2017년 2월 10일 금요일

Close encounters of a special kind with Padre Pio:
The Souls in Purgatory, The Guardian Angel, the devil.

Everybody who met Padre Pio seemed convinced that he had a direct connection with the afterlife,
and asked about a dead relative or friend. It was fascinating there was always an answer.

Gerardo De Caro had long conversations with Padre Pio in 1943. In his written notes he testifies:
 "Padre Pio had an exact knowledge of the state of a soul after death, including the duration of the pain until reached total purification."

“More souls of the dead from Purgatory than of the living climb this mountain to attend my Masses and seek my prayers.”
"The souls in Purgatory pray for us, and their prayers are even more effective than ours,
because they are accompanied by their suffering.
So, let's pray for them, and let's pray them to pray for us."
"You will be surprised to find in Paradise souls you never expected to be there."
"Most of the saved pass through Purgatory before arriving at the fullness of beatitude."

Dec. 30, 1937 Padre Pio was praying in the choir with the other friars. Suddenly he said: "Let's pray for our Provincial Father
Padre Bernardo Apicella who is in agony." Noboby knew that he was sick. The day after they were told that he had suddenly died.
Pope Pius XII died in Castelgandolfo on October 9, 1958. On that day Padre Pio told a friar: "Pius XII is in heaven. I saw him during Mass."

Padre Pio was in a room at the convent. A man came: "I am Pietro Di Mauro. I died on September 18, 1908, in this room during a fire.
The Lord let me come from Purgatory. If tomorrow you say the Mass for me, I will go to Paradise."
Padre Pio reported: "I was agitated. I told the superior Father Paolino da Casacalenda what had happened  and asked
to celebrate the Mass for Pietro." Father Paolino gave the permission and later went to consult the registry at City Hall.
In that date a fire had killed a man with that name.
Padre Pio to Cleonice Morcaldi, a month after the death of her mother: "This morning your mom flew to Paradise. I saw her during Mass."
Padre Pio reported to Padre Anastasio di Roio:  "one night I was alone in the choir and I saw a friar cleaning the altar late at night.
I asked him to go to bed since it was so late. He said: "I'm a friar like you. I did here my novitiate and when assigned to take care of the Altar,
and I passed many times in front of the Tabernacle without making the proper reverence. For this sin I am in Purgatory, and the Lord sent me to you.
You decide how much longer I have to suffer in those flames." I told him: until the Mass in the morning. He said "Cruel" and disappeared.
I still have a wound in my heart.
I could have sent him immediately to Paradise, instead he had to stay one more night in the flames of Purgatory."
Padre Pio told Padre Onorato Marcucci who was helping him. "Last night I was not well and didn't make you sleep.
I have been thinking how to compensate you, so I took a plenary indulgence for your mother to send her to Paradise."

"I believe that not a great number of souls go to hell.
God loves us so much. He formed us at his image. God loves us beyond understanding.
And it is my belief that when we have passed from the consciousness of the world,
when we appear to be dead, God, before He judges us, will give us
a chance to see and understand what sin really is.
And if we understand it properly, how could we fail to repent?"

Florence Fine Ehrman'd father contracted in 1965 a severe form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. He asked for Padre Pio's prayers. Her father died in January 1966.
She went to Padre Pio in October 1967 asking if her father, a devout Jew, was saved. "Julius Fine is saved, but we need to pray a lot for him."

One night in 1944 the friars heard loud voices coming from downstairs saying "Viva Padre Pio". The superior Padre Raffaele da S. Elia a Pianisi told the doorkeeper
Fra Gerardo da Deliceto to let those people out and lock the door properly. Fra Gerardo went downstairs, didn't find anybody, and the door was double locked as it was supposed to.
He went back to report. Padre Raffaele was puzzled and went straight to Padre Pio asking if he knew something.
"Oh! Those were soldiers who had died on the battleground, and came to thank me for their salvation."
In 1945 Fra' Modestino asked Padre Pio a comparison between a fire on hearth and the flames of Purgatory. "They compare like fresh water and boiling water."

One day Padre told his doctor: "I'm praying for the good death of my great-great grandfather". But he died more than one hundred years ago!"
"Remember that for God there is no past and no future, and everything is present. So God made use at that time of the prayers I'm saying now."

