Happy Feast of St. Padre Pio, and happy birthday to my 21 year old son Dominic Joseph Anthony Edmund! We were thinking of putting "Pio" in there too, but we figured he already had Pio as a patron thanks to their shared day of grace, and our dear boy's name was sounding quite long and Italian already , . . .
But as you can see in the picture above, the Padre is looking pretty ho-hum about his spiritual son's milestone today. Thankfully Padre Alessio Parente, Pio's faithful friend and assistant, is smiling for them both. Come to think of it, with that absent minded, far away look on his face, I wonder if Padre Pio is even there! Maybe he's bilocating, like he did for St. Therese's canonization Mass in Rome in 1925. . . or maybe he's waiting patiently for his congratulations from us?
Congrats, dear Padre, for making it to Heaven ahead of us!
Aha! That's it!
He said he wouldn't go into Heaven until all his spiritual children had made it there too, and he's been waiting 55 years so far without even a cell phone to entertain him! I'm sure Padre Alessio is good company (and what a sweetheart to wait with Padre for us!), but maybe we should get Marcel to help us rouse our Padre so he'll be ready to greet Therese as she kisses his dear old cheek on her way past on his feast. She's zipping by as she flies from heaven to earth, and then from earth to heaven again in preparation for her own feast in 9 days. Our little sister is s a bit like St. Nicholas in his Santa Claus guise, except that she works 24/7 for 365 days a year delivering roses of all sorts, rather than just on Christmas and when young women are in need of dowries. In fact, no doubt she's recruited good St. Nick to help her with all her feast day orders - miracles, roses, miracles, roses . . . I can see them now sorting through the ever increasing pile of incoming prayers!
Speaking of which, let's say our novena prayer to Padre Pio and finish up the last 9 days (give or take a day) so we too can do a quick turn about and start on the last leg of our triple novena, our novena to St. Therese, the Little Flower.
Guardian angels, thanks for praying with and for us:
O Blessed Padre Pio,
holy bearer of the wounds of Christ,
accept us this day as your spiritual sons and daughters
and keep us always on the little way by your intercession.
And do thou, O our Spiritual Father,
relieve our suffering and the suffering of those we love, and then
stay there at the Gates of Heaven, as you promised,
until all of your spiritual children have entered through,
even and including us and all those we love.
Through Christ our Lord, Amen.
If you're the type that likes to fill out the paperwork and make things official, I found a wonderful site HERE with instructions on how to become a registered spiritual child of Padre Pio. I will warn you, though, that when I tried it years ago, my form was sent back to me and arrived on St. John Paul II's feast! I had enclosed a five dollar bill as a small donation and it came back too, so I had enough for an ice cream cone to celebrate JPII with his friend and helper Padre Pio - which I guess they both thought I needed more than an official entry of my name in the register at San Giovanni Rotondo. Boy, I'll be ticked if I get to the pearly gates and Padre Pio starts laughing and says I can't come in under his patronage since I'm not fully registered!
Which reminds me of our little brother Marcel. He's mischievous as all get out on a big feast like today, and while we were praying, he snuck up on Padre Pio for a quick tickle (this time we hadn't warned the Padre so he couldn't hide behind Don Dolindo HERE at Maura's substack page - where we're hoping we'll soon find the story of Don Dolindo and Padre Pio's first meeting, which I'll also link HERE when it's posted). As you can see below, I think Marcel woke up the Padre!
I love it! Here he is now with Joseph Martin from the U.S.A. (who became Fr. Joseph Martin at the friary after Padre Pio went to Heaven), and he's pretending to be deep in prayer for Marcel and us! Or wait - I think he's hiding his eyes, because listen to the game Marcel has cooked up for the feast. He predicted he would way back in May of 1946, and what's excellent is that he blames Therese for his tomfoolery! Listen:
Marcel (to Jesus): In fact, my sister Therese teases me a lot; later, in Heaven, I will do the same to her. Little Jesus, we will play at 'hide and seek.' We will make little Therese close her eyes while we will go to hide. I will ask Mary to hide me somewhere under her cloak, and then we will ask our Mother to shout 'ready' instead of us, so that my sister Therese does not know where we are hidden. I am sure that she will go to look for me in the midst of the Holy Innocents and that she will continue to wander among them until we are ready to show ourselves to her. So I will have the chance to make fun of her. (Conversations, 369)
But wait! Therese, the little imp, was eavesdropping on this Conversation between Marcel and Jesus when it first occurred, and listen to her response:
Therese (laughing): So, little brother, you intend to go and hide? Alas, Marcel, it is too childish. Did you not know I was here, to dare to plot in this way with little Jesus? It so happens that I already know your hiding place, both of you and if, later, you put your plan into execution, I will already be familiar with everything. My dear little brother, you are very foolish, but all the better for you, since it is solely thanks to this that I was forced to speak to you. Still that plot is already out in the open. That's enough. Or rather, to please you, I will pretend to have forgotten. Dear little brother, I see that you keep laughing; are you pleased with this solution? It's interesting is it not? Never be sad, little brother, I love you a great deal, always. I want to laugh all the time in thinking of what you have got up to with little Jesus . . . Ah! The time is up, little brother, go and eat. I am giving you a kiss and I am adding to it a nice smile . . .
* * *
What a lot of laughter the saints bring us even while we're still on earth. Clearly in Heaven they're having a rollicking good time! Let's do our poor best to join them in joy today for our Padre's feast. Perhaps we should take pity on Padre Pio and tell him where Marcel is hiding so he can sit down again and have a good laugh rather than kneeling and pretending to hide his eyes! I'm sending my guardian angel to him now, as he often bid his spiritual children to do.
If you want to read a lovely piece about what Padre Pio thought about St. Therese while he was still on earth himself, I found this sweet tribute to both of them at "Mary's Blog" - I don't know what the rest of the site is like, but Mary did a wonderful job telling about the Little Flower and the dear son of St. Francis, our Padre whose love for us mirrors Jesus for him (and us too, delightfully).
And now, let's do that about face, grab Marcel's hand in one of ours and Pio's in the other (they both are fast friends and all's forgiven now that Padre has found Marcel under Mary's mantle) and run toward our little sister's big day!
For the short form of our Therese novena, we pray:
Little Flower, in this hour, show your power!
And for those with a nano-second more time, here's my favorite slightly longer prayer:
O Little Therese of the Child Jesus
Please pick for me a rose from the heavenly garden
and send it to me as a message of love.
O Little Flower of Jesus,
please ask God to grant the favors
I now place with confidence in your hands . . .
St. Therese, help me to always believe as you did,
in God’s great love for me,
so that I may imitate your “Little Way” each day.
Be sure to have a happy feast, and when all else fails, remember our Padre's advice:
“Pray, hope, and don't worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.”
Draw me, we will run!
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