"Let unity, the greatest good of all goods, be your preoccupation." - St. Ignatius of Antioch (Letter to St. Polycarp)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"I unite you to My Passion"

St. Padre Pio

I heard this voice: ‘I unite you to my Passion’. And immediately, the vision having disappeared, I came to and I saw these signs from which blood was flowing.  I did not have them before.” (Source)

Union with Christ is for us now a union with His Passion. "We are fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him." (Rom 8:17) Hence it follows that the union of Christ's followers, one with another, is perfected through suffering, even our suffering, joined to His. Stigmata are a sign to all Christians of the continuing presence of God with His Church, and of our call to lay aside our pride, and take up our cross. Our crosses and wounds are usually not extraordinary as were the stigmata of St. Padre Pio. But by dying to our own primacy, even in little ways, we find our true place in His Mystical Body under His Headship, and our true home in that eternal Kingdom. Only in so dying is our life given out to others, and Christ's through ours. Bearing the wounds of Christ is a great honor, as Peter recognized himself not worthy to be crucified upright as was the Lord. There is no greater humiliation in the eyes of men than death upon the cross of Christ, but no greater glory in the eternal life that awaits us, for those who share Christ's cross with Him. The dying one, through suffering, sees the end, and the End. For that reason he is quick to seek peace and make peace, because he sees himself with another on the way with him, together approaching the Judge. (Matt 5:25) This is now our opportunity as Christ's followers, to seek peace with one another, in charity and patience, yet with the urgency of those who know they are dying, and so have little time to give what they can. Christ came preaching peace to those who were far away and to those who were near. (Eph 2:17) What will our generation have suffered, and what we will have sacrificed, to bring the peace of reconciliation and reunion to those with whom we are on the way? What Christ said to St. Padre Pio, He says to us as His people: "I unite you to My Passion." While we have the opportunity, may we bear His cross for the joy that is set before us, despising the shame, to bring to others the peace He brought to the whole world, and especially to the household of faith.

St. Padre Pio, pray for us, that with God's help we may heal those wounds that separate Christ's followers, bearing them in ourselves instead.