An engineer with a serious knee condition once went to confession to Padre Pio merely out of curiosity, but not out of any religious desire to receive the sacrament. He was an intellectual, he told Padre Pio. He believed in God, but the idea of going to confession was rather too simplistic for him. He only wanted to meet the famous priest he had heard so much about.
Padre Pio looked at the man silently for some time, and then scolded, “Suppose you stop all this chatter and begin by telling me that it is now twenty years since your last confession and that, since the day when you were married, you have never again received the Blessed Sacrament.”
Padre Pio had never met this man before, but he had received a prophetic word of knowledge about the state of his soul. The man was so taken by surprise, Clarice Bruno writes in her book Roads to Padre Pio, that he made a good confession. Later, walking home, he realized that he no longer needed to walk with a cane. His knee had been healed. Later, he became one of Padre Pio’s most faithful spiritual sons.
Echoing the Gospel story of the paralytic whose friends lowered him to Jesus through the roof, the engineer’s physical healing was an outward sign of the deeper reality that, in Jesus’ words, “the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins” (Luke 5:24).
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