Padre Pio's Comrade at Arms
“But at that time shall Michael rise up, the great prince, who standeth for the children of thy people: and a time shall come such as never was from the time that nations began even until that time. And at that time shall thy people be saved, every one that shall be found written in the book… But they that are learned shall shine as the brightness of the firmament: and they that instruct many to justice, as stars for all eternity.” Daniel 12: 1-3
The preceding quote from Daniel speaks of the time of the Apocalypse, and St. Michael’s role in which he will protect and strengthen the faithful remaining on earth in future times and even of “stars for all eternity.” Who could we consider to be so learned as to “instruct many to justice” and whose soul would shine as the brightness of the firmament? Could one of these “stars” be Padre Pio, as he certainly is an “instructor to justice” in the ways that will lead us to God.
When Padre Pio was alive, he chose to enlist an artist to create a special mosaic to be placed over a side altar for the larger Our Lady of Grace church in San Giovanni Rotondo [the one pictured above]. He instructed this artist on what he wanted portrayed in this representation. The holy card enclosed with this newsletter has this picture on it.
Upon first examination of this beautiful mosaic, one cannot miss the beautiful yet forceful image of St. Michael with his feet firmly planted on the earth, thrusting a sword directly into the mouth of Lucifer standing against a darkened sky with red clouds and a fiery light coming from Heaven with the words of St. Michael: “Quis ut Deus?” A very awe-inspiring sight!
[In his presentation, "Padre Pio's Special Devotion to St. Michael the Archangel," Vincenzo Comodo displays this photographic image- pictured above- in which Padre Pio has a look of great satisfaction on the completion of this mosaic and yet I could not help but notice that he seems to be encouraging us to look deeper into the meaning of this scene. Could it be that he is impelling us to study with the eyes of the soul, the message he is trying to convey to us now - during these times?]
Upon making a closer study of it, one then observes a scene in the background from the Bible, that of Daniel with the lions on St. Michael’s left and on his right, it appears to be that of Habacuc and an angel – presumably St Gabriel as he is the messenger and interpreter of Daniel’s visions. This thought-provoking picture prompts this question: “What does this exhibition have to do with St. Michael?” One immediately detects that there must be something more to this scene. But what could it be? To discover the answer to that question, the Bible would be the first to be researched. An online search in the Douay Rheims Bible searching for “St. Michael” procured an amazing result! As one can guess from the above quote with which this article was initiated, this is the connection. After looking at this mosaic and finding these verses in Daniel, Chapter 12, one cannot help but be interiorly moved! Could it be that Padre Pio was speaking through this image to future Catholics?
n the book of Daniel, one finds the story of the pagan Babylonian king who didn’t know who to believe regarding the worship of false idols. The king had always believed in false gods and didn’t know what to do with Daniel. Thus, he threw Daniel in the lions’ den to save himself from the Babylonians and then see if his God would really protect and save him. Heaven comes to his aid with Habacuc and St Gabriel bringing him sustenance and protection until the king decides to check on him. Upon finding him uneaten by the lions, he praises the God of Daniel and throws the instigators to the lions who are immediately eaten. God makes a pretty strong statement with His protection and provisions for Daniel.
Throughout the book of Daniel, St. Gabriel is Daniel’s guide and protector and St. Michael is seen in his vision as the one who will protect the faithful during the Great Tribulation as they await the Second Coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Apocalypse.
Chapter 12 ends with these words: “And he said: Go, Daniel, because the words are shut up, and sealed until the appointed time. Many shall be chosen, and made white, and shall be tried as fire: and the wicked shall deal wickedly, and none of the wicked shall understand, but the learned shall understand. And from the time when the continual sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination unto desolation shall be set up…Blessed is he that waiteth …. But go thou thy ways until the time appointed…”
It certainly appears that between these two chapters of Daniel: the scene of the lions’ den and that of the prophecy of St. Michael, Padre Pio is speaking to the chosen faithful – the Remnant. As in Romans 11:5 states: “So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.” Could Padre Pio be directing this “Remnant” to be patient as Daniel was amongst the lions as God will sustain this little band of believers and to not give in to worship of false idols? And is St Michael to be their fierce protector against their enemies?
In the 2nd /century, St. Irenaeus of Lyons explains the abomination of desolation in this way:
“And for this reason, Daniel also says: "The sanctuary will be desolate: sin has been offered instead of sacrifice and justice has been thrown to the ground. He did it and succeeded. " The angel Gabriel… then, intending also to indicate the duration of the tyranny, during which time the saints who offer a pure sacrifice will be put to flight, says: "And in the middle of the week the sacrifice and libation will be suppressed and in the temple the abomination of desolation will be verified and until the end of time the desolation will be fulfilled.". ... the things... prophesied by Daniel about the end of time have been proven by the Lord.”