In 1922 Bishop Alberto Costa asked Padre Pio if he had ever seen a soul in Purgatory. "I have seen so many of them that they don't scare me anymore."
A friar testified: We were all in the dining room when Padre Pio got suddenly up and walked at steady pace to the door of the convent. He opened it and started having a conversation.
The two friars that went with him didn't see anybody and started thinking that something might be wrong with Padre Pio. On the way back to the dining area Padre Pio explained.
"Don't worry. I was talking to some souls on their way from Purgatory to Paradise. They came to thank me that I remembered them today in the Mass."
Nina Campanile's brother Pasqualino died in combat on September 26, 1916. Her mom sent Nina with her teacher Vittorina Ventrella to ask Padre Pio if
Pasqualino was saved. " Yes he is saved, but he needs your prayers." She asked again on Christmas 1918. "He is up there!"
Carmela Marocchino's brother Padre Vittore da Canosa died suddenly on January 29, 1958. Carmela asked Padre Pio why the sudden death.
"Do you know what Jesus did of your brother? Jesus went into the garden, and there were many flowers, and one was more beautiful
than the others. He leaned on the most beautiful and picked it. " Is he saved?" Yes, but we need to pray." On July 29 she asked again if he was saved.
 "My daughter, we priests are more responsible in front of God. Let's continue praying."
On December 29, 1958 she asked again were her brother was. "He is in Paradise."
Carmela Marocchino asked Padre Pio if her parents were safe. "Even if your parents are in Paradise we need to continue to pray. If they don't need prayers the suffrages are applied to other souls."

Padre Francesco Napolitano reported what he had heard from Orazio, Padre Pio's father.  Orazio went to spend some few days with hi son in 1926. He was assigned the cell #10. When he tried to enter the cell, two friars stood in front of the door, not letting him in. He explained who he was, to no avail. When he made a step to force himself in, the disappeared. He was terrorized, and went to Padre Pio. "Dad, don't get agitated, those are two poor friars in Purgatory. They have to serve their Purgatory in the spot were they disobeyed the rule of St. Francis."
Padre Francesco Napolitano reported that in 1945 Fra' Pietro, entering his cell at night, saw a young friar sitting on his desk, with the head down like he was meditating. He asked who he was, but he disappeared. Terrorized, he run to Padre Pio. Padre Pio accompanied him back to his cell and said: "That young friar is a poor novice who is serving his purgatory in this cell. But don't worry he will not bother you again, and you will never see him again."

"The souls in Purgatory repay the prayers that we say for them."

"When we pray for the souls in Purgatory we will always get something back."

"The souls in Purgatory pray for us."

Padre Giuseppe Antonio da San Marco in Lamis was ill in the Foggia convent. On December 30, 1936 Padre Pio was asked to pray for him because his heath was deteriorating. That night somebody knocked at Padre Pio's door. Padre Giuseppe entered in the room. "How are you doing? They told me that you were gravely ill and now I see you here." "I'm well, Padre Giuseppe replied. All my suffering has ended, and I came to thank you for your prayers." Than he disappeared. Padre Pio told to the other friars what had happened. Nobody knew yet that Padre Giuseppe had died. Later they found out that he had died at the same time that he had visited Padre Pio.

Maria Pompilio, when her brother died, asked Padre Pio to intercede so that he could come in her dreams. Her brother came in a dream and said:
"Padre Pio assisted me in my agony. He stayed until the Judge judged me. I was given eleven years of Purgatory, but for intercession of Padre Pio the pain was reduced to one year.
Many mysteries in the life of Padre Pio will be known only in the other world."
The morning after Maria went to see Padre Pio. From afar he said: "Are you glad now?" "Yes, it seems that you are everywhere."
"What sense has for me being on Hearth if I can't go up and down. I know.
Your brother told you that the mystery of my life will be known only in Paradise."

Close encounters of a special kind of Padre Pio with the Guardian Angel

Padre Pio had the privilege to have his Guardian Angel visibly besides him all of his life.
He played with him when he was a child, and the Guardian Angel sang for him when he was sad.

Padre Pio about his Guardian Angel:
Little companion of my infancy, angiolino, angioletto, my secretary, inseparable companion, celestial person,
celestial messenger, brother, friend, prevent danger,  one of the family,
translates for me the letters in other languages, I send him to console people suffering, prevents from stumbling,
never lives us alone for an instant, from the cradle to the grave, even when we are sinning.

"It will be a great joy when at the moment of death we will be able to see our guardian angel. "

"My guardian angel has been my friend since my infancy."

"The mission of my Guardian Angel Includes explaining me other languages."
"Send the guardian angel. He doesn't pay a train ticket and doesn't consume shoes."
"For whomever is alone there is his Guardian Angel."

"Your Guardian Angel prays for you; offers to God all the good works you accomplish; your holy and pure desires."
" Oh if all men could understand this great gift that God,  assigned to us; this celestial spirit. "
"May the desire to see this inseparable companion incite you to leave this body quickly."
"when you seem to be alone here a friendly soul to whom
you can unburden yourself and in whom you can confide your sorrows."
"do not forget this invisible companion, always present to listen to you; always ready to console you."
"Invoke often this Guardian Angel,  and repeat the beautiful prayer: 'Oh Angel of God...'."

