Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Pio, Something Smells!
PREAMBLE: Before we even begin today's reflections, I have something to smell you, I mean tell you. One of the coolest things about Padre Pio and the way God likes to work lies in the acclaimed "odor of sanctity" that often follows the holy ones. Yes, believe it or not, when God allows miracles to pour forth from His beloved saints, they are sometimes associated with fragrances. Therese is roses, and Padre Pio is often known by the scent of... tobacco. This to me is beyond awesome. Tobacco.... brilliant. "For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible." Today the Church celebrates the Feast Day of one of her most beloved and most misunderstood sons... St. Pio of Pietrelcina. Born on May 25, 1887, he died on this day in 1968, and today is still affectionately known as Padre Pio. I say he was misunderstood, but more accurately I mean missed. This is simply because so much attention was given to the miracles that Jesus let flow through his hands that many missed the simple truth of who he was; a quiet man of extreme austerity who praised, loved and served Jesus and the Church passionately his whole life. He hated the attention the miracles brought. It's like the image of a man pointing to food and the dog stares at the finger instead. "Look at the food, not my finger!" I think that was perhaps his greatest cross in life. People coming to him looking for some fireworks or a show, or to cut a piece of his robe as a souvenir... yes, they did. They did it to St. Francis of Assisi too. Heck, they did this to Jesus! And perhaps I should stop saying "they" - we do too. "God, give me a sign! Prove Yourself to me!" Well, maybe our intentions aren't always that extreme. We just want recognition or affirmation, right? Maybe something merely tangible is all. And the funny thing is, God is quite willing at times to oblige! Wasn't everybody flocking to Jesus for cures, and didn't he cure many bodies? The woman with an illness of 38 years came to Jesus in a crowd of starstruck followers and she said "If I could just touch the hem of his garment, that would be enough." And she was right, it was enough. But for Jesus, as for his followers like Padre Pio, the enough wasn't enough until he got both body and soul, mind and heart. In a word all of us. So why did God allow so many miracles through St. Pio's stigmatized hands in 1950's and 60's? Maybe He will use anything and everything when the timing is right to get our attention? What follows is an excerpt from EWTN's special section on St. Pio for today's feast. Let's celebrate the extraordinary wonders of God today, and wonder how we can become more like Him in our often ordinary daily life. Bilocation and Odor of Sanctity The phenomenon of bilocation is one of the most remarkable gifts attributed to Padre Pio. His appearances on various of the continents are attested by numerous eye witnesses, who either saw him or smelled the odors characteristically associated with his presence, described by some as roses and by others as tobacco. The phenomenon of odor (sometimes called the odor of sanctity) is itself well established in Padre Pio's case. The odor was especially strong from the blood coming from his wounds. Investigation showed that he used absolutely no fragrances or anything that could produce these odors. The odors often occurred when people called upon his intercession in prayer and continue to this day. Among the most remarkable of the documented cases of bilocation was the Padre's appearance in the air over San Giovanni Rotondo during World War II. While southern Italy remained in Nazi hands American bombers were given the job of attacking the city of San Giovanni Rotondo. However, when they appeared over the city and prepared to unload their munitions a brown-robed friar appeared before their aircraft. All attempts to release the bombs failed. In this way Padre Pio kept his promise to the citizens that their town would be spared. Later on, when an American airbase was established at Foggia a few miles away, one of the pilots of this incident visited the friary and found to his surprise the little friar he had seen in the air that day over San Giovanni. As to how Padre Pio with God's help accomplished such feats, the closest he ever came to an explanation of bilocation was to say that it occurred "by an extension of his personality." - (visit here for full article)