Monday, April 29, 2019

Marian meditations for her month of May


Follow the entire life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, from her Immaculate Conception up to her bodily Assumption into Heaven, in this series of daily readings and prayers.  This book has received Imprimaturs from three Bishops. According to the introduction written by Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi, the Virgin Mary often appeared to Luisa Piccarreta in afternoons during the late 1920's.  During these appearances she revealed to Luisa the events of her entire life, and include instructions on how to live in the Divine Will.  While intended for the month of May, they may be used at any time during the year.  


The book begins with a short "Maternal Appeal of the Queen of Heaven," inviting the Soul to accept this book as a gift. Mary states: "This book is of gold, my child.  It will form your spiritual fortune and your earthly happiness . . . in this book you will see wonders."  Towards the end she says, ". . . I will give you sublime and heavenly lessons; and finally, I will teach you special and new prayers by means of which you will engage the heavens, the sun, creation, my own life and that of my Son, and all the acts of the saints."  And, ". . . with me you will obtain that the Divine Will be done on earth as it is in heaven, according to the desire of the divine Master."

Each day one begins the meditations with the same daily prayer to Mary.  Then the usual three or four page meditation starts with the Soul speaking to the Queen of Heaven, followed by a lesson from the Queen concerning a particular part of her life, then the Soul speaks again, a daily sacrifice, and a short exclamatory prayer.   

The book is available online in numerous places, such as Here and Here, and is included in Fr. Iannuzzi's pdf Divine Will Prayer Book.  It can be purchased from book sellers such as Amazon.com.

View my Catholic books on Luisa and others Here.

 

Monday, April 22, 2019

Padre Pio's Great Easter Miracle


Paolina was gravely ill, with relatives and friends preparing for her death, but Padre Pio promised that during his Easter Mass she would rise with Christ.

In the early months of 1925, Paolina Preziosi, a holy woman and a good mother to her five children, fell ill with bronchitis. She was a Third Order Franciscan and well-liked by the people of San Giovanni Rotondo, where she lived. It was said of her that “she had a delicacy of conscience as rare and precious as her surname.”

As Holy Week approached, her condition became grave, and developed into pneumonia, but there was little the attending doctor could do. Difficult days lie ahead for Paolina. Her husband Lorenzo and the children became more and more upset as she grew visibly worse. Some of her friends approached Padre Pio to ask his help. But he replied: “What can I do, I am just a poor sinner”. He added that they must pray and keep on praying, so that the Lord does not take her. Her family, relatives, friends and neighbors did pray, but it seemed that their pleas were not reaching heaven. As her condition became increasingly desperate, the doctor began to fear for her life. Medicines had no effect, and she had almost stopped eating.

On Palm Sunday, her friends once more entreated Padre Pio. They recounted their fears for the fate of her five children if she were taken away from them. But he appeared preoccupied, as if he were not sure that Divine Providence would intervene. It seemed he felt that her destiny was already decided and could not be changed. The friends continued to persist: “Padre, the doctor says there is no hope.” Finally he came back to himself, and looked at them serenely, almost as if he had found a solution. Then he said to them decisively, “Paolina will rise with Jesus. She is such good person that the Lord wants her with Him in heaven, but her children need her. She must keep on praying and not be afraid. Tell her that she will rise again with the Lord.”

The words of Padre Pio assumed a prophetic significance, since he was announcing a miracle to occur at a specific time. “Padre Pio said Paolina will rise with the Lord,” the people repeated all during Holy Week. The news circulated throughout San Giovanni and even to neighboring towns in the province of Puglia, igniting disputes and discussions. The enemies of Padre Pio laughed, and awaited the day when the stupidity of those who believed in him would be confirmed. But others were certain that she would be cured; however, they wondered if the cure would occur at the Mass on Holy Saturday, or on Sunday.



The evening of Good Friday, the hapless woman continued to beg God to permit her to live for the sake of her children. Then Padre Pio, who was aware of her intense appeals, and was deeply moved, appeared to her in bilocation. “Do not fear,” he told her. “Do not fear, child of God, have faith and hope; at Mass tomorrow, when the church bells sound for Christ's Resurrection, you will be cured.”

