I visited the relic of the Incorrupt heart of St (Padre) Pio when it was at Manila Cathedral on its way around the country. Crowds, too numerous to count braved the weather in long queues to venerate the relic.
He is very much loved; a saint for our times as he was such a contradiction to the ways of the world. It seems that his incredible gift of being able to read souls was matched only by his capacity to suffer; with both the stigmata and enduring the constant attacks of the devil. Perhaps that was the price of such a gift in that he had to suffer in order to set his penitents free from bondage, to obtain for them the gift of conversion.
One wonderful story, told by a lady who confessed to him, was about a hidden sin she had. She went to confession to him and after she had finished he asked if she had anything else she wanted to tell. She said ‘no’ and he asked her to return the next day. She confessed other sins and was asked if there was anything else ; again she responded ‘no’ and was asked to return the next day. On the last day, he mentioned the date and time when she had an abortion, and then he told her what her aborted son would have been had he lived, the destiny that was lost when his life had been extinguished. That revelation showed her the gravity of the sin and she was repentant and reconciled with God.
St. Pio reveals to us the gentleness and mercy of a God so much offended but always willing to forgive at the slightest opening of a repentant heart.
The wonderful thing about our saints though is that their mission does not end in death, it is ramped up a notch; the miracles abound all the more when they are born into heaven.