'Padre Pio: In My Own Words', ed. Anthony F. Chiffolo

'Padre Pio: In My Own Words', ed. Anthony F. Chiffolo

Mary-Jane Donnellan

Padre Pio: In My Own Words
Compiled and edited by Anthony F. Chiffolo
(Liguori, 2000, 112pp, $24.95. Available from AD Books)

Padre Pio: In My Own Words comprises a collection of letters written by Padre Pio, which provide a valuable source of encouragement and inspiration for those undertaking their spiritual journeys. The reader is enabled through them to enter into Padre Pio's inner world, one of sacrifice and suffering, directed to the greater glory of God.

Suffering played a major part in Padre Pio's life - and not just physical suffering. For a time, because of ill-health, he was forced to reside at home, but he always remained faithful to his studies, prayer and fasting.

In time, Padre Pio would receive the imprint of the sacred wounds of Jesus, or stigmata, and these would remain with him for the rest of his life. Although constant pain became his companion, he nevertheless continued to celebrate Mass, hear confessions and draw closer to his Lord - all of which attracted many people to him.

On one occasion, when word got out that Padre Pio was to be moved to another monastery, the townspeople, distressed at the news, barricaded the place. Some would even tear at his clothes, fight one another for front seats, and sell cloth, passed off as his garments. Many were desperate to be part of his life, for his manifest love of God, evident in every aspect of his life, continued to bring a sense of God's presence into people's hearts.

Padre Pio's inspirational ideas and wisdom come across in this beautifully presented collection of letters. They assist us in better appreciating the Sacraments, provide encouragement in prayers and meditations and help in facing the "darkness of the night" and challenges of the Cross and in accepting the will of God in our lives. Other themes explored in the letters include the journey of Christian life, temptation and sin, the Mercy of God and His providence and the importance of perseverance.

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