To Fulfil God´s Will (2018)
Fr. Martin Fuchs´s sermon on 7th October 2018, Prague, Czechia
Before the Ascension, Our Lord said to His disciples:
“Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned. And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name they shall cast out devils: they shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents; and if they shall drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them: they shall lay their hands upon the sick, and they shall recover.“ (Mk 16:15-18)
In the first centuries, the extraordinary graces, the charisms such as to work miracles, to speak in tongues, to look into the hearts and into the future were much more numerous. But when the Catholic Faith was proved enough, they became less. God is absolutely free to provide these graces. He gives these gifts to build up the Mystical Body, Church, to spread the true Faith.
Recipients of these gifts are especially united to Christ and work for the salvation of the souls. They have to suffer much. The cross is the way to Heaven.
Extraordinary graces or charisms are not a proof that the recipient will go infallibly to Heaven. The Saviour himself once said: “Many will say to me in that day: Lord, Lord, have not we prophesied in thy name, and cast out devils in thy name, and done many miracles in thy name? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.“ (Mt 7:22-23)
As Father Pio died on the 22nd September 1968, exactly 50 years ago, I want to speak about this charismatic person. He never said the New Mass by the way.
His charisms were very numerous. He had the charism to look into the hearts, the charism of bilocation. He had stigmata. Souls from the Purgatory came to him to ask for his help. He could speak foreign languages without having learnt them. He could look into the future. Wonderful odour indicated his presence. He fell into ecstasy and saw wonderful things. He healed the possessed people. He could heal the ill people. Let us consider this special grace.
Antonio D’Onofrio, rickety and crippled, rose from the kneeling bench, when he was touched by the wounded hands of Father Pio. He no longer hunched.
Little Di Chiara, at Father Pio´s command, put down the orthopaedic splints that covered her legs crippled by polio and began walking.
A famous surgeon, Professor Valdoni, said: “Our science cannot explain what is happening there.“
But there were cases when Father Pio did not heal.
One day a man was brought to him. He had been suffering from blindness for years. Father Pio very seriously looked at the blind and asked him:
“You have the choice! If you will be happy here on earth, you will not be happy in the Eternity.“
The blind answered after a short time with tears in his eyes: “Father, father, I prefer to be happy in the eternity!“ Father Pio consoled him by giving his blessing.
A noble lady had already been in a medical treatment for two years without success because of her ill foot. When she asked Father Pio for his help and for his prayers, he answered: “You must make up first the unjust inheritance. This is the reason why you suffer.”
And to a young man who was completely crippled after a car accident and could barely speak, Father Pio said: “If you haven’t had this accident, you would be a murderer now. This accident was a great gift for you.”
Another lady asked Father Pio: “Why have I been ill already for thirty years? I can scarcely manage my household.“ And Father Pio replied: “This is a great grace because Our Lord has elected you to suffer for your two brothers who lead bad lives and your other related persons are not better. You must suffer for their salvation. But in two years you will be cured. Every suffering is a grace, even if hen we cannot understand why.”
A very special man was Pietro Cugino, called Petruccio. He did not want to be healed. He was born in 1913 and very often went to church “Santa Maria delle Grazie“ in San Giovanni Rotondo. He never missed the Holy Mass and received the Holy Communion every day. Petruccio was blind but he helped wherever he could. In the evening he had his supper with other monks in the refectory of the monastery. And Father Pio encouraged him to eat.
One day, Father Pio asked him: “Haven´t you ever wished to see? The answer was of disarming innocence: “I have never thought of it.“ Father Pio insisted: “Would you like to see again?“ Petruccio replied: “I don’t know what to answer.” Father Pio kept on insisting: “If you like, we pray to Our Lady who is so good and has so much power over the heart of her son Jesus.“
But Petruccio went on: “Father, I was not born blind. My Lord has taken away my eyesight when I was twelve years old. If God had done this, he certainly had His reasons. And when He had His reasons, why should I pray against the will of God? Why should I pray for something He gave me at the beginning and took it away at a later time?”
This answer was very difficult to understand. Difficult for many but not for the saint Capuchin. Father Pio wanted to make sure and continued: “But do you want to see or not?”
Petruccio answered even more clearly: “Father, Our Lord knows exactly what He does. I always want to fulfil the will of God. If my Lord gives my eyesight back and this would be an occasion of sin, I prefer to renounce.“
This answer showed Father Pio that Petruccio saw much more better than other people with the best eyes. He saw with the eyes of the Faith. Touched by this answer, Father Pio embraced him.
Petruccio received the same embrace on the 31st March 2005 when his blind eyes could see the light, the light that no eye has ever seen on earth, the light that God has prepared for those who love Him. (I Cor. 2:9).
Charisms are given to a person to lead people to the true Faith or to convert them from a life of sin.
We must suffer to reach Heaven, suffer to expiate, and repair sins, our sins and the sins of other people.
We must suffer if it is God´s will. The greatest thing on earth is to fulfil God´s will. Lord, help us to carry our cross! Let us fulfil Your will! Amen.