|Not My Will, but Thine Be Done.
The Memorial of Saint Pius of Pietrelcina, Priest.
Lessons from the primary feria, according to the ordinary form of the Roman Rite:
Ezra 9: 5-9.
Tobit 13: 2-4, 7-8 (in place of the psalm).
Luke 9: 1-6.
The Ember Wednesday of the Holy Cross; the Commemoration of Saint Linus, Pope & Martyr; and, the Commemoration of Saint Thecla, Virgin & Martyr.*
Lessons from the feria, according to the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite:
Amos 9: 13-15.
Psalm 112: 5-7.
Esdras 8: 1-10.
Psalm 32: 12, 6.
Mark 9: 16-28.
The Seventeenth Wednesday after Pentecost; and, the Feast of the Conception of the Holy Prophet, Forerunner & Baptist, John.
First & third lessons from the pentecostarion, second & fourth from the menaion, according to the Ruthenian recension of the Byzantine Rite:
Galatians 5: 11-21.
Galatians 4: 22-31.
Luke 4: 1-15.
Luke 1: 5-25.
9:33 AM 9/23/2015 Today we celebrate the Memorial of Saint Pius of Pietrelcina, whose real name was Francesco Forgione, born in 1887. He took the name Pius when he entered the Capuchin Franciscans as a young man, and spent the next fifty years at the Franciscan Friary of San Gionanni Rotondo, where he was a very sought after spiritual adviser and confessor. We know him, of course, as Padre Pio, which means Father Pius in Italian. You can't go anywhere on the property of this Shrine without seeing some image of him, and that's because we've always regarded him as the titular spiritual director of the World Apostolate of Fatima. Our annual Padre Pio Day, which was a few months ago, always draws a large number of people.
I'm not going to repeat things about him which you already know, except to point out the one thing that is usually lacking from all the brief, sanitized biographies found in missals and missalettes: that he was, for a number of years, held in suspicion by the Church and, at one point, forbidden to preach or have contact with the laity. A lot of that had to do with the stigmata, as the Church is always very cautious about endorsing any reports of mystical phenomena. But he never expressed any bitterness about it and, as an obedient priest, accepted in silence every restriction imposed on him; and, that, more than the stigmata, more than the throngs of people who came to confess to him, was the reason Pope Saint John Paul II canonized him a saint.
The Church tells us that he's the patron saint of civil defense volunteers and Catholic adolescents; but, I think that, as an intercessor, he might be more valuable to us as someone to whom we can go when we find ourselves in difficult and disappointing situations, or feel ourselves being treated unjustly. Almost every habit and custom he observed serves as an example of how to cope with a difficult life: always spending a considerable amount of time preparing for Holy Mass, and making an extended thanksgiving afterward, being devoted to the confessional, never speaking unless absolutely sure of what he was saying.
But most important of all was his resignation to authority: his willingness to obey without complaint those appointed over him, even when he knew he was right and they were wrong. It takes a saint to do that; and, are we not all called to be saints?
So, let us ask for his intercession today, especially in those times when the circumstances of life impose duties and obligations on us we find onerous, and beg our Blessed Lord, through Padre Pio, to accept His will at all times. Padre Pio received the stigmata because of his devotion to the Passion, and the most important event in the Passion is when Our Lord said, Not my will, but Thine be done.
* The Feast of Pope Saint Linus, ordinarily a feast of the third class, becomes a commemoration today, as it falls on the Ember Wednesday of September, a feria of the second class. The Commemoration of Saint Thecla, which would be a commemoration on the Feast of Saint Linus, becomes merely a second commemoration. Neither saint figures in any way in the Mass of this day, but both are commemorated at Lauds.
About the Ember Days:
In the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite, at the beginning of the four seasons of the year, the fast days known as "Ember Days" thank God for blessings obtained during the past year and implore further graces for the new season; and, their importance in the Church was formerly very great. They are fixed on the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday of specific weeks in their respective seasons: after the First Sunday of Lent for Spring, after Whitsunday (Pentecost) for Summer, after the Feast of the Elevation of the Cross (Sept. 14th) for Autumn, and after the Third Sunday of Advent for Winter. At one time, the Ember Days were obligatory days of fasting; this requirement was dropped in the Missal of St. John XXIII in 1962, but violet vestments are sill worn on Ember Days even when they occur outside the seasons of Advent and Lent, with the exception of the Ember Days that occur during the Octave of Pentecost.
The significance of the Ember Days as days of voluntary fasting is multiple: not only are they intended to consecrate to God both the liturgical seasons and the various seasons in nature, they also serve as a penitential preparation for those preparing for the Holy Priesthood. Ordinations in the extraordinary form generally take place on the Ember Days, and the Faithful are encouraged to pray on these days for good Priests.