In 2002, Pope John Paul II declared the commemoration of St. Pio of Pietrelcina to be an obligatory memorial for the Roman Church. Surely St. Pio -- known affectionately to most as "Padre Pio" -- is a saint of our times, having died in 1968 at 81 years of age. But John Paul II might have had a more personal reason for elevating the Feast of this extraordinary saint. As a young bishop, John Paul II sent a very special prayer request to the monk who, at the time, was under scrutiny for his extraordinary gifts. Click here for an article about the relationship between John Paul II and Padre Pio.
There are many lessons to be learned from the life of St. Pio but perhaps one lesson that stands out is his fidelity to his vocation. Having become the subject of much scrutiny, Padre Pio was forbidden, for many years, to answer his mail. Amid the discomfort of being watched so closely, Padre Pio was unfailingly obedient to his superiors and unwavering in vocation. The grace of God which gifted Padre Pio with extraordinary gifts also provided him with the grace of perseverance amid the discomforts that he suffered. When we experience challenges in our daily life, when we feel that our actions or the work that we do are scrutinized unfairly or unjustly, let us follow the example of St. Pio and ask for the grace of perseverance.
"The Spirit of God makes us consider beginnings only so as to arrive at the end, and makes us rejoice in the flowers of the spring only in expectation of enjoying the fruits of summer and autumn."
St. Francis de Sales