Dear Friends of Padre Pio,
Peace and good to each of you!
Our faith teaches us that we were engendered by love and in love. This love is God our Father. We were made with a blessing of love and have been invited to love as our Father loves. This gives birth in us to a longing to live, to love, and to be happy. Thus, the experience of these desires ratifies and gives meaning to what we already know by faith. Deep down we have an instinct to be good and this is why evil so grabs our attention, irritates us, and why we find it repugnant. Nevertheless, we spend all our life pursuing the object of our good desires to live, to love, and to be happy despite the frequent failure of our best efforts. Is it because we want to have our own way, our own satisfaction, and to benefit ourselves before the needs of others? The most astute among us learn that such an egocentric posture only serves to isolate us and to make us more defensive and frustrated with the things that we cannot control, which unfortunately are most things. What happened to those good intentions within us? How could they become so distorted? What do I need to do?
Padre Pio continues to guide his spiritual son, Luis Bozzuto, in learning how to conform to the love of God without entering into neither presumption nor despair. His helpful counsels to Luis and to us can help orient us also. They conclude his letter to Luis written November 25, 1917. Padre Pio comments:
Remain near, my son, very near to the feet of Jesus together in the company of the Magdalena; be satisfied with practicing those little virtues which are more suited to your age and to your spirit. A small-scale businessman is entrusted, not with an ample inventory, but only with a small one. I suggest to you, because it is appropriate for your age, holy simplicity, with which the heart of Jesus is won. Do not fear those dangers that you see from afar, like those about which you wrote me, and about which we have had long conversations on various occasions.
They seem to you to be armies, and they are not anything but willows with many branches and upon walking, you run the risk of deceiving yourself, until you have them in front of you. Adopt, my son, a firm and general determination to serve and love God with all your heart; and apart from this, do not be upset about any thought of the future. Concentrate on laboring well in the current day and, when tomorrow comes, then it will be today and then it will be time to devote yourself to it.
Always have a great trust and resignation in divine providence; and do not try to store up provisions of manna more that is necessary for the day at hand, and do not doubt that God will make it rain on the following day, and thus act successively all the days of your life.
The reflection continues: Padre Pio tries to situate the good aspirations of Luis in his reality without frustrating him. We see that Luis wants to advance too quickly on the spiritual path with his good intentions, and so he remains frustrated and depressed at not achieving the results that the had hoped for. Padre Pio, during his letter to Luis counsels him to focus on the present with smaller and more considered steps. But, in this conclusion of his letter Padre Pio exhorts Luis to adapt an attitude which is fundamental to every person who serious wishes to follow Jesus. He advises him to have a firm and general determination to love and serve God with all his heart and not worry about the future; and to always trust and be resigned before divine providence. The genius of this exhortation is that it forms an attitude in Luis that transfers his focus from an exterior act or result to a focus on the quality of his relationship with God.
Attitudes are groups of values which form a stable and coherent posture within us before the stimuli of our surroundings. To form a firm and general determination to serve and love God with all one’s heart and not to let oneself be led by worry and anxiety is an attitude that Padre Pio presents to Luis. Adapting such an attitude will enable Luis and us to confront the events of daily life with faithfulness and integrity, even in the absence of a result that others can see. In other words, it is our fidelity that is the result and the success that Jesus values; and any other good work is an additional blessing. This is because it is our intention that forms our relationship with God not our external good works. It is faith expressed in love that unites us to God. God is far from those who have a divided heart although they may do many good works. This attitude of trust before God gives God the opportunity to act more freely in our life and gives us the opportunity to participate in his divine action. We are no longer slaves to the letter of the law demanding correctness and perfection. Rather, one focuses not so much on what is done, but more on the intention of how it is done. One places the result in the hands of God trusting in his providence and mercy. This confidence in God permits us to assume the consequences of our errors and faults without remaining angry or depressed.
Padre Pio is famous for his counsel: pray, have faith, and don’t worry. The practice of this advice can save us from physical and mental stress and at the same time lead us to a sanctity of life in union with our Father. Let’s get to work!
Your servant in Christ Jesus,
Fray Guillermo Trauba, Capuchin