Homily for Padre Pio Triduum – Ennis Friary – September 23rd, 2017
Tonight we celebrate the penultimate night of the Triduum to St. Pio and what a suitable night to mark the occasion with the feast of St. Pio and the blessing after Mass with the relic of St. Pio.
Pray Hope and don’t worry! – Thursday
On Thursday night Bishop Breandán Leahy spoke of our preparations for the World Meeting of Families, the gospel, the good news of the family and gave a reflection on one of the most famous quotations of St. Pio – “Pray, Hope and don’t worry.” What a great motto or rule of life, Pray, Hope and don’t worry!
Honorary Friar – Friday
Last night the PP of Shannon, the honorary friar, Fr. Tom Ryan spoke about tolerance, generosity, witness, leadership and prayerful good example in the life of the Saint.
The Cross in the life of the Saint – Saturday!
Tonight I hope to speak further about the inspiration of the saint and his devotion to the Cross and his example of taking up the Cross and following Jesus Christ!
Experience of St. Pio
- Margaret McDonagh – Padre Pio Mitten
- Padre Pio Prayer Group in Tuam
- Mother – great devotion Padre Pio – prayers
- Brother in law – boot sales.Statues, pamphlets, booklets, icons, pictures. Any good brother in law knows the way to a mother in laws heart!!!
Scent of Roses
A few years ago an interesting publication called Padre Pio – The Scent of the Roses – Irish Miracles and Cureswas published by the journalist Colm Keane. It’s an interesting account of the background of the saint and the amazing testimonies of so many Irish people who benefited by their faith and prayer to the saint.
One of the many interesting things covered in the book is the Stigmatathat the saint endured and the way he took on this suffering willingly and without complaint his faith in embracing the Cross of Jesus Christ. One of the further interesting things mentioned in relation to the Stigmatawas the belief in the intense smell of Roses from wounds in the case of the now canonised saint. A curious combination of the beauty of the scent of roses and the horror and awfulness of the Cross that brought about the torture and death of Our Lord. The incarnation of that terrible beauty is captured somewhat in the mystical poem by Joseph Mary Plunket:
I see his blood upon the rose – Joseph Mary Plunkett
I see his blood upon the rose
And in the stars the glory of his eyes,
His body gleams amid eternal snows,
His tears fall from the skies.
I see his face in every flower;
The thunder and the singing of the birds
Are but his voice-and carven by his power
Rocks are his written words.
All pathways by his feet are worn,
His strong heart stirs the ever-beating sea,
His crown of thorns is twined with every thorn,
His cross is every tree.
The Mystery and Centrality of the Cross in Life
The Cross is at the heart of our faith and we read in Matthew 16:21-27 ‘If anyone wants to be follower of mine he must renounce himself, take up his cross and follow me’.
Crosses in Life
We all have our own metaphorical Crosses in life – illness, suffering, pain, bereavement, addiction, disappointment, depression, failure, broken relationship, searching for faith… and many other forms that it might happen to take. We might be inclined to shout and complain and pray that the chalice of these crosses might be taken from us, but the words of Jesus and the example of St. Pio advise us otherwise.
Image of the Tree and the Story of the Lamb
There can be a purifying, redemptive power in the Cross in our lives.
I love the image given in the Prophet Amos that reminds us that with certain trees and plants it is only when it is severely cut back to the sap that it can rightly grow and thrive.
I often marvelled at the idea that the sometimes the shepherd has to break the leg of a little lamb strays and then carry it on his shoulder until it heals and gets sense!
Image of the Flower at night time
In some parts of the world there is a flower which blooms only in the dark and its scent fills the night air. It’s effect is unexpected, as is it’s beauty. The light of God is something similar – shining within the darkest night, a light which shines in the middle of all human darkness. (Donal Neary – Praying in Lent)
The poet Kipling gathers this idea together better than I might:
I have known shadow
I have known sun
And how I know
The two are one
Cross and Paschal candle. Good Friday and Easter Sunday are two sides of one coin of our faith.
Feasts of the Cross
Feast of Triumph of the Cross and Our Lady of Sorrows
Robert Browning Hamilton
I walked a mile with pleasure
She chattered all the way
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say
I walked a mile with sorrow
Not a word said she
But oh the things I learned
When sorrow walked with me.
Example of losing a match
Harry Bohan – when we lose – we learn most. Strengthens ones resolve to rise up.
Devotion to the Cross
The whole point of what I am trying to say is that devotion to the cross is a big part of our faith. Old Prayer books had prayers to be recited in front of a crucifix encouraging us to have a devotion to the Cross of Jesus Christ. Through doing that we get a sense of the tremendous love demonstated by Jesus for us. St. Padre Pio as we well know was particularly adept at this through his prayer and example.
There is an old celtic prayer that runs:
May the fruit of the tree of the passion of the Lord fall on us this night. May that be our lot as we reflect on the life and message of St. Pio and as we receive the blessing of the relic of St. Pio who so readliy embraced that cross in his life.
Summary, Conclusion and blessing
Pray, Hope and don’t worry! The Gospel of the family – Day 1.
Tolerance, generosity, witness, leadership and prayerful good example in the life of the Saint – Day 2.
The paradoxical beauty and glory of the Cross as live out by St. Pio Day 3.
The challenge of following a saint
On the feast of a Saint in reflecting on their lives – we invariably make a resolve to imitate their goodness. I thought today of a teaching colleague who had an interesting line one morning out of the blue at morning coffee.
To live above with the saints we love is an honour and glory. To live below with the saints we know is a hell of a different story.
That is the challenge. That is where the rub is as we depart with the blessing of Padre Pio and the Lord when we leave here tonight.
Happy feast of St. Pio
A very happy feast of St. Padre Pio to you all on this special day. May God bless us. May you be enriched with his grace as a result of praying for these three days. Beannacht Dé agus go mbeire muid be an t-am seo arís! Amen!