St. Pio believed that being "on" the cross with Jesus was better than simply contemplating Jesus from a distance.
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St. Padre Pio experienced a great deal of suffering in his lifetime, both physical and psychological. He received the stigmata on his body and was isolated from the world for many years.
Padre Pio accepted every suffering he received as if it were coming directly from God, seeing it as a blessing and not a curse.
In Padre Pio: The True Story, C. Bernard Ruffin recounts the holy friar’s thoughts on the connection between suffering and the cross of Jesus Christ.
Padre Pio points out that suffering is a sign of God’s favor, and the Christian, instead of complaining of trials and temptations, should “follow the Divine Master up the steep slope of Calvary, loaded with our cross, and when it pleases him to place us on the cross by confining us to a bed of sickness, let us thank him and consider ourselves lucky to be honored in this way, aware that to be on the cross with Jesus is infinitely more perfect than merely contemplating [him] on the cross.”
In this point of view, suffering is a gift given by God, not a curse that crushes our happiness.
Padre Pio didn’t run from suffering in his life. Instead, he embraced suffering, seeing it as a unique way to be with Jesus on the cross.
The next time we endure any type of suffering in our lives, may we be inspired by Padre Pio and thank God for it, seeing it as a gift.