Today is the feast day of Saint Padre Pio. Among my Catholic friends, devotion to this modern Italian saint is bountiful. Constantly, I hear sweet bon mots from his teachings and little anecdotes about his life and ministry.
Okay, I have thought to myself over the years, He’s a cool, trendy saint. Great beard. Some unusual miraculous stuff. He seems like a very lovely friar! I didn’t think much of him beyond that, but he just kept popping up. Again and again and again. Okay, Pio, I thought to myself. You clearly aren’t letting me off the hook over here.
As I began learning more about him and looking to him in prayer, I found a reality more complicated than, “Pray, hope, and don’t worry.”
The miracles and holiness of Padre Pio’s life exist where mystery meets fear. The levitation, bilocation, and stigmata that he experienced alongside visions of Angels, Jesus, and Mary are not things of myth. This is a man who lived in the last century, whom we can see in video footage. His life exemplifies the places in our faith that defy easy answers and resist the purely rational.
When we consider lives like Padre Pio’s, we are asked to step into the unknown. My curiosity about the miraculous draws me in, but at the same time, I fear encountering what I truly cannot explain or understand with my human mind.
Padre Pio, I have found, was so much more than a charming Italian monk. He was not a “tame lion,” as C.S. Lewis might put it. His life contains the wild, uncontrollable grace of God.
Padre Pio offers a human lens of what is contained in the kerygma and the Sacraments. The true nature of our faith is at this crux of mystery and reality, suffering and transcendence.
Read more about this great Saint today!
Brigid Hogan is a high school English and ESL teacher who lives in northeast DC. She is passionate about Catholic social teaching and tries to live it out daily in her relationships and community. Most of her pleasures are guilty ones like television, burritos, and Twitter. Find out more about her here. She is the author of our Blessed Conversations Mystery: Beloved found here.