Monday, June 24, 2013

Pauline Books and Media - Padre Pio: Glimpse into the Miraculous

The Catholic Church has thousands upon thousands of saints in her rich history. Most of them are only known in specific regions, because there are more saints than days on the calendar, i.e., St. Eulalia. (By the way, St. Eulalia has a fascinating story that you should check out here. Thanks to my friends for naming their future daughter after her and introducing me to a saint I didn't know.) Other saints are considered giants of the faith that everybody knows, like St. Peter or St. Paul. Today, I am reviewing a book about one of these spiritual giants - Padre Pio.

Padre Pio: Glimpse into the Miraculous isn't your typical biography of a saint. The author, Fr. Pascal Cataneo, assumes you already know the basics of Padre Pio, such as when and where he was born, educated, lived, died, etc. This book is more of a spiritual biography of Padre Pio, which focuses on his many gifts and charisms. Believe me. There are TONS of accounts of the miraculous deeds that Padre Pio performed, and this book covers over 100 of them. I imagine that would be considered only a drop in the well; there are probably thousands more stories just like the ones in this book.

Fr. Cataneo organizes Padre Pio's gifts/charisms into chapters to make for easier reading. Chapter 2 addresses when he received the stigmata. Chapter 4 recounts dozen of stories where Padre Pio would gaze into people's souls and be able to tell stunning revelations about them and their sins. Chapter 5 talks about his instances of bilocation, especially with regards to the Marchioness Rizzani Boschi, who was a spiritual daughter of Padre Pio's. Chapter 6 contains accounts of the healings people received when people sought the prayers of this great man. I could go on and tell you what every chapter is about, but you get the idea.

There are many parts in this book that I would say amazed me while I was reading. Several stories in the book involve people going to Confession with Padre Pio and him listing every sin they had ever committed. They then received absolution. This was both scary and awesome to me. I couldn't help but wish that I had a chance to visit Padre Pio for the sole purpose of going to Confession with him. I can't imagine how astonishing this must have been to experience, but I bet it felt even more liberating.

Another story that was scary and sad to me was Padre Pio's conversation with Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. In this conversation, Padre Pio told Lefebvre to "Never cause discord among your brothers, and always practice the rule of obedience." Lefebvre said he would follow this advice, but Padre Pio retorted that he would not. He also said he would tear apart the Church and damage the whole Church. Lefebvre ended up doing just this when he formed the Society of St. Pius X and was removed from office by Pope Paul VI.

There are many amazing stories in this book related to the wonders deeds and gifts of Padre Pio. Some you will recognize, and others you will not. Each will leave you astonished, though. In fact, the hair on my arms were standing up for most of my reading of this book. You would be considered blessed if you had just one of Padre Pio's many charisms. He was truly an amazing man who was close to God from an early age, and this 5-star book provided me with more than a glimpse of how saintly he really was. May we all strive to be saintly like him.

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