23 September, Monday – Pray, hope and don’t worry

Sep 23 – Memorial for St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio), Priest

Pio (1887-1968) was ordained when he was 22. He founded the House for the Relief of Suffering in 1956, a hospital that serves 60,000 a year. In the 1920s he started a series of prayer groups that continue today with over 400,000 members worldwide.

His canonisation miracle involved the cure of Matteo Pio Colella, age 7, the son of a doctor who works in the House for Relief of Suffering, the hospital in San Giovanni Rotondo founded by Padre Pio. On the night of 20 June 2000, Matteo was admitted to the intensive care unit of the hospital with meningitis. By morning doctors had lost hope for him as nine of the boy’s internal organs had ceased to give signs of life.

That night, during a prayer vigil attended by Matteo’s mother and some Capuchin friars of Padre Pio’s monastery, the child’s condition improved suddenly. When he awoke from the coma, Matteo said that he had seen an elderly man with a white beard and a long, brown habit, who said to him: “Don’t worry, you will soon be cured.”

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Ezra 1:1-6

In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, to fulfil the word of the Lord that was spoken through Jeremiah, the Lord roused the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia to issue a proclamation and to have it publicly displayed throughout his kingdom: ‘Thus speaks Cyrus king of Persia, “The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth; he has ordered me to build him a Temple in Jerusalem, in Judah. Whoever there is among you of all his people, may his God be with him! Let him go up to Jerusalem in Judah to build the Temple of the Lord, the God of Israel – he is the God who is in Jerusalem. And let each survivor, wherever he lives, be helped by the people of that place with silver and gold, with goods and cattle, as well as voluntary offerings for the Temple of God which is in Jerusalem.”’

Then the heads of families of Judah and of Benjamin, the priests and the Levites, in fact all whose spirit had been roused by God, prepared to go and rebuild the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem; and all their neighbours gave them every assistance with silver, gold, goods, cattle, quantities of costly gifts and with voluntary offerings of every kind.

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Luke 8:16-18

Jesus said to the crowds:

‘No one lights a lamp to cover it with a bowl or to put it under a bed. No, he puts it on a lamp-stand so that people may see the light when they come in. For nothing is hidden but it will be made clear, nothing secret but it will be known and brought to light. So take care how you hear; for anyone who has will be given more; from anyone who has not, even what he thinks he has will be taken away.’

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Whoever there is among you of all his people, may his God be with him

We live in a world which thrives on gossip and scandal. People are interested in the ‘tea’ of people’s lives. I must admit that even I am of that nature. However, I have learnt that perhaps we are called not to intrude in the lives of others but rather to reflect on if our lives reflect the life of a Christian.

We are called to be the light of the world. This means we must be able to boldly proclaim the Gospel wherever we are e.g. home, workplace, school, in our commute and in church. To do this, we need to be honest with our shortcomings and ask God for the grace and help to work with these shortcomings.  It is not an easy thing to accept that we are fallible but as Christians, we can draw strength from God to help us deal with these weaknesses.

Today we celebrate the memorial of Padre Pio. Padre Pio is an example for each one of us in the modern world. He bore with great patience the sufferings, challenges and trials put before him. He drew strength from his unwavering devotion to our Blessed Mother. He showed to the people that God was truly present in their midst.

I like to leave you with this line which Padre Pio mentioned to the pilgrims who came to see him, “Pray, hope and don’t worry.” May the good Lord bless you in the week ahead.

(Today’s Oxygen by Nicholas Chia)

Prayer: St Pio of Pietrelcina, pray for us.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all Spiritual Directors

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