The poor woman prayed all night, along with her friends, neighbors and relatives. They had already prepared the coffin, as was the custom in the area, since only a miracle could save her life. There was nothing doctors could do for her, because science was powerless to restore health to someone who was more dead than alive. Padre Pio, however, insisted they must continue praying to the Lord for her cure. But later that night she became comatose, and the Third Order members readied their Franciscan burial shroud, to clad her as soon as she passed.

Early in the morning on Holy Saturday, one of her relatives, with two of Paolina's children, went to the monastery in order to once again plead with Padre Pio, who was their last hope. In the face of their unbridled tears, especially of the little ones, he could not resist their request and he redoubled his prayers. “Heavenly Father, please grant that the Sacrifice of the Mass will renew the life and health of your worthy daughter. In her goodness she is ready to be with You, but permit her to remain here upon the earth for the sake of her five young children.” He embraced the two children who were present, pressing them close to himself. He was heartbroken by their innocent suffering.

In the meantime a note was passed to him, indicating that the parish priest had arrived at the Preziosi home to administer the last rites of the Church. As the morning progressed, he received further updates: she doesn't recognize anybody; she is practically dead.

After hearing confessions, Padre Pio donned his priestly vestments. He approached the altar and began the Easter Mass for Saturday in the monastery church of Our Lady of Grace. All eyes were on him. “He is sorrowful,” some said. “He has been crying,” said others. “I have never seen him so downcast.” But at the Gloria, everyone saw him transfigured, as large tears fell from his eyes. At the same time, the church bells, which had been silent all week, announced the Resurrection of Christ, ringing out their hosannas to the Lord!  Glory to God who has risen!

At the sound of the bells, Paolina Preziosi, as if impelled by a superhuman force, rose up from her bed. She lifted up to God and to Padre Pio prayers of praise and thanksgiving and gratitude. Her fever had disappeared, and her body had returned to life, with a vitality that neither medicine nor science were capable of returning to her. To the astonishment of everyone she was completely well.

People ran outside, shouting “Miracle! Paolina is cured!” The news reverberated everywhere, even reaching those who were at Mass. “The miracle has happened,” they whispered one to another, while tears streamed down their faces. At the termination of the ceremony, so many people pushed into the sacristy to see Padre Pio that the carabinieri had to intervene to curb the enthusiasm of the crowd.

Afterwards, someone remarked to him that perhaps God had wanted this woman to be with Him, but now she has come back to earth. Padre Pio replied: “It is also beautiful to be exiled from Paradise because of love!”

This mother of many children had obtained grace from the Mother of God. Padre Pio had prayed to Jesus and Saint Joseph, but in a special way to the Blessed Virgin. Certainly the phrase written over the entrance to one of the cells of his monastery must have come to his mind: “Mary is the entire reason for my hope.” (Maria e' tutta la ragione della mia speranza.)



This article is based on the original account researched by Alberto Del Fante for his book Per La Storia, with additional information from Padre Pio Il Santo dei Miracoli by Renzo Allegri.

Read about my Catholic books on Padre Pio and others Here.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Padre Pio at the Threshold of Paradise


Maria Castro of Santiago, Chile is a graphic designer who volunteers and collaborates in the work of evangelizing. She had prayed to the Heavenly Father and to the Blessed Virgin to be permitted to work exclusively for the Church. It was 2004, and at this time Maria was very happy with her life, so much so that she thought that her joy might be too good to be true. When she prayed to the Blessed Virgin, she would say, “It is not possible I could be so happy. You must be preparing something, you have something in store for me.”

Maria and her collaborators decided to seek for testimonies of miracles, and interviewed people who had received such favors through the intercession of the Blessed and Saints of Chile. She also wished to collect testimonies from any who had knowledge of miracles from Padre Pio, but in Chile she was only able to find one such case. However, the person did not wish to be interviewed about it. After she was denied an interview about the Padre Pio miracle, she prayed to him, saying she was sorry that she could not find any testimonies, therefore he would have to be excluded from the collection of miracle stories.

The very next day, she began to feel quite cold. She was not too concerned, thinking that it was just a passing sickness. But soon there were days when she had trouble even getting out of bed. She began to take various medicines, and was easily fatigued by the simplest tasks. She became tormented by a constant headache and shivering, and started to lose her voice.

