words that you wrote in a letter on April 23, 1918. A hundred and five years have not dimmed the brilliance, wisdom, sweetness, and consolation of the Holy Spirit shining and sparkling through your letter, so here it is for our meditation and gratitude:
"Do not anticipate the problems of this life with apprehension, but rather with a perfect hope that God, to whom you belong, will free you from them accordingly. He has defended you up to now. Simply hold on tightly to the hand of His Divine Providence and He will help you in all events, and when you are unable to walk, He will lead you.
"Why should you fear when you belong to this God who strongly assured us: 'We know that in everything God works for good with those who love Him'? Don't think about tomorrow's events, because the same Heavenly Father who takes care of you today will do the same tomorrow and forever.
"Live tranquilly, [removing] from your imagination that which upsets you and often say to our Lord: O God, You are my God and I will trust in You. You will assist me and be my refuge, and I will fear nothing because not only are you with Him, but you are in Him and He is with you. What can a child fear in the arms of its father?"
Oh how good are your words! How true and wise . . . I am reminded of St. Alphonsus' comment that "One single holy maxim, well ruminated, is sufficient to make a saint.” This is more of a passage than a holy maxim, but your very first line, dear Padre, or any single line of your advice could serve for our single maxim, and the rest as a commentary.
We are weak at doing what we would, though, so we ask you, good Padre, to obtain for us the grace to ruminate on your words and allow them to settle into our souls.
"Do not anticipate the problems of this life with apprehension, but rather with a perfect hope that God, to whom you belong, will free you from them accordingly. He has defended you up to now. Simply hold on tightly to the hand of His Divine Providence and He will help you in all events, and when you are unable to walk, He will lead you."
Thank you for thinking of us on your birthday - how like you! And thank you for helping us, as always, think of the goodness and mercy of God, His perfect Fatherhood, and our one simple task: to abandon ourselves into His arms, or if that feels like too much, simply to hold on tightly to His hand.
We love you Padre Pio! Please give Jesus many kisses for us. You will find Him in St. Anthony's arms, and I'm sure St. Anthony will let you hold our dear little Lord today. While you are near your Franciscan brother, please whisper a request that he help us all find what we have lost - physical and spiritual goods that would make life so much more manageable if only we found them pronto!
And we are sending Marcel to give you a good tickle because we know you have a lot of laughter just waiting to explode out from your mouth in that beatific smile! We will praise God with you today, and thank Him for creating you and giving you to us as another father. Thank You, Jesus, for Your miracle worker, Padre Pio!
Draw me, we will run . . .
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