 "What consolation when, at the moment of death, you will see this Angel,
who accompanied you through life and was so liberal in maternal care. "

"Often remember his presence; thank him; pray to him; Respect him;
be in constant fear of offending the purity of his gaze."

"How do you take care of the so many letters you receive?" "The Angel does his job."
"All those Angels around you, don't they bother You?" "No. They are so obedient."

A man from California used to pray his Guardian Angel to tell his needs to Padre Pio. One day, after the confession he asked Padre Pio if he really
heard his Guardian Angel. "Do you think I am deaf?" And he repeated what he had told recently his Guardian Angel to tell Padre Pio.

Padre Lino Barbati sent his Guardian Angel to ask Padre Pio for the healing of a person. That person wasn't getting better. He asked Padre Pio: Could it be that at times
the Guardian Angel doesn't do what we ask him to do? Padre Pio: "What? Are you thinking that he is disobedient like me and you?"

An attorney from Fano was driving back home to Bologna with wife and children. During the trip he fell asleep at the wheel. He woke up few miles from home. He said "Who drove my car". The wife said: "You were still, and didn't answer to us, and you avoided several collisions at last second. Your driving was different from usual." Two months later he visited Padre Pio, who told him from afar: "you were asleep and the Guardian Angel drove your car." The mystery was solved.

"Father, my  income doesn't allow me to come to see you as often as I'd like." "Who told you to come here? Don't you have your Guardian Angel? Tell him what you want, send him here, and you will have an answer right away."

Padre Alessio approached Padre Pio to ask some question". "Boy, live me alone, don't you see that I am busy?" Later Padre Pio apologized and explained: "didn't you see all those Angels who were with me? They are the Guardian Angels of my spiritual children, who brought me their messages. I had to give them answers to refer."

Cecil Humphrey-Smith from Canterbury, England ,went to see Padre Pio many times. One day, ready to leave, he told Padre Pio that he would write to him soon.
“Son, I receive more letters than I can read. Send your guardian angel to me instead.”
In 1912 Padre Agostino on a trip passed by Pio’s house in Pietrelcina at three in the morning. At that time Padre Pio was living there.
Padre Agostino marveled that the door was open. So he decided to get in. Padre Pio was in bed but not asleep.
“Why do you leave the door unlocked?” “I have the guardian angels keeping watch through the night.”

Close encounters of a special kind of Padre Pio with the devil

devil      'Barbablú'      'cosaccio'    satana
Padre Pio called the devil 'cosaccio' (whatsit) (plural cosacci). At times he had a real name 'Barbablu'.

"Satan reigns over the world."
"The devil wants me for himself at all costs".
"The devil is trying to snatch me from the arms of Jesus".

"The name of the devil is  'I, I do, I can, I'm able to, I, I, I.' This is the devil."
"Io, io faccio, io posso, io riesco. Io, io, io. Questo è il diavolo".

"What comes from Satan begins with calmness and ends in storm, indifference and apathy."
"Do not let the infernal beast frighten you. God will fight it with you and for you."
"If the devil makes noise it's a very good sign. What's terrifying is his peace."
The devils assaulted Padre Pio almost daily.

"The human soul is the battlefield between God and Satan."
"The devil is like a rabid dog tied to a chain; beyond the length of the chain he cannot seize anyone.
And you: keep at a distance.  If you approach too near, you let yourself be caught."

In Venafro a likely Padre Agostino entered Padre Pio's cell. 'I'm here to confess you'. Suspecting something fishy, Padre Pio said:
"Repeat after me Long Live Jesus". The devil screamed 'No!' and disappeared.

Father Francesco was about to leave Padre Pio's cell. "Don't leave, otherwise the devils (cosacci) come."
He left after awhile but while few steps away he heard a terrible noise, and came back. Padre Pio had been assaulted.

Opening the letters from his spiritual director Padre Agostino at times they were all blank.
He would put some holy water on them and the writing could be seen again.
"Barbablu' made it invisible so that it couldn't be read."
Padre Pio was beaten by the devils many times

August 9, 1912, in a letter to Padre Agostino: 'Barbablu' prevents me from writing to you. Every time I try, I get
a terrible headache, and the arm is paralyzed and I can't hold the pen in my hand."

December 3, 1912, in a letter to Padre Agostino: "I received you letter on November 29.
It only contained a blank page. It must have been the 'cosaccio'."

In a letter to father Benedetto on June 3, 1919:
"I don't have a free minute. All my time is spent in tearing my brothers from the clutches of satan."