After she developed a low grade fever, and had difficulty swallowing, her husband drove her to the hospital. The doctors were unsure of a diagnosis, but she was admitted as a precaution, and was provided with an oxygen mask. Her husband went home, and then returned with some of her personal items, including a bible and a book about Padre Pio that she had intended to read. He also affixed a picture of Padre Pio with a novena prayer over the headboard of Maria's hospital bed. After further tests and x-rays, the doctors concluded that she had severe pneumonia with acute respiratory insufficiency. Lesions had formed inside of her mouth, making it very difficult for her to speak; she could only eat jelly-like food, and had to be given water intravenously. 


That night she had to remain almost in a sitting position in bed, with her mask on, and had been injected with antibiotics. She prayed to Padre Pio, and offered her sickness and suffering to God in reparation for attacks against the Church, for the Holy Father Pope John Paul II, and for the bishops. But she began to think that perhaps the Lord might not be content with her modest offering, and therefore she requested of Padre Pio: “If it is necessary that I suffer more, please tell the Lord that I am ready.” She recalled that he had asked people to send him their guardian angel, and she did so. She sent her angel with a message confirming her offer to suffer. It would not be long before she became aware that Padre Pio had received the message.

Because of the discomfort of the oxygen mask, she could not get to sleep. The clock showed that it was two thirty in the morning. Suddenly she had a great desire to confess her most serious sins. She prayed that Padre Pio would find her a confessor as soon as she left the hospital, a priest whom she could confess to as if he were Padre Pio himself.

Almost immediately she saw next to her bed an apparition of a confessional made of wood. She was still completely awake, and was not delirious or feverish. A middle-aged slightly overweight priest with blondish hair entered the confessional, and asked her to begin recounting her sins. She confessed everything she could remember, saving the worst for last. At that point there was a loud noise, and the priest pointed out to Maria something to her left.

She looked where he was pointing and saw with her own eyes Padre Pio himself next to her bed. “He looked at me with an expression of indescribable tenderness, while giving me absolution with his right hand. This was no apparition or phantasm: he had a solid human body, which even projected a shadow!” She was still wearing the mask, and could barely speak, so she kept whispering, “Padre Pio, Padre Pio, Padre Pio, I love you, I do not wish to disturb you.” Smiling sweetly, he nodded his head twice.

Maria wanted to reach out and touch him, but she resisted the impulse. She did not want him to think that she doubted his presence, as the Apostle Thomas. She wanted to embrace him, but did not feel she was worthy. She could not take her eyes off him: he wore a coffee-colored Capuchin habit, had the bearing and beauty of a celestial figure, strong and imposing, and seemed to be about sixty. His hands were uncovered, and there was no trace of the stigmata on them. (This is not surprising, since at the time of his death, about 35 years prior to this incident, the stigmata had completely disappeared from his body.) Padre Pio bent down and kissed her forehead with great tenderness. Within her soul she heard these words: “I have come because you have wished it. I have loved you all of your life, my daughter.”

Suddenly Padre Pio removed her oxygen mask, and Maria was able to smell an intense perfume of flowers. “Then he put his left hand on my abdomen, and his right on my shoulder, and raised my body vertically up to the ceiling with incredible speed. I remained suspended in the air for three or four seconds with my arms crossed.” When she came back down, he said to her, “I am very satisfied because you have not asked anything for yourself; I accept your offer. You will suffer a little more, but it will be a momentary thing, and this disease will never affect you again.” Padre Pio continued looking at her. Then Maria heard a choir of angels singing praises to the Lord. She immediately sensed within her heart this message: “For you the time of man is over, and the time of God begins.”

That evening her husband Roberto and her father visited her at the hospital. She was anxious to tell them of her experience and asked for a pencil. On a sheet of paper she wrote: “At about three in the morning Padre Pio came to see me.” The two men exchanged a look of amazement, because they knew she was not capable of fabricating a story like that.

