Saint Pius of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio), Priest (Memorial)

 

To anyone who has, more will be given. 

 

St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina (1887–1968), whose feast day is today, is one of the Church’s best-known saints.   This Italian priest is revered as a compassionate confessor and miracle worker who also bore the stigmata—the marks of Christ’s wounds.   Through stories about him and his words of wisdom, Padre Pio touched millions of lives, even though he rarely left his monastery.   But what was behind it all?   In a word:   generosity.

Padre Pio’s life is a perfect example of what Jesus is talking about in today’s Gospel (Luke 8:18).   He was someone who “had” and was clearly given “more.”   What he had to begin with was trust in God’s love, and he was given more because of his willingness to share that love with everyone he could.   For Padre Pio, that meant spending long hours each day praying and hearing confessions.   In his fifty-one years of ministry, he never took a vacation; he just kept pouring himself out for people.    As for the “more,” God rewarded Pio’s generosity by pouring out even more gifts on the humble friar.

When we read about Padre Pio, however, we might think, “I could never be like him!”   But that’s okay;   you’re not supposed to be exactly like him. Padre Pio—and the wide assortment of the Church’s saints—teaches us that God will use anyone who responds generously to him.   When we take the gifts God gives us and share them, God gives us more.   The shape that “more” takes will be different for everyone.   Padre Pio’s life didn’t look like St. Francis Xavier’s.   And Francis Xavier’s life didn’t look like Mother Teresa’s.   And her life didn’t look like the young mother of four who brings her kids to daily Mass or the retired man who spends his days teaching English to immigrants.

The key is generosity.   If you’re willing to share what God has given you, he will give you more and bless more people through you.   Just think of Padre Pio, who spent his life in an ordinary monastery.   Even in your ordinary world, God will present you with opportunities to give to other people.   And when you respond in faith, you’ll find that those opportunities keep growing.

“Jesus, you have given me so much!   Whatever you ask me to do today, I’ll do!”

Ezra 1:1-6
Psalm 126:1-6

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