One thing I’ve always loved – and admired – about St. Pio of Pietrelcina (a.k.a. Padre Pio) is that he minced no words. We have our lovely gentle souls like St. Therese of Lisieux, but we also have saints like St. Pio for those of us who need the occasional dose of tough love.
Here is a saint who had the gift of reading souls in the confessional… and would not allow women into said confessional unless they were modestly dressed. This is also the saint who refused to go to the movies because, as he put it, the devil was on the screen and he wanted nothing to do with it. While some of these actions and words may shock our 21st-century sensibilities, there is no denying that his words of wisdom are utterly timeless.
While we all know his most famous quote – “Pray, hope, and don’t worry. Anxiety doesn’t help at all. Our merciful Lord will listen to your prayers” – St. Pio espoused a lot of wisdom that is still beneficial for everyone’s souls’, over half a century after this death.
Want to hear some of his best and (sometimes) most gut-punching advice? Read ahead.
When You’re Feeling Rebellious
“Where there is no obedience, there is no virtue. Where there is no virtue, there is no good. Where there is no good, there is no love… there is no God, and where there is no God, there is no paradise.”
When You’re Tempted to Read Smut
“There harm that comes to souls from the lack of reading holy books makes me shudder… What power spiritual reading has to lead a change of course, and to make even worldly people enter into the way of perfection.”
“Don’t spend your energies on things that generate worry, anxiety, and anguish. Only one thing is necessary: lift your spirit and love God.”
When Injustice Makes You Feel Hopeless
“Don’t allow the sad sight of human injustice to sadden your soul; someday you will see the unfailing justice of God triumph over it!”
When You Don’t Go to Confession Frequently
“Confession is the soul’s bath. You must go at least once a week. I do not want souls to stay away from confession more than a week. Even a clean and unoccupied room gathers dust; return after a week and you will see that it needs dusting again!”
When You Feel Guilty Over Temptations
“Remember that it is not the feeling of guilt that constitutes sin but the consent to sin. Only the free will is capable of good or evil. But when there will sighs under the trial of the tempter and does not will what is presented to it, there is not only no fault but there is virtue.”
When You’re Suffering
“The more you are afflicted, the more you ought to rejoice because in the fire of tribulation the soul will become pure gold, worthy to be placed and to shine in the heavenly palace.”
When Your Past Threatens Your Peace of Mind
“Any mental picture of your life that focuses on past sins is a lie and thus comes from the devil. Jesus loves you and has forgiven you your sins, so there is no room, for having a downcast spirit. Whatever persuades you otherwise is truly a waste of time. It is also something that offends the heart of your tender Lover. On the other hand, if the mental picture of your life consists in what you could be, then it comes from God.”
When Life Seems Too Difficult
“Let us always keep before our eyes the fact that here on Earth we are on a battlefield and that in paradise we shall receive the crown of victory, that this is a testing-ground and the prize will be awarded up above; that we are now in the land of exile while our true homeland is Heaven to which we must continually aspire.”
When Things Matter More than God
“He who attaches himself to the earth remains attached to it. It is by violence that we must leave it. It is better to detach oneself a little at a time, rather than all at once. Let us always think of Heaven.”
When You’re Being Uncharitable
“To fail in charity is like wounding God in the pupil of his eye. What is more delicate than the pupil of the eye? To fail in charity is like failing against nature.”
When You Feel Overwhelmed
“Temptation, discouragement, and unrest are the wares offered by the enemy. Remember this: if the devil makes noise it is a sign that he is still outside and not yet within. That which must terrify us is his peace and concord with the human soul.”
When You’re Experiencing Spiritual Dryness
“Jesus is with you even when you don’t feel His presence. He is never so close to you as He is during your spiritual battles. He is always there, close to you, encouraging you to fight your battle courageously. He is there to ward off the enemy’s blows so that you may not be hurt.”
If St. Pio of Pietrelcina were still alive, I’d imagine he’d repeat himself by saying, “Today’s society does not pray; that is why it’s falling apart.” So, let us continue to pray for each other, our society, the Church, etc. After all, prayer (and especially the Rosary) are our best weapons. Just ask St. Pio.
St. Pio of Pietrelcina, pray for us!