Because Padre Pio's health was not good, on October 1911, after a physical examination by dr. Antonio Cardarelli in Naples,
he was sent by his Superiors  to Venafro for convalescence.
According to the diagnosis of the celebrated physician, the young friar's days were numbered, and he couldn't travel long distances,
which is why he was sent to Venafro, location of the closest convent.
During the month and a half stay in that convent, the community noticed the first supernatural phenomena:
divine ecstasies lasting up to one hour, and diabolic apparitions lasting a few minutes.

In Venafro, from Fr. Agostino's diary: 'Starting in November 1911, I was present with Fr. Evangelista, the superior of the monastery,
for a considerable number of ecstasies, and many instances of demonic oppression."
"Satan would appear as a nude woman dancing lewdly, as is spiritual father, as his superior, pope Pius X, his guardian angel, St. Francis,
the Virgin Mary, and also as the horrible self, with an army of demonic spirits. 
At times there were no apparitions but he was beaten until he bled, tormented with deafening noises, covered with spit.
He was able to free himself from the torments by calling on the name of Jesus."

The devils to Padre Pio: "You bothers us more than Saint Michel".  "If you don't snatch souls from us we will not bother you."

In 1964 Padre Pio was assaulted by the devil who gave him a terrible blow on the spine, and he fell, and had a black eye and swollen face.

One night Padre Alessio was in charge of Padre Pio's needs. Padre Pio called him on the buzzer, but when he came he just smiled without saying a word.
This happened for three times. The fourth time Padre Alessio asked why he was calling him for no apparent reason. Padre Pio:
"Please my son, sit there on my armchair and stay here with  me, because the devils won't leave me in peace for a second."

In 1964 an 18 years old girl from Bergamo screams among the faithful waiting before 5 in the morning to assist to Padre Pio’s Mass.
“I beat the old man last night. He will not be able to come down and say Mass.” Her parent appear extremely embarrassed. When Padre Pio resumed the celebration of the Mass three days after, she was there too.
 When she saw him she emitted a loud scream and fainted. When she regained consciousness she was perfectly normal. The demon had left her.

Padre Pio's words about virtues, life.

'You have respect for me because you don't know me. I am the greatest sinner on this heart."
"Abjection is called humility, and humility abjection."
"God speaks to those who truly have a humble heart."
"Never be pleased with yourself."
"The tall ears of grain are vain and empty, the ones bent to the ground are humble and laden with grain."
'When you fall, humble yourself but without degrading yourself."
"Abjection means to be humble and powerless."
"Be humble, tranquil, sweet, and confident in times of darkness."
"Humility is truth. Everything good in me is of God."
"False humility brings discouragement."
"When Jesus sees you prostrated in humility, he will extend his hand and draw you to him."
"Humility is the recognition of one's abjection."
"To meet God, we must ascend and he must descend."
"Happiness can be found only in Heaven."
"Everything comes from God. I possess only infinite misery."
"Self esteem is more malicious that pride."
"Mary, the more she was filled with heavenly gifts, the more she humbled."

"If I was reborn, I would become a Capuchin again, but not a priest.
I am unworthy to represent Jesus on earth, to be Christ on the altar."

"Charity is the queen of virtues."
"As the pearls are held together by the thread, thus the virtues by charity"
" the pearls fall when the thread breaks, thus the virtues are lost if charity diminishes."
"The pivot of perfection is charity; He who lives in charity lives in God, because God is charity, as the Apostle says."
"Excuse everyone with Christian charity."
"Seek solitude but do not lack charity with your neighbor."

Humility and charity
Humility and charity go hand in hand.  The one glorifies, the other sanctifies.
"There are two fundamental virtues of holiness: humility and charity."
"We must always have kindness with the neighbor and humility with God."
"Charity knows how to mix sweet with bitter,  and convert transitory suffering in eternal reward."
"Charity is the yardstick by which the Lord will judge us."
"Charity is the cornerstone of perfection."
'Charity is the daughter of Providence."

"Tranquility is the daughter of the love for God."
"God is our peace, our consolation, and our glory."

"If you win a temptation, it has the same effect as in washing dirty laundry."
"The more a soul is liked by God, the more will be proved."
"Temptations belong to devil and hell, sufferings belong to God and Paradise."
"The temptations come from the devil, the sufferings come from God."
"Despise the temptation and embrace the tribulation."
"Do not dwell on your temptations."
"The thought doesn't make the sin, but consenting to the thoughts does it."
"Only the free will is capable of good or evil."
"Temptations against faith and purity are the merchandise offered by the enemy."
"Don't voluntarily dwell on what the devil presents to you."
"When tempted, say to God: "Have mercy on your poor weakling."
"Whe the assault of the enemy increases, you are closer to God."
"When the enemy roars around you, it shows that he is not in you."
"The more a soul is pleasing to God, the more it must be tried."
"Temptation is like the soap. It seems to soil but in reality cleans."
"There is joy in the spiritual battles. Learn how to fight and you will be certain of victory."
"If God lets you fall is to make you humble and more careful in the future."
"The devil enters a soul only through one door: the will."
"We must prepare for temptation if we want to approach God."

