Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Feast of St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Wednesdays are my "writing day" at work; I block off the whole day on the calendar to work on my writing projects. As an academic librarian, I'm eligible for tenure, and professional publications are a key part of one's tenure dossier. They tend to be quiet, low key days for me at the office, and I look forward to them. I'm often able to attend the daily Mass at the campus Newman Center on Wednesdays, too. Wednesdays are good.

Well, then came this morning. It didn't start out that bad. We overslept by about 20 minutes, so that didn't help, but it wasn't catastrohic. We still had a solid hour to ready ourselves to leave the house. At 7:50, I was ready to go, but Henry was still finishing up watching Blue's Clues. I let him finish, and then told him it was time to go. He procrastinated. He wanted to watch the ABC song, then the Noggin song of the month, then he had to run upstairs to get one of his Franklin books to read in the car...Pretty soon, it's 8 o'clock and I'm feeling extremely impatient. I hustle him to the door and tell him that he has to get right in his car seat; no playing in the driver's seat for a few minutes like he usually does.

Well. This does not go over very well. Henry bursts into tears and has a temper tantrum right in the middle of the driveway. Fabulous. I coax him into the car where he throws himself on the car floor and refuses to get into his car seat. *sighs* This leads to the inevitable acrobatic act entitled Strapping Flailing Child into Car Seat Against His Will, and it's not pretty. Following the main act, we have Mommy Cringing as Child Screams in Small Civic Sedan for the Entire Ride.

We arrive at preschool, and I deposit a sniffling Henry and his Transformers sneakers onto the parking lot pavement. He's more docile, holding my hand and walking cooperatively into the building, but he complains the whole way that he doesn't like the stairs and would rather take the elevator up to the second floor. As I drop him off, I'm sad because I have to work the evening reference shift tonight and won't see him before he goes to bed, and our morning...well, it stunk.

But that's the way it goes sometimes. Three year olds can be tough little people to please. So I arrive at work. And I'm feeling a little disjointed. I have several tasky items to get completed right away - emails to answer, something to fax, something to mail that I need to walk to the campus post office to get a stamp for...

Finally, I sit down at my computer. I pop open my Living Faith to today's devotional, and find that it's the feast day of Padre Pio. I love him. It's hard not to be fascinated by this guy. Bore the stigmata; a very well known saint that was involved in lots of savory miracle stuff when he was alive, such as the ability to bilocate and read the souls of those he counseled in the confessional.

I read a book about him when I was in law school that I cherish to this day. I saved it for my commute of a bus/subway cocktail and would look forward to whipping it out of my backpack each morning. The book was written by a Lutheran pastor, and it an extremely fair and engaging account of Padre Pio's life. It's called Padre Pio: The True Story, by Bernard Ruffin. I highly recommend it.

To me, it's always refreshing to read the personal accounts of people that really live out their Catholic faith in their everyday activities, even despite opposition from the world. Padre Pio certainly didn't experience an ordinary expression of his faith, with the supernatural events attributed to him. I don't see myself bearing the stigmata anytime soon. But Padre Pio didn't revel in the attention that he received as a consequence of the fantastic events surrounding him; he tolerated it because he believed it was what God was asking him to do. He is a good reminder to us that we are all called by God to live out our faith, in our given circumstances, to the best of our ability. To be courageous in our faith. To act as salt and light just by quietly living out our faith.

My Living Faith reading puts it like this:

"I put myself in the company of the Twelve. These words are meant for all. We have been summoned by Christ. We, too, are anointed ones who have been given power...That is why Jesus explains to the disciples that when they go forth to heal and teach it is unnecessary to take a lot of stuff along. 'Take nothing on your journey,' Jesus says. The power he has bequeathed to them is quite enough."

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