20110923 Memorial of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina(Lk 9:18-22)
My dear brothers and sisters,
Today we are celebrating the memorial of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina,
As we know, he is a recent Italian saint and popularly known as Padre Pio.
Padre Pio was a priest of Capuchin Friars
and he lived at the Capuchin friary in San Giovanni Rotondo in southern Italy.
This friary is located countryside like our monastery.
The life of Padre Pio is no different as our monastic life.
He was a sought after spiritual adviser and confessor,
whose life was devoted to the Mass and prayer.
Yes, it would seem that his life is like our life.
But, Padre Pio was much different than us,
he is not only venerated as a saint in Italy, but also in the world.
The reason is not that he became famous for his stigmata for fifty years.
I think that we can see a reason for following his words, despite his fame.
Padre Pio would often say, “I only want to be a poor brother who prays.”
So, we would like pray and hope that our monastic wounds are conformed
to the wounds of the crucified Christ, Jesus.
This proclaims our God is with us.
Who do you say that you are?
There is an expression in the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas, “Agere sequitur esse.”
It means that action follows being or what we do follows from what we are.
I think about the saying that our acting proves our identity.
For example, our identity is that we are human,
our action can testify that we are sincere human beings.
So, I would like ask you a question: “Who do you say that you are?”
In fact, the question modifies Jesus’ questions in today’s Gospel.
We find two questions in the Gospel that Jesus is asking all of us.
The first one is “Who do the crowds say that I am?”,
This question make us look around and see how others answer.
In here, crowds or others can be our brothers, friends and neighbors.
And their answers make us realize what they need, what they desire.
But, there is a second question for us: “Who do you say that I am?”
This is a fundamental question knocking at our heart.
Our answer is delicate and determining, because it affects us.
What do our lips and attitude say in our daily monastic life about Jesus?
I hope that you are ready to answer this question: “Who do you say that I am?”
And then, would you come back my question: “Who do you say that you are?”
Your answer is about your identity, your action comes from your identity,
because you remember that “Agere sequitur esse.”
I would say like today’s saint, Padre Pio,
“I am a monk. I only want to be a poor monk who prays.”