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Saturday, December 14, 2013
St Padre Pio as the Aged Simeon: An Advent Meditation

Isn’t this picture of the Holy Capuchin Priest striking as realistic and beautiful as he presents the Divine Infant for our veneration? What strength on the one hand and what gentleness on the other! What a contrast between the manly face which is a little rough of the courageous son of Saint Francis and that of the little King of hearts! What a difference between these two right hands that we see: this tiny one which is tendered graciously towards us, and that adult and imposing one which hides its wound and its terrible sufferings under the black mitten and the lace of his alb! On the one hand the strength of a male athlete whose life is but a perpetual and dolorous immolation for God and souls, a fierce combat against sins and the demon (Bluebeard, as he calls him) and the on the other hand, the sweetness and abandon of a peaceful Baby.

But if one penetrates even further in the contemplation of this picture and thinks of Christmas Night, one perceives how goodness and sweetness is also found in the celebrated stigmatist. Loaded with such a noble burden, how lightly he walks, how his heart must be entirely enflamed at the touch of Jesus, so precious and amiable. And faith makes us see in this little Infant of Christmas the Strong God, The Lord of Hosts, Who begins His gigantic course to become one day at His turn cruelly stigmatized and immolated. He who is carried gives to him who carries Him all the strength he has need of to advance in his career of Priest and victim. “The old man carried the Infant, says the liturgy of the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple, but the Infant governed the old man.” (The Alleluia verse from the Mass, taken from a profound remark of Saint Augustine).

Meditation on this picture of our Capuchin “Simeon” and of his Heavenly burden will aid us to understand that in the Heart of God and of His Saints, there is as much strength as there is gentleness, as much unction as there is courage. In God and in those who resemble Him, the rigor, the intransigence, in respect to evil and error, doesn’t take away suppleness, goodness and condescension. This is a harmony and equilibrium that often escapes us. Our frailty makes us pass from stiffness to laxity, from hardness to liberality, from willfulness to passiveness, or vice versa.

The Great Antiphon that the Church has us sing before the Magnificat of Vespers on December 17th (the first of the “O” Antiphons) is perfectly adapted to our needs as children of our Seraphic Father and of Padre Pio. Before the image of the Divine Infant, let us repeat it several times with confidence: “O Wisdom, that proceeds from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end, mightily and sweetly disposing all things, come to teach us the way of prudence.”

Source: Written by Fr. Jacques Emily, TOSF chaplain.  If you are interested in joining the Traditional Third Order Franciscans, please contact:

Fr. Jacques Emily, TOSF chaplain
St. Aloysius Gonzaga Retreat House
PO Box 1379 Los Gatos, CA 95031
408-354-7703 tel | 408-354-7369 fax


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