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Spiritual Warfare Lessons from St. Padre Pio

Profusions of written and oral accounts exist about the signs and wonders in the life of St. Padre Pio. Three times I visited San Giovanni Rotundo in Foggia, Italy to venerate the tomb of the Italian mystic. These unforgettable visitations made a lasting impact on my spiritual life.

On my first visit to the shrine in the early 1990’s, I was leading a pilgrimage group along with a priest and religious sister. We were very fortunate to meet Fr. Alessio Parente, O.F.M., Cap, a faithful friend and assistant to the saint. Fr. Alessio joyfully and methodically told us of the wonders of grace that he witnessed in Padre Pio—stories that elicit awe and wonder at the mystery of Providence. Pio’s life was lived in communion with Christ’s as he experienced occasions of glory such as Peter, James and John at Mount Tabor, but he more often experienced Christ’s sacrificial suffering as at Gethsemane and Calvary.

For this reflection, I’d like to consider how Padre Pio was victorious over persistent diabolical attacks. He imitated his Lord Jesus Christ in resisting the devil’s cunning temptations, mockery, and persecution within and without. We can learn from his example some helpful lessons for our daily battle with the ancient enemy of our soul.

At the St. Pio shrine in Foggia, I purchased three volumes of the Saint’s writings that are not readily available in English as I understand. The following Padre Pio quotes are as stated in his written correspondence to his spiritual director. They give us a glimpse into the saint’s interior life. Following the quote, I attempt to draw forth a practical lesson.

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