Thus, with this Biblical scene of Daniel, it seems that Padre Pio desired to make known to those living in the era of the abomination of desolation precisely who will be their guardian …
Today, we find so many appealing books on Padre Pio. However, does it appear that at the present time, those in the Church wish to soften the mission of Padre Pio – or even hide it? However, is it possible that in the commissioning of this mosaic, the true warrior, Padre Pio, was trying to remind the faithful about the true battle that we must rage in order to gain Heaven and that there really is a devil and the faithful Catholics MUST FIGHT ?
Padre Pio was an example for these very times! From the beginning of Padre Pio’s life, it seems as though he was meant to be a warrior. St. Michael had always been a constant companion to defend him when he was called on to combat the devil throughout his life. When Padre Pio was about 15 yrs. old, he was contemplating his vocation of dedicating his life to God, Padre Pio received a vision in which a handsome man showed to him a dreadful monster of a man and told him: “It behooves you to fight this man. … I will always be at your side. … I will help you and will not let him defeat you.” This vision was only a prequel to his true mission.
(Could that handsome man have been the same one who had directed Fr. Luigi Villa to meet Padre Pio to impart the mission to fight Freemasonry been St Michael? Could it have been indeed St Michael? )
The following could give the answer as we can see why Padre Pio was called to suffer as a true “alter Christus.” and give us insight to truly understand the suffering of Padre Pio and his true mission and why he needed the assistance of St. Michael, one must read one of his letters to Father Agostino, April 7, 1913 (Epist. I, pp. 198-199):
"My dearest father, Friday morning I was still in bed, when Jesus appeared to me. He was all battered and disfigured. He showed me a great multitude of regular and secular priests, including several ecclesiastical dignitaries; of these, who were celebrating, who were shirking and who were undressing the sacred garments. The sight of Jesus in distress gave me much pain, so I wanted to ask him why he suffered so much. There was no response. But his gaze returned to those priests; but a little later, almost horrified and as if He were tired of looking, He withdrew his gaze and when He raised it towards me, to my great horror, I observed two tears that streamed down his cheeks. He walked away from that crowd of priests with a great expression of disgust on His face, shouting: "Butchers!" And turning to me, He said: "My son, do not believe that my agony was only three hours, no; It will because of these souls that I will remain in agony until the end of the world. During the time of my agony, my son, we must not sleep. My soul goes in search of some drop of human pity, but alas they leave me alone under the weight of indifference. The ingratitude and sleep of my ministers makes my agony heavier. Alas, how badly they correspond to My love! What grieves Me most is that they add to their indifference, their contempt, their disbelief. How many times I was there to lift them up, if I had not been held by angels and souls of mine in love ... Write to your father and tell him what you saw, and you heard from me this morning.... " Jesus still continued, but what he said I will never be able to reveal to anyone in this world. This apparition caused me such pain in the body, but even more in the soul, Jesus unfortunately has reason to complain of our ingratitude! How many unfortunate brothers of ours correspond to Jesus' love by throwing themselves with open arms into the infamous FREEMASONRY SECT! Let us pray for them to let the Lord illuminate their minds and touch their hearts. Encourage our provincial father, who will receive abundant help from heavenly favors from the Lord.”
Thus, it was in fulfilling his true vocation of not only a victim soul, but victim warrior for souls that Padre Pio had the assistance and cooperation of St. Michael and all of the angels. For it was exactly in his priestly mission that he had to spiritually fight and oppose the diabolical schemes of the traitors of the Church – those “butchers” - as Our Lord called them, who in the end times would be found working amidst the consecrated souls – even at the highest ecclesiastical levels of the Church! Padre Pio was given the mission to subvert the designs of the Antichrist who would have the goal to suppress the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass via his victim soul vocation!
“May St. Michael protect and defend you from the infernal enemy”
~ Padre Pio to Lina Fiorellini ~ picture above
~~~A Weapon for Our Times-The Chaplet and Lent of St. Michael ~~~
Have you ever been in a crisis? Have you ever felt spiritually, mentally, emotionally and even physically oppressed? Spinning your wheels at every turn in the road… in every avenue of your life? Well, it may be time to enlist St. Michael’s help and Heavenly assistance!
