Padre Pio is one of my favorite saints and today is his feast day.
I recently read his biography and it was fascinating, things you could not even make up: many miraculous healings, predicting the future and even examples of bilocating. He suffered greatly physically and psychologically. He had the stigmata for most of his life, and endured terrible persecution from many, including from his own order and other archbishops and priests in the Church.
But what is most amazing to me about Saint Padre Pio after reading his biography is how much his life is like Christ's. It finally hit home after I read about his life and felt such a strong love for him that this is what the saints do for us. Through their unique way of living in the world and relating to God, they bring us closer to Christ.
I'll admit, sometimes it is hard for me to relate to Jesus. He lived so long ago and we don't have letters that he wrote or nearly as many anecdotal stories as we have for saints like Padre Pio who lived in more modern times. So, for me, in reading the life of Saint Padre Pio, how much he suffered and his ministry with people, allowed me to grow closer to the person of Jesus because that is who Padre Pio was imitating.
So, thank you Padre Pio for the beautiful gift you are to the Church and the beautiful example you are to all of us as someone who lived virtues heroically and suffered joyfully for love of Jesus.