Anyone who has read about Padre Pio knows that he was no one to be trifled with; he was a “tough cookie”, and he “didn’t suffer fools gladly”.
I heard a first hand report from an older nun who went to confession to Padre Pio many years ago. The confessional line went thru the night. Finally she was next in line and heard Padre Pio shout to the woman in the confessional, “YOU COME BACK WHEN YOU’RE READY TO REPENT!!!”. Her response was like Jackie Gleason on the Honeymooners TV Show …. “Aaaah ….. Hubba …Hubba…Hubba….”. She kneeled in the confessional and was too intimidated to say anything. He eventually asked her if she wanted him to list her sins…she said yes and he listed all the sins she was going to confess and then told her significant parts of her future …which all proved true over the years. He was very tender to her.
I have a Rosary case with the words of Padre Pio to “ pray, hope, and don’t worry”…. very kind words of comfort and consolation. Sometimes the gruffest people are the most kind and tender….a tough exterior, but a big heart underneath.
In truth the Lord could be pretty tough with some people. I believe he was tough and abrupt when people needed to be shocked out of their lethargy or hard heartedness. Jesus didn’t “suffer fools gladly”. But always his goal was to help the person, to bring them back into the fold. He was the divine physician always knowing what to prescribe….. to some a “pat on the head and a baby aspirin”…to others “open heart surgery”. In each case bringing healing and help in time of need.
I always wanted to go to confession to Padre Pio. I’d be trembling in my boots a bit, thinking he was ready to toss me out on my fanny… but knowing deep in my soul that he was a man of God, that he was going to help me, and that we were going to be friends. I guess all the saints are like the Lord, only wanting God’s will, only wanting to love. And let’s always have hope, remembering another quote from Padre Pio, “ God absolutely cannot reject the sincere desire to love him.” Wow, that is very good news.