Daily Thought For July 23, 2015

Glimpse into the life of a Saint

One of the conversions brought about by Padre Pio resulted in a chain reaction. It was that of the lawyer Cesare Festa, an avowed and prominent Freemason, cousin of Padre Pio’s personal doctor, Giorgio Festa. One day Giorgio challenged his cousin to visit Padre Pio and see for himself the supernatural powers he denounced so strongly. The lawyer accepted the challenge and went to San Giovanni Rotondo. Padre Pio was talking with some people when he noticed Cesare Festa. Immediately Padre Pio left the group and confronted the lawyer: “Well! Why are you here with us? You are a prominent Freemason.” The lawyer agreed. Padre Pio then asked, “What is the duty of freemasonry?” The lawyer replied, “To overthrow the Church.”

After this preamble, which no one had expected, Padre Pio changed his clothes, took the lawyer by the hand, and invited him to follow him. Padre Pio told the story of the Prodigal Son simply and effectively. Suddenly Cesare identified with the young man and, even more, began to feel very intensely the love that God has for those who stray from him. Cesare gave in and went to confession, and when he got up from his knees, he had the impression that he had been born again into a new kind of life.

Some days later he went back to Padre Pio who wrote these words for him on the title page of a New Testament: “Blessed are those who listen to the word of God, guard it jealously, and accomplish it faithfully.” This was a warning and an exhortation to Cesare to be rooted in his new state of grace. The lawyer understood and welcomed this. He resolved to remain faithful to this new way of life.

One day he decided to go on a pilgrimage to Lourdes. When members of the Freemasons’ Lodge in Genoa heard of this, they became alarmed at the possible consequences of such a conversion. They called a meeting to solemnly condemn this turncoat. In no way intimidated, Cesare Festa decided to attend the meeting. As he was leaving for the meeting, someone brought him a letter from Padre Pio encouraging him not to be ashamed of his faith and to fight: “The Lord will help you.” At the meeting, the former Freemason explained his conversion and rigorously defended the Church. After this he became a fervent Christian and a devout follower of Padre Pio.

Cataneo, P. (2013). Padre Pio, Glimpse into the Miraculous. (M. McCollum & G. Dextraze, Trans.) (pp. 16–17). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

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