"Pray, hope, don't get agitated.
Agitation dosnt't help at all.
God is merciful and will listen to your prayer."
("Prega, spera, non agitarti. L'agitazione non giova a nulla. Dio e' misericordioso ed ascoltera' la tua preghiera.")

"The more you get agitated, the sooner the Providence will withdraw it's arms from you."
"Anxiety makes us run only to make us trip."
"Agitation never comes from God."

"To doubt is the greatest insult to the Divinity."
The dark night of the soul
God seems to be playing a game of hide-and-seek oscillating between extreme exaltation and violent depression.

To the very end of his life, he never felt that his salvation was entirely secure.
Towards the end of his life he asked his friend Pietro Cugino: "Tell me seriously. Do you think I will be saved?"

Prayer card for his ordination "A perfect victim"

"Wait, your turn will come."
"Love doesn't tolerate delay."
"Life is a continual struggle against oneself."
"Life is a struggle, which we cannot avoid.  We must triumph."
"Ahead!  Courage!  In the spiritual life he who does not advance goes backward."
"Keep going forward. If you stop, the wind will blow you back."
"Planting is less important than sowing, to have a good harvest."
"Every year should be more fruitful than the previous one."
"The years pass by, and eternity becomes closer."
"In the spiritual life, the faster we run, the less tired we feel."
"The road to perfection is as long as a lifetime."
"It is necessary to be strong, in order to become great: that is our duty."
"Drowning on high seas or chocking on a glass of water have death as the same outcome."

'Guard jealously the purity of your heart and your body."
"Make hay while the sun shines."
"Do not put off until tomorrow what you can do today."

"Detach yourself from the world."
"Repair the past and prepare for the future making good decisions."

"Don't philosophize on your defects."
"Fear is an evil worse than evil itself."
"Let us be honest always."
"Being attached to the things of the world brings sadness."

"Even when reprimanding one must be courteous and gentle."
"Gentleness doesn't mean permissiveness."
"Vainglory is the woodworm of holiness."
Do not be restless, upset, and anxious in times of darkness."
"It is easy and difficult to become a saint."

"Let your whole exterior be a vivid image of the composure of your soul."
"One day we will have to give strict account on how we spend our time."
"Let us be moved by the presence of God, who is also our judge."
"It is easier to cure a tumor than to change the heart of a person".

Giving a religious medal: "This is the weapon which will preserve you from your enemies".

"Blasphemy calls down malediction on your home; and, it destroys even the ashes in the fireplace."

"The more ridiculous the order, the more willingly I obey it."
"Ask for nothing and refuse nothing. One must always obey."
"Duty before anything else. Even before what is holy."

"Sadness is of no use to anyone."

"The mom teaches the child walking by supporting him. But later he has to walk by himself."
"Unable to take big steps be content with little steps, until you have the legs to run; or wings to fly."

