Joseph Pronechen is staff writer with the National Catholic Register since 2005. His articles have appeared in a number of national publications including Columbia magazine, Soul, Faith and Family, Catholic Digest, and Marian Helper. His religion features have also appeared in Fairfield County Catholic and in major newspapers. He holds an MS degree and formerly taught English and courses in film study that he developed at a Catholic high school in Connecticut. Joseph and his wife Mary reside on the East Coast.
During year marking the 100th anniversary of his stigmata and 50th anniversary of his death, Padre Pio should also be remembered for the countless spiritual insights, succinct spiritual direction, and constant encouragement he gave through his concise sayings and teaching. Here are 50 of them to think about.
1. Today’s society does not pray, that is why it is falling apart.
2. Prayer is the best weapon we possess, the key that opens the heart of God.
3. Pray, hope and don't worry. Worry is useless. Our Merciful Lord will listen to your prayer.
4. Endeavor to unite the simplicity of children with the prudence of adults.
5. Do not be so given to the activity of Martha as to forget the silence of Mary. May the Virgin who so well reconciled the one with the other be your sweet model and inspiration.
6. It would be easier for the world to exist without the sun than without the Holy Mass.
7. A thousand years of enjoying human glory is not worth even an hour spent sweetly communing with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
8. How can the mother of Jesus, present at the foot of the Cross on Calvary, who offered her Son as Victim for the salvation of souls, be absent at the mystical Calvary of the altar?
9. In the spiritual life he who does not advance goes backward. It happens as with a boat which always must go ahead. If it stands still the wind will blow it back.
10. You must speak to Jesus also with the heart, besides the lips; indeed, in certain cases you must speak to him only with the heart.
11. We must always have courage, and if some spiritual languor comes upon us, let us run to the feet of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and let us place ourselves in the midst of the heavenly perfumes, and we will undoubtedly regain our strength.
12. Have you not for some time loved the Lord? Do you not love him now? Do you not long to love him forever? Therefore, do not fear! Even conceded that you had committed all the sins of this world, Jesus repeats to you, ‘Many sins are forgiven thee because thou hast loved much!’
13. God loves man with an infinite love and when he punishes he does so with reverence, almost fearing to hurt.
14. God “absolutely cannot reject the sincere desire to love him.”
15. My past, O Lord, to your Mercy; my present, to your Love; my future, to your Providence!
16. The heart of our Divine Master has no more amiable law than that of sweetness, humility, charity. Often place your confidence in Divine Providence and be assured that sooner heaven and earth shall pass away than that the Lord neglect to protect you.
17. Kneel down and render the tribute of your presence and devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Confide all your needs to him, along with those of others. Speak to him with filial abandonment, give free rein to your heart, and give him complete freedom to work in you as he thinks best.
18. Do not worry over things that generate preoccupation, derangement and anxiety. One thing only is necessary: to lift up your spirit and love God.
19. Thank and sweetly kiss the hand of God that strikes you, because it is always the hand of a Father who strikes you because he loves you.
20. Where there is no obedience, there is no virtue; there is neither goodness nor love. And where there is no love, there is no God. Without God, we cannot reach Heaven. These virtues form a ladder; if a step is missing, we fall down.
21. Obey promptly! Do not consider the age or merit of a person. And in order to succeed imagine you are obeying the Lord.
22. To fail in charity is like wounding God in the pupil of his eye. What is more delicate than the pupil of the eye? To fail in charity is like failing against nature.
23. The final purpose of meditation is the love of God and one's neighbor. Love the first with all your soul and without reservation, love the second as another self, and you will have arrived at the final purpose of meditation.
24. Temptations, discouragement and unrest are the wares offered by the enemy. Remember this: if the devil makes noise it is a sign that he is still outside and not yet within. That which must terrify us is his peace and concord with the human soul.
25. The demon has only one door by which to enter into our soul: the will; there are no secret doors. No sin is a sin if not committed with the will. When there is no action of the will, there is no sin, but only human weakness.
