Spirit Daily


Famed Mystic Detailed Specific Words From Jesus, Including Prediction On WWI

By Michael H. Brown

In Genoa hundreds have flocked to a statue of Jesus after a woman claimed to see the image of Padre Pio on its chest. That was just last week. In California, a statue of him is said to bleed. The same was claimed -- and disputed -- elsewhere in Italy. What is going on with Padre Pio? Is there a message here somewhere?

Now, at the same time, we receive a new book centered on his mysticism -- and learn that the famed stigmatic, canonized just two years ago and widely known for an array of supernatural gifts, can add another: specific messages from Jesus. That's apparent from a potent new collection of his letters.

The collection -- entitled Secrets of a Soul and published by the Daughters of St. Paul -- contains personal notations to Pio's spiritual directors and reveals a side of the mystic rarely glimpsed.

While it was widely known that Pio often saw heavenly entities such as Christ, the Blessed Mother, saints, souls of the departed, and angels, the letters reveal several specific verbatim correspondences that detail those encounters.

"Oh, how gentle was the conversation with Paradise!" he wrote of one message in 1912. "Even if I wanted to try to tell everything, I would not be able to. Things were said that cannot be translated into human language without losing their deep and celestial meaning."

In the messages, recounted St. Pio, Christ explained that He gave trials to those closest to His Heart.

"Do not fear, I will make you suffer, but I also give you strength," Jesus told the monk in 1913. "I wish your soul to be tried and purified through this daily and hidden martyrdom.

The Lord also consoled the young priest when he was under one of his frequent assaults by evil spirits.

Those attacks, the letters reveal, were hair-raisingly frequent.

They went to his earliest years in the priesthood -- when the devil or Barbalu told St. Padre Pio if he stopped writing to his spiritual director, the assaults would cease.

Pio disregarded that diabolic offer, of course, and suffered as a result -- even fighting off "blasphemous" thoughts.

"I was still in bed when I was visited by those foul creatures that strike me in such a barbaric manner that I considered it a very great grace to have been able to endure it, without dying," he wrote.  "The demon creates a din and roars incessantly around my poor will.

"I do nothing in this state except say with steady resolve, but without feeling: Long live Jesus!"

It was a battle that took St. Pio -- who lived in eastern Italy until his death in 1968 -- to a "dark night" of the soul. The battle was often renewed with fury and for many days, his spirit immersed in "the thickest darkness."

There were temptations against the faith. There was a brutal process in his innermost being. It rose with special intensity in the period just before he was to exhibit the wounds of Christ.

Hints of that came in 1910 and 1911. "In the middle of the palms of my hands, there appeared a little red spot, almost the size of a coin, accompanied by a strong, sharp pain in the center of the spots," he wrote. "The pain was more intense in my left hand, so much so that I still feel it aching. I also notice some pain in my feet."

That phenomenon had been occurring for about a year, he said -- and at the altar he sometimes felt as if his body was burning. "My face in particular seems to be going up in flames."

Like many Old Testament prophets, he had no idea what this "sign" meant. He knew only that the dark night of his soul would continue into 1918, when he experienced a mystical phenomenon known as "transverberation of the heart."

He was hearing Confession of young boys, he recounted, "when suddenly I was filled with extreme terror at the sight of a celestial Being who presented himself before the eyes of my intellect. He had in his hand some kind of weapon, similar to a very long iron blade with a sharp tip that looked like it were spewing fire. At the same moment that I saw all this, I saw the Being violently hurling the weapon into my soul."

That was an angel. But at many turns it was the barbalu he experienced. The evil came with a proportional intensity. "I have had to labor very hard to tear myself from Satan's clutches, and now I suffer his vengeance," wrote Padre Pio at another point. "He injects me continually with his poison and, at the mercy of his powers, it is impossible to find a way out when every path is closed and there is no glimmer of light to point to an escape."

It was a howling attack, a tempestuous fury! And it immediately preceded his stigmata -- a millstone, as he phrased it, of "pain and torment."

The locutions (words spoken to him by heavenly entities) helped him through it all and granted him the means of discernment. "Our Lord appeared to me and spoke thus," he said. "'My child, do not fail to write what you hear from my lips today so that you will not forget. I am loyal; no creature will be lost without knowing it. Very different is light from darkness. I always draw to Myself the soul with whom I am accustomed to speaking. Instead, the demon's art is to distance the soul from Me. I never raise the dread in the soul that has distanced itself from Me. The demon never places a fear in the soul that moves it closer to Me. When I am the author of the fear a soul feels for its eternal health at some moments of life, it is recognizable by the peace and serenity it leaves in the soul."

At another point Jesus allegedly added, "Do not be frightened if I permit the demon to torment you, the world to displease you, the people you hold most dear to afflict you, because nothing can prevail against those who, for love of Me, groan under the weight of the Cross."

In 1915, the Savior gave a message that appeared to be connected with Italy's entrance into World War One. It revealed the way God looks upon wayward nations -- in words similar to the way the Blessed Mother would soon be quoted at places around the world.

Indeed, in case after case the Blessed Mother would soon use identical phraseology, mentioning the arm of her Son.

In the case of Jesus, He mentioned the arm of the Father.

"Italy, My child, did not wish to listen to the voice of love," Padre Pio quoted Christ as saying. "Know, however, that for some time I have been holding back the arm of My Father, Who wants to cast His thunderbolts upon His adulterous daughter.

"We were hoping that the misfortunes of others would have made her examine herself, would have caused her to intone the misere at the right moment.

"She did not appreciate even this last trace of My love, and it is for this reason that her sin has become more abominable before Me...

"The same fate that has befallen her siblings is certainly hers as well."

Pio referred to Mary as a most "dear co-redemptrix" and mentioned "Divine Mercy" long before the Divine Mercy revelations to another recently canonized saint -- Faustina Kowalska of Poland.

They are only a few of the striking passages in the book.

In the end, it is a story of victory. It is the account of a man who was so incredible he didn't understand his own phenomena. It is the account of a man who struggled with Satan, yes; but who also tasted the nectar of Heaven while he was still on earth -- graces that were ineffable.

"When it pleases the blessed Spouse of souls to bring an end [to torments], He suddenly sends me such spiritual devotion that it is irresistible," wrote the future saint. "In an instant I find myself totally changed, enriched by supernatural graces, and so full of strength as to challenge the entire kingdom of Satan."

June 2004

[Bookstore resources: Secrets of a Soul]

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