Saturday, September 24, 2016
I think anyone who visited would say the spiritual encounter has left us a bit overwhelmed.
It was standing room only for the Mass at the Cathedral last night, with hundreds waiting outside to venerate and ask for Padre Pio's intercession.
And what a Holy Sacrifice it was. There is nothing like a Mass filled to the rafters with zealous lovers of Christ. Every prayer is deafening and seems to echo right into the heavens. Sanctifying Grace is palpable.
I read this post and a few others earlier in the day, so chaos caused by this papacy was very much on my mind.
The evening reminded me of that moment in Scripture when the Apostles were being tossed around in the boat while trying to navigate through the storm and Christ finally wakes up to see He's in the boat with wussies and calms the sea.
"What is WRONG with you people?!! Where is your faith?!!!!
I consider my faith to be rock solid right up until the moment Christ does something dramatic to show me His Presence or Power.
There we all were standing in the Cathedral knowing what disappointment we all are to Him and each other but at the same time, every single one of us knowing how much He loves us and how much we all love each other. How absolutely magnificent It is. In spite of it all.
We are so rich.
A friend was telling me he did a little research on incorruptibles and came across St. Rita's story. Another powerful and incorruptible saint, she levitated and opened her eyes during her beatification (and several times since).
Powerful Mass. Thanks brothers. Deo Gratias.
What a wow-this-stuff-is-real moment that must have been.
We were in the presence of the heart who could read hearts, whose love for Christ and His people converted and absolved millions. A man who biolcated, levitated, bore the wounds of Christ. There is no question that power touched the heart of every person who came to see him.
And we were all stunned. Rendered speechless and struggling to hold back tears of gratitude.
Coincidentally, this was yesterday's reading from our 54 day Novena:
The Gospel story Pope John Paul II sets as the foundation for his new millennium appeal is the "Call of the First Disciples" (Lk 5:1-11). This is the classic scene in which Jesus tells Peter to "Put out into deep water (duc in altum), and let down the nets for a catch." Peter's response is: "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets."
They proceed to catch the maximum amount of fish their nets can hold. Peter, filled with awe and wonder once he realizes he is in the presence of divinity, does not feel worthy to be called. But Jesus says, "Do not be afraid, from now on you will be fishers of men."
Why does the Holy Father choose this particular Gospel reading as the basis for his new millennium master plan? Because Peter's words - "We've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything" - could not speak any more directly to the modern tsunami-like wave of secularism rolling across our planet, as well as our endless parade of parish programs that are mostly done as though God were not there (etsi Deus non daretur).
In other words, the story of the great catch is meant to show that when we try to move only under our own natural power without God (we've worked hard), we will flounder in the chaos of darkness (all night) and come up empty (caught nothing) every time. Jesus asks us to get in sync with him (to obey him) and not be afraid to set aside our superficial (man-powered) tendencies, as we enter the depths of a supernatural (God-powered) life.
Everything in the religious order - sacraments, devotions, teaching, scripture, moral discipline, preaching, etc. - is meant to bring us to this deeper state of being, to this Divine Connection. Jesus calls it "abiding" (Jn 15:4). The Latin for this is maneo which means "to remain" or "to stay" or "to endure" (or like the Marine Corps' semper fi). This Divine Connection, this conformity to love, this participation in the Divine Life of God is the very power of the Holy Spirit and is referred to as being in a state of grace. (Excerpt from Church Militant Field Manual).
Cardinal O'Malley mentioned when he was a seminarian, he asked to visit Padre Pio and he was told Capuchins do not go to see Padre Pio. He felt a little like the visit of St. Padre Pio's heart was like a valentine from Heaven.
But it felt deeper than that, almost like our Cathedral and everyone in it was lifted up to Heaven to visit St. Padre Pio.