EMBER DAY-ST PIUS OF PIETRELCINA (padre Pio)
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”-Acts 1:8
When I read this I remember the South Pole
On Sunday, it was my chance to make a phone patch to my parents everything worked great but then I found out they changed their number. What! Here I was in Antarctica working my ass off; freezing my ass off and my alcoholic Father changed the phone number and too make matters worse I knew nothing of what was going on with my parents because they hadn’t written me in the two years I had been in the Navy. I thought, “That’s it, I am an orphan.”
After my failed phone patch, I went to Mass. The Catholic Priest from McMurdo took a flight up to bring us Holy Communion. We had not been able to receive Communion since we left. I felt good after receiving Our Lord. I thought that even though I had no communication with my physical Father I did have communication with my eternal Father. Afterwards I showed the Priest around the site, before he left he said that he had a letter from the Bishop which gave me permission (Back then only Priests could give communion) to secure and give Holy Communion to the Catholic Boys there at the South Pole. I didn’t feel worthy; come on this is Richard you know; but the Priest convinced me that it was the only way and I did want to bring “Our Lord” to my fellow brothers in Christ.
I thought about my experiences in Barbados, West Indies where I had a friendly relationship with a Jesuit Priest on the Island. I was stationed in Barbados after “A-School;” just prior to my assignment with MCB 71. It was luck or maybe providence that I got my first assignment to Barbados, West Indies. At the end of “A School”, I ended up having the highest grade average-probably due to I studied and drank less than the others drank. The Chief had six orders for Vietnam and one set of orders for Barbados. I was given the orders to Barbados.
It was while I was in Barbados that I was examining my Catholic Faith and was considering a faith change because I was also involved with a non-Catholic Pentecostal religious group and because my Father had not practiced the Catholic Faith. I was at a point where I had to decide to be a Catholic or not. I was praying about it and one night I had a horrid dream where a horribly disfigured face appeared in white on a dark background. I woke up in a sweat.
I was disturbed by the thought of this vision. I got on my motorcycle and rode around the island. It was a four-hour ride. At the end of the ride, I passed a church and turned around to go in and pray. I knew I needed God in my life. After a short prayer, I was walking out of the church and there right next the exit door in a pamphlet rack, at eye level was the face in my dream. I was shocked, I pulled the pamphlet out and trembling read that this was the image of the reported face of Christ. It was on the burial cloth of Christ and was stored in a Catholic Church in Italy. I decided God was calling me back to the Catholic Faith. Why me? Why did he appear to me sinner that I was; I knew not. Yet, because of the memory of this call from Christ, I knew I had to consent to bring his precious body to my brother Seabees. The priest also left me a book to read. The book explained the Catholic faith. As I read it, I knew and understood my faith better. I was especially taken by an Old Catholic symbol and I drew it on a small red flag and wore that symbol on my back declaring myself an ICEMAN for Christ. The symbol means “Jesus Christ Conqueror” Now instead of a blue ribbon of pain. I had a flag for victory. I still was the same old sinner but the flag reminded me of God’s ever presence; even here at the bottom of the world.
12 Make and keep vows to the LORD your God. May all around him bring gifts to the one to be feared, 13 who checks the spirit of princes, who is fearful to the kings of earth.
Why are the powerful so reluctant to make and keep vows to God? Do they not know that if they humble themselves before Him; He will exalt them. God gives all men gifts and talents of spirit, mind and beauty. Today consider letting a more qualified Other defend your ego.
Ember Saturday of September-Commemoration of Yom Kippur and the Feast of Tabernacles (both of which occur in the Jewish calendar around this time), two important foreshadowings of the Christ event.
Feast of St. Pio
Padre Pio was born Francesco Forgione on May 25, 1887, in Pietrelcina, Italy, into a simple peasant family. At the age of 15 he entered the Capuchin Franciscan Friars, and was ordained a priest in 1910. In September 1916 he was assigned to the Friary in San Giovanni Rotondo in central italy, where he lived for the rest of his life. After celebrating morning Mass on September 20, 1918, during his prayers of thanksgiving before the Crucifix, Padre Pio received the "Stigmata". His hands, feet and side were pierced with the nail marks and the lance wound of the Crucified Christ. Doctors estimated that for the next 50 years he lost a cup of blood every day. His five wounds were deep, bleeding and painful, but completley free of inflammation and swelling. News of his holiness spread rapidly. Millions of people attended his Masses. He received letters from believers all over the world who asked for his saintly counsel in their times of distress and mjisfortune. Countless were attracted to his confessional, where he celebrated the Sacrament of Penance for as many as 16 hours a day. People waited as much as two weeks to have him hear their confession, for they perceived in Padre Pio the true heart and soul of the Gospels, expressed in a simple and uncomplicated manner. His whole life was marked by long hours of prayer, continual sacrifice, and strict austerity. He had a very deep union with God, a burning love for the Holy Eucharist, and a fervent devotion to Our Blessed Mother. Worn out by half a century of intense suffering and constant apostolic activity in San Giovanni Rotondo, Padre Pio was called to his heavenly reward on September 23, 1968. He was canonized a Saint by Pope John Paul II on June 16, 2002. Today his tomb is the most visited shrine in Europe, surpassing even Fatima and Lourdes — a place of extraordinary holiness for those in search of inspiration.
Gracious God, You generously blessed Your servant, Padre Pio, with the gifts of the Spirit. You marked his body with the five wounds of Christ Crucified, as a powerful witness to the saving Passion and Death of Your Son, and as a stirring inspiration to many people of Your infinite mercy, forgiveness and love.
In the confessional, Padre Pio labored endlessly for the salvation of souls. Through his prayerful intercession, many who suffered were healed of sickness and disease. Endowed with the gift of discernment, he could read people's hearts. From the blood of his wounds came a perfumed fragrance, a special sign of Your Holy Presence. With dignity and intense devotion, he celebrated daily Mass, inviting countless men and women to a greater union with Jesus Christ, in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.
Through the intercession of Saint Pio, I confidently beseech You to grant me the grace of (here state your petition). Help me to imitate his example of prayerful holiness and compassion, so that I, too, may faithfully follow the Risen Lord, and one day rejoice in the Kingdom, where You live and reign forever and ever. Amen.
· Fast today praying for those who are entombed remembering that our Lord was in the earth on Holy Saturday. Embrace true true humility thus entombing false pride and bravado. In the evening when you break the fast have some food from Ital (Farfalle with Sausage & Peppers). Make a donation to an organization that supports the work of Padre Pio.
Havermale, Richard. The Ice is Nice and Chee Chee is Peachy. 2012
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks states that in Judaism humility is an appreciation of oneself, one's talents, skills, and virtues. It is not meekness or self-deprecating thought, but the effacing of oneself to something higher. Humility is not to think lowly of oneself, but to appreciate the self one has received. In recognition of the mysteries and complexities of life, one becomes humbled to the awesomeness one is and what one can achieve.