20160606 Padre Pio offered his life and time

Pope Benedict XV urged all Christians to pray for an end to the World War in July 1918. On July 27, Padre Pio offered himself as a victim for the end of the war.
Soon after the offering, Padre Pio had two extraordinary mystical experiences. He described an experience of the piercing of his heart to his spiritual director.
“I was listening to the confessions of the young men the night of Aug. 5 when all of a sudden I was very frightened upon seeing with the eyes of my mind a celestial visitor who appeared right in front of me.
“In his hand he carried something like an iron lance with a very sharp tip. It seemed as if fire was coming out of the tip. I saw the person thrust the lance violently into my soul. I could barely complain when I felt I was dying.
“I told the young man to leave the confessional because I felt very sick and did not have the strength to continue. This martyrdom lasted without any interruption until the morning of Aug. 7. From that day I felt a great affliction and a wound in my soul that is always open and causes me agony.”
A month and a half later, Padre Pio experienced the bleeding of the five wounds. He described the experience to his spiritual director.
“It was the morning of Sept. 20, 1918. I was in the chapel praying the prayer of thanksgiving for the Mass and I felt little by little that I was elevated to a softer prayer. Suddenly a great light blinded me, and Christ, Who was bleeding in all parts, appeared to me.
“From His wounded Body came out rays of light that looked like arrows that hurt my feet, hands, and side. When I returned to myself, I found myself on the floor and full of wounds. My hands, feet, and side bled and they hurt even enough to make me lose all my strength to stand up.”
The spiritual gifts of Padre Pio gave people hope as they began to rebuild their life after the war. Despite the pains of his mystical wounds, Padre Pio led a very busy life, rising at 3:30 every morning and praying the Divine Office, then celebrating Mass at 5 a.m.
Padre Pio was a man of prayer. He once said, “I want to be only a poor friar who prays.”
Mass celebrated by him could last for three hours; he would experience the Passion and pray for all those who had recommended themselves to him. In time this length declined, until, during the years before his death, it lasted about an hour.
Padre Pio was once asked how he could spend so much time standing on his wounds during the entire Mass. He replied, “My daughter, during the Mass I am not standing, I am hanging with Jesus on the Cross.”
After Mass, Padre Pio made a prolonged thanksgiving. He then took a glass of water as his breakfast, and went to hear confessions. According to the common practice of the time, men and women confessed separately: the men in the sacristy, mainly in the open with a portable grill; and the women in the church in the confessional.
At noon he took his only meal of the day. A normal day for Padre Pio was a busy 19 hours: Mass, hearing confessions, and handling correspondence. He usually had only three or four hours rest at night.

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