Close Encounters of the Special Kind with PADRE PIO: hallways, backyard; around the world, ecstasies; Purgatory, Guardian Angel, devil; Americans; confessional, baptisms, first Communions, weddings;  Virgin Mary, Rosary; Wounds; Mass; himself, God, Jesus, Cross, Christmas, Church; spiritual children, meditation, prayer, Prayer Groups; child, novice, priest, soldier, feversfirst inquisition, Saint Mary of the Graces, Home for the Relief of Suffering (Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza); the most famous picture, children, blessings, at the ballots downtown, eating; second inquisition, last ten years, death; the Capuchin friars; entombed in first resting place, blessed, saint, exhumed, displayed, final resting place in golden crypt; mosaics of the life of Padre Pio, Jesus, Saint Francis of Assisi; fists class relics with certificates;original painting, original icon.
34. 수호천사의 존경
거룩한 천사들을 존경하십시오.
자주 여러분의 수호천사를 부르십시오.”
비오 신부
비오 신부의 크기를 전적으로 다 알려면 깊은 연구와 진지한 조사가 필요하다.
비오 신부를 연구한다는 것은 하나의 산을 끝까지 오르는 것과 같다. 그 산은 멀리서 보면 오르기가 쉬울 것 같고 높이도 빤한 것 같다. 그러나 정복하겠다고 나서면 그것은 끝이 없고 꼭대기는 무한히 치솟아 있다는 것을 알게 된다.
그의 인간적, 초자연적 인격을 좀 알았다 싶더라도, 매번 그에 관해서는 모르는 것이 더 많다는 것을 알게 된다.
여기서는 비오 신부와 그의 수호천사 사이의 관계, 그리고 이 천상 존재에 대한 그의 존경심을 자세히 이야기할까 한다.
비오 신부가 비오 신부인 까닭을 그는 대부분 그의 수호천사의 도움으로 돌리고 있다. 이 천상의 영()은 그를 어릴 적부터 이끌고 비추어, 얽히고설킨 고난의 길을 따라 성덕에 이르기까지 인도했다. 비오 신부는 수호천사의 손에서는 나긋나긋하고 시키는 대로하는 도구였다.
천사는 아이의 모습을 하고 있었고 그에게는 눈에 보이는 존재였다. 뒷날, 큰 성덕의 길에 들어섰을 때 비오 신부는 그를 곧잘 내 어릴 적부터의 친구라고 불렀다. 친구라는 것은 한두 번 만나고 마는 것이 아니기에 우리도 자주 친구를 찾아가 우정을 나눌 수 있을 것이다. 어릴 적의 비오 신부에게 그러한 천사는 그의 놀이 친구였다.
여기서 우리는 프란체스코가 왜 걸핏하면 동네 아이들을 피하고, 그들 탓이 없지는 않았지만 아이들과 어울려 놀지 않은 이유를 알 수 있을 것 같다. 그는 하늘로부터의 친구가 있었기에 소년기를 기쁘게 지내며 천국에 대한 동경심을 키웠던 것이다!
수호천사는 그의 어릴 적뿐 아니라 전 생애에 걸쳐 그의 충실한 반려자였다. 수호천사는 비오 신부가 이승을 하직하여 자신을 하느님께 봉헌할 때 함께 있는 존재였고, 그의 수련기와 수학의 시기에, 또 사제직을 준비하고 있을 때 그와 함께 있었고, 비오 신부가 그리스도의 충실한 종이 되도록 도와주었다. 그리고 그의 비범한 성덕의 길에서 언제나 바르게 인도해 주었다. 악령들이 젊은 수련자를 못살게 굴면 수호천사는 그를 도와주었다. 붸나프로에서 고삐가 풀린 이후 비오 신부의 전 생애에 걸쳐 줄곧 그를 괴롭힌 사탄과 싸우고 있을 때에도 천사는 한 번도 그를 떠나지 않았다.
비오 신부는 나름대로 수호천사에게 애정과 신뢰로 존경을 보내고 있었는데, 말하자면 그들 사이의 거리는 없는 거나 마찬가지여서, 마치 비오 신부가 거의 천사처럼, 또 천사가 거의 사람처럼 되는 친밀감 속에서 살고 있었다. 세월이 지나면서 두 존재의 관계는 더욱 더 깊어져, 이 거룩한 신부는 하느님이 부르심에 따라 성덕의 경지에까지 올라갔다.
