Padre Pio Is Still a Mystery, Says Postulator

It Will Take Years to Study Him, Contends Father de Flumeri

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ROME, JUNE 14, 2002 (ZENIT.orgAvvenire).- Father Gerardo de Flumeri, postulator of Padre Pio´s cause, is certain that there is still much to be learned about the saint.

«I am convinced that it will take many years to understand fully certain aspects of his spirituality,» he said.

Q: To speak about Padre Pio often means to speak about the incredible popular following he has always had. However, if one is to trace the principal features of his spirituality, where does one begin?

Father de Flumeri: I think that the striking aspects of his spirituality must be seen, primarily, in the development of his thought, of certain concepts, two above all: the consideration and appreciation of suffering, and the Marian aspect — although, of course, as is evident in his writings, Padre Pio´s thought was much wider.

Q: Let´s begin with the first.

Father de Flumeri: For Padre Pio, suffering was a privilege. When he prayed that God would not send him so many sufferings he did so because he thought that otherwise he would harm others, given that it was such a great good, he did not think it right that he should be the only one to benefit.

In other words, he regarded suffering as such a great good that he went so far as to consider it a privilege, so he asked the Lord for more. Of course, I am simplifying, because his thought has many hues, but this is the basic concept.

Q: Who was Mary to him?

Father de Flumeri: He generally mentioned the Virgin and Jesus Christ at the same time. She is the vehicle who carries Christ, who is salvation. She is the star that illuminates the pilot´s way.

However, and this is the novelty, reading Padre Pio´s writings, the Virgin is often also mentioned alone, not because there is no subordination of the Virgin to Jesus Christ, but because he wished to emphasize the prerogatives of the Virgin´s life, beginning with the divine maternity, namely, the title that God has given her allows her to intervene with the authority of Mother before Jesus. Mary has preferential titles before God.

Q: You trace the profile of a complex, profound spirituality, which is, perhaps, even unpopular for the prevailing culture. I refer to the view on suffering. And yet people continue to feel Padre Pio very close. How do you explain this?

Father de Flumeri: The explanation, in fact, is complex, and every answer might seem hazardous.

I am convinced that it will take years to fully understand certain things. What I think is that people´s closeness to Padre Pio is due, primarily, to the fact that many times he offered himself as a victim for the conversion of sinners, and to the simplicity with which he translated those concepts in very simple phrases, in exhortations that are accessible to all.

That is why people see in him a friend, a benefactor, a guide. That this is then translated into the huge popular following that characterizes him, I think, can only be explained in supernatural terms.

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