26. That which comes from Satan begins with calmness and ends in storm, indifference and apathy.
27. The field of battle between God and Satan is the human soul. It is in the soul that the battle rages every moment of life. The soul must give free access to the Lord so that it be fortified by him in every respect and with all kinds of weapons; that his light may enlighten it to combat the darkness of error; that it be clothed with Jesus Christ, with his justice, truth, the shield of faith, the word of God, in order to conquer such powerful enemies. To be clothed with Jesus Christ it is necessary to die to oneself.
28. Do not fear. Jesus is more powerful than all hell. At the invocation of his name every knee in heaven, on earth and in hell must bend before Jesus; this is a consolation for the good and terror for evil.
29. When you are exposed to any trial, be it physical or moral, bodily or spiritual, the best remedy is the thought of him who is our life, and not think of the one without joining to it the thought of the other.
30. Remember that it is not feeling of guilt that constitutes sin but the consent to sin. Only the free will is capable of good or evil. But when the will sighs under the trial of the tempter and does not will what is presented to it, there is not only no fault but there is virtue.
31. The best means of guarding yourself against temptation are the following: watch your senses to save them from dangerous temptation, avoid vanity, do not let your heart become exalted, convince yourself of the evil of complacency, flee away from hate, pray whenever possible. If the soul would know the merit which one acquires in temptations suffered in patience and conquered, it would be tempted to say: Lord, send me temptations.
32. It is necessary to guard all your senses particularly your eyes: they are the means by which all the fascination and charm of beauty and voluptuousness enter the heart. When fashion, as in our time, is towards provocation and exposes what formerly was even wrong to think about, caution and self-restraint must be exercised. Whenever necessary you must look without seeing and see without thinking about it.
33. Always live under the eyes of the Good Shepherd and you will walk unharmed through evil pastures.
34. You must remember that you have in Heaven, not only a Father but also a Mother… Let us then have recourse to Mary. She is all sweetness, mercy, goodness and love for us because she is our Mother.
35. To doubt is the greatest insult to the Divinity.
36. Walk in the way of the Lord with simplicity and do not torment your spirit. You must hate your defects but with a quiet hate, not troublesome and restless.
37. You should rather humble yourself before God than be distressed if he reserves for you the sufferings of his Son, and makes you experience your weakness. You should offer up to him the prayer of resignation and hope, even when you fall through frailty, and thank him for all the benefits with which he continually enriches you.
38. The sublime degree of humility is not only to recognize one's own abjection but to love it. I have chosen says the prophet to be abject in the house of God rather than to dwell in the houses of sinners.
39. A good heart is always strong, it suffers, but with tears it is consoled by sacrificing itself for its neighbor and for God.
40. God enriches the soul which empties itself of everything.
41. The life of a Christian is nothing but a perpetual struggle against self; there is no flowering of the soul to the beauty of its perfection except at the price of pain.
42. He who attaches himself to the earth remains attached to it. It is by violence that we must leave it. It is better to detach oneself a little at a time, rather than all at once. Let us always think of heaven.
43. Let us bind ourselves tightly to the Sorrowful Heart of our heavenly Mother and reflect on its boundless grief of how precious is our soul.
44. If we are calm and persevering, we shall find not only ourselves, but our souls, and with that, God Himself.
45. Love and fear must go united together, fear without love becomes cowardice. Love without fear becomes presumption. When there is love without fear, love runs without prudence and without restraint, without taking care where it is going.
46. Pray that God will console you when you feel the burden of the Cross, for in doing so you are in no way acting against the will of God, but you are placing yourself beside the Son of God who asked His Father during the Agony in the Garden to send Him some relief. But if He is not willing to give it be ready to pronounce the same ‘Fiat,’ ‘So be it,’ that Jesus did.
47. Let the world turn topsy turvy, everything be in darkness and Mount Sinai all aflame, covered with lightning, thunder — God is with you. But if God lives in the darkness and Mount Sinai is all aflame, covered with lightning, thunder, and noise, will we not be safe near him?
48. Time spent in honor of God and for the salvation of souls is never badly spent.
49. Do you not see the Madonna always beside the tabernacle?
50. You must have boundless faith in the divine goodness, for the victory is absolutely certain.