수호천사는 비오 신부를 위해 신기한 방법으로 전권을 행사했다. 그의 사명은 언제나 사탄의 간계를 물리치는 데에 있었다.
1912년 비오 신부의 지도를 맡고 있던 라미스의 아고스티노 신부는 좀 독특한 생각을 했다. 그는 비오 신부의 성덕을 시험하는 사이 마귀에게 또 하나의 패배를 안겨 주었다. 그는 비오 신부가 모르는 외국어로 편지를 썼다. 이리하여 고해신부와 제자 사이에 불어와 그리스어로 편지가 교환되었다. 비오 신부는 이 시험을 거뜬히 치러 내었는데 그것은 그에게 번역을 맡아 준 수호천사라는 친구가 있었기 때문이다! 여기에는 명확한 증거가 있다.
이 독특한 통신이 오가고 있을 당시 비오 신부는 건강 때문에 고향 피에트렐치나에 와 있었는데, 그의 직속 장상은 그곳의 살봐토레 파눌로 주임신부였다. 이 사제는 비오 신부가 그리스어로 된 그의 고해신부의 편지 내용을 자기에게 말하더라는 사실을, 마음이 내킨 김에 편지 여백에다 메모해 두었다. 그는 또, “나는 그가 그리스어의 알파벳도 모르면서 어떻게 그 편지를 읽고 이해했는지를 물었다. 그의 대답은, 그건 그러니까, 저의 수호천사가 모두 알려준답니다, 라는 것이었다.” 라고 말하고 있다. 비오 신부 자신도 이 말이 사실임을 확인했다.
한번은 아고스티노 신부가 정색을 하고 묻자, 비오 신부는 예레미아의 말을 따서 대답했다.
,네쇼 로키, 저는 그 외국어는 전혀 모르며 말도 할 줄 모릅니다. 1912920일의 편지에서 비오 신부는 누가 그에게 가르쳐 주는지 말하고 있다. “천상의 그 존재는 언제라도 나를 찾아옵니다. 한 천사가 해야 하는 일만 해도 적지 않은데, 나의 수호천사는 내게 외국어까지 가르쳐야 하니 더 바쁘답니다.”
이 말은 아고스티노 신부의 말과 정확하게 일치하고 있다. “비오 신부는 그리스어도 불어도 모릅니다. 수호천사가 다 가르쳐 주는 것이지요.”
그 수호천사-선생의 도움은 대단한 것이어서, 비오 신부는 이 외국어로 글을 쓰기도 했다. 유물로 남은 그의 서한집(76번과 96)에는 수호천사의 도움을 받아 불어로 쓴 두 통의 편지가 있다는 것을 우리는 알고 있다.
그 사이를 비집고 마귀는 간계를 번뜩이며 들어왔으나, 그것은 천사가 물리칠 몫이었다. 한번은 비오 신부가 온통 잉크 얼룩으로 못 읽게 된 편지를 받았다. 마귀가 못 읽게 훼방을 놀았으나, 천사가 와서 그를 도와준 이야기를 그는 그의 고해신부에게 보고했다. “착한 천사의 도움을 받아 우리는 또다시 코삭 기병의 올가미를 빠져 나왔습니다. 천사가 제게 당신의 편지를 개봉하기 전에 성수를 뿌리라고 암시했던 것입니다! 신부님의 지난 번 편지를 받고도 그렇게 했지요. 푸른 수염장이(동화 속의 악당, 역자 주)의 분노를 어떻게 다 묘사할 수 있을지요? 그는 저를 어떤 수를 써서라도 없애려 했습니다. 마귀는 자기 재간을 다 부려서 전력투구로 덤볐습니다만, 그때마다 나가떨어졌습니다. 천사가 제게 보장해 준 말이 있습니다. 하늘이 너와 함께 하신단다!”
물론 마귀는 손을 들지 않았다. 한번은 마귀가 그의 동료의 모습을 하고 나타나서 비오 신부에게, 관구의 조치를 전하는 것이라며, 그는 앞으로는 고해신부에게 편지를 써서는 안 된다고 했다. 그것은 청빈의 서원에 위배되고 종교적 완덕을 걷는 길에서 결정적 장애가 된다는 것이었다. 이 말에 속은 비오 신부는 여기서 받을 영적 손실을 생각하고 탄식했다. 그러나 천사는 그를 지켜보면서 아무 손상도 입지 않게 해주었다.
그때 저는 그것이 푸른 수염장이의 간계라는 것을 전혀 알지 못했습니다만, 천사가 그 원수의 속임수에서 저를 빼내 주었습니다. 그리고 저를 납득시킨다고 노력한 천사의 수고는 하느님만이 아실 것입니다.”
천사는 그를 위로하고 다시 평화를 찾게 해주었다. “내 어릴 적부터의 친구는, 배반한 천사인 마귀가 나를 찝쩍일 때 고통을 경감해 주려고 백방으로 애씁니다.”
밤낮 할 것 없이 비오 신부는 어떤 초 자연권()에서 살고 있었다. 잠잘 때 그는 황홀경에 빠졌고 꿈은 환영으로 바뀌었다. “눈을 감으면 장막이 올라가 하늘이 내 앞에 펼쳐집니다. 이러한 환영을 즐기면서 입술에는 행복한 미소를, 이마에는 완전한 평화를 느끼며 나는 잠듭니다.”
하지만 이 휴식은 오래 지속될 수 없었다. 그를 바라며, 은혜와 도움의 기도를 해 달라고 청해 오는 영혼이 너무나 많았기 때문이다.