I recall that our dear friend, Anne Cillis, - a spiritual daughter of Padre Pio and Third Order Franciscan under Mary Pyle- had a very strong devotion to St. Michael and she had always encouraged me to say the “Chaplet of St. Michael.” This prayer is recommended to be done in times of spiritual combat. In a revelation to Sister Antonia d’Astonaco, approved in 1851, St. Michael promised the following benefits to those who would pray often the nine special invocations to the nine Choirs of Angels, to honor him and to Glorify God: an Angel from each choir will accompany you as you approach Holy Communion, and, along with Saint Michael, Holy Angels will provide continual assistance during your lifetime. After death, you will be delivered from Purgatory. These benefits are extended to your direct family. This is in The Grandeurs of St Michael the Archangel.
Padre Pio himself observed what is called the Lent of St. Michael. It begins on the Feast of the Assumption, Aug. 15th until Michaelmas Day- the Feast of St. Michael on Sept. 29th. It is suggested to keep this Lent by prayers and fasting. When one studies the calendar from the Assumption to St. Michael’s feast on Sept. 29th, one can see a host of other feast days of Our Lord and Our Lady and saints strung together! Hence, this time would be great to contemplate some of these events such as:
Aug. 22- Immaculate Heart of Mary, Sept. 8th- Birthday of Our Lady, Sept. 12th Holy Name of Mary, Sept. 14th-Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Sept. 17th- Stigmata of St. Francis Assisi, Sept. 19th- Feast of the Sorrowful Mother, Sept. 20th - Stigmata of Padre Pio, Sept. 23rd- Death of Padre Pio, Sept 24th Our Lady of Ransom.
Was it a coincidence that Padre Pio received his stigmata nine days before the Feast of St. Michael?! Remember what Padre Pio always said: “With God, there are no coincidences!”
Interestingly, one of the first keepers of this Lent of St. Michael was also a stigmatist, St. Francis of Assisi and he encouraged is fellow brothers stating: “My sons, we are drawing nigh to our forty days’ fast of St. Michael the Archangel; and I firmly believe that it is the will of God that we keep this fast in the mountain of Alvernia, that which by Divine dispensation hath been made ready for us, to the end that we may, through penance, merit from Christ the consolation of consecrating that blessed mountain to the honor and glory of God and of His glorious mother, the Virgin Mary, and of the holy angels.”
Not only did Padre Pio pray to St. Michael for himself, but he prayed to St. Michael for all of his spiritual children around the world and encouraged all to have devotion to him. He even gave penances for confession to pray to St. Michael or to visit the shrine to St. Michael in Gargano. In the 1940’s one of his spiritual daughters, Lina Fiorellini, had gone to Padre Pio for advice and he wrote to her: “May St. Michael protect and defend you from the infernal enemy.”
She took all advice from Padre Pio very seriously. She happened to own a copy of a book that had been written in 1869 by a Fr. Nicola Ricci on the Lent of St. Michael. She thought this book to be very essential to bring people to a devotion to St. Michael, but this book was very old and out of print. She asked Padre Pio if she should have it reprinted. He encouraged her to do so. She enlisted that help of a Fr. Cosimo Petino with an Imprimatur to this book once again in 1948. Instead of the 40 meditations, it was reduced to 31 so as to accommodate a month with St. Michael and retitled it: The Grandeurs of St Michael the Archangel. It was reprinted again in 1958 by spiritual son of Padre Pio, Fr. Marcel Bouzon, in gratitude for his assistance throughout his life. It is not an easy book to find and we have scanned it and put on our blog on our website. It is truly a gem worth having!
Page 1 in The Grandeurs of St. Michael the Archangel
In the history of Our Lady of Good Success, during Mother Mariana’s lifetime, the Archangels were ever ready to assist her in all her endeavors to make this devotion to the Mother of God At the end of Mother Mariana’s life, on Dec 8th, 1634, after receiving a beautiful vision of the Archangels and their roles to assist us here on earth, Our Lady of Good Success spoke to Mother Mariana:
“Each Archangel fulfills a mission in assisting decadent humanity. And even if other mortals neglect the invocation and veneration of these holy Princes, I desire that you and your present-day daughters, as well as those to come, should do this so that they might receive graces and favors- material and moral-for themselves and for their Convent.”
In closing, the question remains: Is Padre Pio speaking to us through that mosaic image and his own words? He knows what we all are suffering as Catholics seeing our dear Church being dismantled. He sees our families caught up in the world, entangled in the Devil’s snares. He knows our fears, worries and anxieties for the future … It is my hope and prayer that this article will lead you, my dear friends, to have a devotion to St. Michael and his heavenly warriors, in doing so, may you find peace of soul and comfort knowing that the “Heavenly Guardian of Humanity” is ever waiting at your beck and call to assist in your spiritual and temporal needs!
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