On the next day, her condition worsened. Another chest x-ray confirmed the prior diagnosis, “severe pneumonia with acute respiratory insufficiency.” Then it was determined that one of her lungs had collapsed. She was moved to the intensive care unit, and a breathing tube was inserted in her mouth. Her husband was extremely anxious, but he was only permitted to see her for five minutes. Crying, he implored her to her not to leave him alone with two small children to care for. “Roberto believed that Padre Pio had actually visited me, but feared that he had come in order to take me away with him forever.” In the meantime the doctors had become pessimistic, thinking that she might need to be hospitalized for a month. It was May 25, Padre Pio's birthday. “Surely he desired, as a birthday gift, that I offer my sufferings to the Lord.”

The following morning, the x-rays revealed that her other lung had collapsed. However, towards noon she inexplicably began to respond to her therapy. She was even able to sit in an armchair. In the evening Roberto told her that her friends had offered a Mass for her healing, and her name was included in the recitation of the Rosary on Radio Maria.

On the morning of May 27, the examining Pulmonologist was surprised at her clear improvement. When he returned at midday, he exclaimed that her progress was incredible. And by evening, he was stunned, and told her that yesterday she had been in grave condition. “Do you know what I mean when I say grave?” She nodded her head, thinking of Padre Pio.

A few days later, on June 1, she was dismissed from the hospital. Her lungs were completely healthy and the pneumonia had totally gone away. The doctor avowed that no one would believe that her before and after x-rays were from the same person! Later she learned that in her medical records at the hospital there were various questions regarding her healing, which was inexplicable for science.

From Maria's own testimony: “Today, in a time in which almost no one listens to the voice of the Church, and they point their fingers at the priests because of the grave errors of some of them, I believe that Padre Pio has manifested himself to aid us. Faithful to Jesus and the Church, he constantly suffered for everyone. He prayed without ceasing, offering himself as a victim for all of humanity. Now that he is at the threshold of Paradise, he is awaiting the arrival of his spiritual children to the very last one.”

Based on an account in Padre Pio, Miracoli Sconosciuti del Santo con le Stigmate, by José Zavala, pp. 108-115.

View my Catholic books on Padre Pio and others Here.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

The Church, in Herself, is always Holy

Before the Church can be reborn, all of the dislocated and wicked members must be purged and destroyed, and innocent members, who want to be holy like her, must take their place.

                                                    ♦♦♦
    
Luisa Piccarreta, while in her usual state of ecstasy, found herself outside of her body, and came across a woman lying on the ground in the middle of a road. She was covered with wounds, and all of her bones were dislocated. Although this woman was in a sad state and in great pain, Luisa could see that she was beautiful, and had an air of nobility and majesty about her. 
 
Moved to compassion, Luisa looked around for someone to help lift the woman out of the street to a safer place. Then a young man appeared who seemed to be Jesus, and He helped Luisa lift and carry the woman, who writhed in horrible pain with every movement. They took her to a splendid residence and laid her upon a bed. It seemed that Jesus loved her so much that He would give His own life to bring her back to health. They took the woman’s dislocated members in their hands and at the touch of the Lord, the bones would be restored to their proper place. The woman was soon transformed into a little child full of grace and beauty. 
 
Luisa was surprised by this transformation. Then Jesus explained that the woman is the image of His Church. Since her origin is from the Son of the heavenly Father, she is always majestic, holy and noble in herself. But the members who are incorporated into the Church caused the sorry state in which she was found. Rather than becoming holy like their Church, they have steeped themselves in every vice. They brought her into the middle of the road, exposed to the cold, mockeries and blows. Her own children, like dislocated members, follow a life of dissolution and evil in the streets. Their own self-interest makes them blind, and they live near her only to wound her, and to continuously rant to her that she should be crucified! 
 
Such is the sorrowful state of Jesus’ Church. Her cruelest executioners are her ministers, the very ones who should be defending her. Before the Church can be reborn, all of these dislocated and wicked members must be purged and destroyed, and innocent members, who want to be holy like her, must take their place. Then she will return to being lovely and graceful as she was when Jesus had constituted her. She will be more than a simple child, and continue to grow strong and holy. This is why it is necessary to wage battle, so that her infected members may be purged. As for Luisa, she must pray and suffer so that everything would be for His Glory. After this, she found herself back inside herself.


From pp. 158-159, Life of the Mystic Luisa Piccarreta, the Middle Years Part-A.  Overview of revelations of 09/06/1924. 

View my Catholic books on the Divine Will and others Here.