아씨시의 성 프란치스코는 온 세상의 조물주에게 영광을 드리게끔 그를 정각에 깨워 준 팔켄 수사를 미더워 하고 있었다. 비오 신부에게 이 일을 해준 것은 그의 수호천사였다. 늦잠 잘 걱정이 없었다. 그래서 그는 내 어릴 적부터의 친구가 나를 깨우러 오기 때문에, 우리의 사랑이신 주님께 아침의 찬미가를 함께 부른다는 기대에 부풀어안심하고 잘 수가 있었다.
그들은 함께 싸웠고 함께 기도했고, 주님이신 하느님을 함께 찬미했다.
천사는 늘 비오 신부 옆에 있기는 하지만 눈에 뜨이지 않는 수가 있다. 그러면 비오 신부는 불안을 느낀다. 마귀가 나타나면 그는 지체 없이 수호천사를 불러 도움을 청하고, 그 손에서 벗어났다. 어느 날 마귀의 공격이 있고 난 후에 천사가 나타나더니 그에게 이런 설명을 해주었다. “예수님은 마귀의 이 정도의 공격은 허용하신단다. 이 정도의 공격은 너에게 남을 이해하는 마음을 환기시켜 오히려 감당하기 쉽게 하는 거야. 예수님은 자신이 사막에서, 올리브 산에서 그리고 십자가에서 겪으신 죽음의 공포를 가르치시어 그분을 닮게 하시려는 거야.”
비오 신부의 삶에서 그가 처했던 여러 시기, 특히 그의 만년을 돌이켜보면 천사가 전해 준 이 말이 얼마나 예언적인 것이었던가를 알 수 있다.
사탄이 그를 꾸준히 괴롭히고 때로는 으스러뜨리려 해도 비오 신부는 다 알고 참아 내었다. 한번은 그 싸움이 여느 때보다 심해져서 비오 신부도 지치게 되자 그는 하늘을 보고 필사적으로 탄원했는데, 정작 하늘은 갑자기 벙어리가 되어 본 척도 하지 않았다. 난파선이 된 절망적인 심정으로 비오 신부는 천사를 불렀으나 그 역시 기다리라고만 했다. 하지만 끝내는 돌아와서 그를 위로하는 것이었다.
이 에피소드는 비오 신부가 직접 이야기한 것이다. “그는 늘 그랬던 것처럼 나의 불평을 살짝 비켰지요. 나는 왜 그리 오랫동안 자리를 비웠느냐고 투덜거렸습니다..” (비오 신부가 어떻게 투덜거렸는지 궁금하다!) 그의 말은 계속된다. “좀 골려 주려고 그를 보려고도 안했고, 그를 피했지요.!” (한 인간이 그의 천사를 골려 주려 했고, 말도 듣지 않으려 했다니!)
다른 성인들의 삶에서도 이런 일이 있었는지 나는 알지 못한다. 이러한 신뢰로 그 두 피조물들이 서로 사귀었다면 그들 사이의 사랑이 어느 정도였는지 가히 짐작이 간다. 물론 제일 마지막 말은 언제나 천사의 몫이었다.
비오 신부는 계속했다. “하지만 그는, 가엾은 그는, 거의 울다시피 내 팔을 잡아당기며 자기를 보라고 했습니다. 눈을 들어서 보니 그도 괴로워하고 있었습니다.”
이것을 보면, 마치 버릇없는 아이가 엄마에게 치근거리며 장난치고 있는 것 같다.
네 곁에 있잖아, 이 친구야라고 천사가 말했다, “나는 늘 네 곁에 있어. 너를 사랑하는 내 마음은 변치 않아요, 죽을 때까지!” 이 말은 진정 사랑의 고백이었고, 그것은 1912년 이래 그의 장래를 보장해 주는 말이기도 했다.
그리고 나서 천사는 이루 형용할 수 없는 말로, 수 백 년 전 프란치스코 성인을 위로했던 천사의 노래인 양 그를 위안했다.
이러한 모든 일이 우리와 그토록 가까웠던 한 사람에게, 우리와 함께 살았던 한 사람에게, 또 그토록 크면서도 인간적이었고 또 우리의 어려움과 소원을 자기 일처럼 생각해 주던 한 사람에게 실제로 일어나고 있었다.
하느님은 그에게 특별한 은사를 주셨지만, 그는 겸손한 마음으로 그것을 주위 사람들의 눈에 뜨이지 않게 하고 있었다. 하다못해 그는 자신의 결점을 밖으로 노출시키면서까지 사람들의 관심을 비껴서, 그가 받은 은사에 쏠리는 시선에서 벗어나고 있었다.
사실 우리도 이러한 수에 빠져들고 있었다. 솔직히 말해서 우리는 그가 때때로 사람들을 너무 거칠게 다루는 모습을 보고 깜짝깜짝 놀란 일이 한두 번이 아니었다. 그러나 그의 내적 생활의 깊이를 잘 알게 되면서부터, 신부는 우리에게 전혀 다른 빛으로 다가왔다.
우리는 그의 생시에 그 영혼의 활동에 힘입은 이상하고 초자연적인 세계를 발견하고도, 일상사에서 헤매며 질투심과 열등감을 주체 못하는 우리 개개인을 그가 어떻게 대처했는지 전혀 이해하지 못했다! 지상에서의 긴 대기 시간과 세상은 날로 더 나빠져 간다는 근심에 지친 채, 그는 지상에서 일구어 간 영적 화해의 노력으로 끊임없이 기도했고, 또 그의 기도는 이루어졌다.
수호천사는 그를 하느님의 옥좌가 있는 곳까지 동반해 갔다.
거기서는 둘이 함께 겪은 긴 불안과 공포의 막이 내리고, 그들은 이제 드높으신 분에 몰입하여 영복을 누리고 있다.
-아르니 신부지음, 최 옥식 교수 번역 에서