The Devil

                

The Devil exists as much today as he did in the past. He continues to seduce mankind into sin.  The attitude of a disciple of Christ must be vigilant and strong in any confrontation with Satan. You can not be indifferent to his existence. It seems the mentality of people today is to relegate the figure of the Devil into ancient mythology and folklore. Baudelaire justly affirms that “The Masterpiece of Satan in the Modern Time” is to have people believe he does not exist.  It is not easy, therefore, for many to imagine the recent appearance of Satan when he came from hell to fight against Padre Pio. These battles were bloody in nature, as described in many letters that Father Pio sent to his Spiritual Fathers.             

One of the first contacts that Padre Pio had with the prince of evil occurred in 1906.  One night, Padre had returned to the convent of Saint Elia of Pianisi.  He couldn't fall asleep that night because of the enormous summer heat. He heard the footsteps of someone coming from a nearby room. Padre Pio thought, "Apparently, Friar Anastasio couldn’t sleep either."  He wanted to call out to him so that they could visit and speak for awhile. He went to the window and tried calling to his companion, but he was unable to speak. On the ledge of a nearby window, he saw a monstrous dog. Padre Pio, with terror in his voice, said, “I saw the big dog enter through the window and there was smoke coming from his mouth.  I fell on the bed and I heard a voice from the dog that said, "him it is, it is him". While I was still on the bed, the animal jumped to the ledge of the window, then to the roof and disappeared."

The Devil attacked Padre Pio with numerous types of temptations. Padre Augustine also confirmed that the Devil appeared to him under many different forms.  "The Devil appeared as young girls that danced naked, as a crucifix, as a young friend of the monks, as the Spiritual Father or as the Provincial Father; as Pope Pius X, a Guardian Angel, as St. Francis and as Our Lady.”  The Devil has also appeared in his horrible forms with an army of infernal spirits. There were other times when Padre Pio was approached by the Devil but without any apparition. He was troubled with deafening noises and covered with spittle, etc. Padre Pio succeeded in freeing himself from these attacks of the Devil by invoking the name of Jesus.

The struggle between Padre Pio and Satan became more difficult when Padre Pio freed the souls possessed by the Devil.  Father Tarcisio of Cervinara said, "More than once, before leaving the body of a possessed, the Devil has shouted, "Padre Pio, you give us more trouble than St. Michael"; also, "Father Pio don't steal the bodies from us and we won't bother you."

    Padre Pio described the Devil's assaults in many letters he sent to his Spiritual Fathers. .

In one of the letters to Padre Agostino, dated January 18, 1912, he stated, “The Devil does not want to lose this battle. He takes on many forms. For several days now, he has appeared with his brothers who are armed with batons and pieces of iron.  One of the difficulties is that they appear in many disguises. There were several times when they threw me out of my bed and dragged me out of my bedroom.  I am patient, however, and I know Jesus, Our Lady, my Guardian Angel, St. Joseph and St. Francis are always with me.”  

(PADRE PIO DA PIETRELCINA: Epistolario I° (1910-1922) a cura di Melchiorre da Pobladura e Alessandro da Ripabottoni - Edizioni "Padre Pio da Pietrelcina" Convento S.Maria delle Grazie San Giovanni Rotondo - FG)

(Letter to padre Agostino of November 5, 1912) “Dear Father, this is, by the mercy of God, my second letter to you, and is similar to the first.  I am sure that Padre Evangelista has already informed you about the new war that the demons, impure apostates, are making on me. My father, they cannot win because of my constancy.  I must tell you about the traps they set for me, and how they tempt me to ignore your suggestions.  I find your letters to be my only my comfort; and I glorify God that they serve to confuse them.   I cannot explain to you how severely they are attacking me. Sometimes I think I‘m going to die. Saturday I thought they really wanted to kill me, I didn’t know which saint to ask for help. I turned to my angel, but he deliberately delayed.  At last he came flying around me and singing hymns to God with his angelic voice. Then one of those usual scenes happened: I harshly scolded him about his delay, when I had called to him so earnestly for help.   To punish him, I deliberately did not face him, wanting him to keep his distance.  But the poor thing finally got my attention by crying, and when I faced him, I perceived that he was sorry.”

(PADRE PIO DA PIETRELCINA: Epistolario I° (1910-1922) a cura di Melchiorre da Pobladura e Alessandro da Ripabottoni - Edizioni "Padre Pio da Pietrelcina" Convento S.Maria delle Grazie San Giovanni Rotondo - FG)

(Letter to padre Agostino dated November 18, 1912)  “The enemy doesn’t want to leave me alone; he constantly attacks me.  He tries to poison my life with his infernal traps. He is upset that I tell you these facts, suggesting that I keep them from you as our secret.  He tells me to reveal to you only the good visits that I receive; in fact he says that you like only these stories. The pastor has been informed of the battle that I am doing with these demons, and with reference to your letters, he suggested that I open the letter only in his presence.  When your first letter arrived, therefore, I went to open it in his office. But as soon as I opened the letter in the presence of the pastor, we found the letter was all smeared with ink. Was it a devil’s revenge? I could not believe that you would send me a letter in that condition, especially since you know that I don’t see well.   At first we could not read the letter, but then we placed a crucifix on it, and then we could read it, at least in part.

(PADRE PIO DA PIETRELCINA: Epistolario I° (1910-1922) a cura di Melchiorre da Pobladura e Alessandro da Ripabottoni - Edizioni "Padre Pio da Pietrelcina" Convento S.Maria delle Grazie San Giovanni Rotondo - FG)

(Letter to Padre Agostino dated 13 February, 1913) “Now, twenty-two days have passed, since Jesus allowed the devils to vent their anger on me. My Father, my whole body is bruised from the beatings that I have received to the present time by our enemies. Several times, they have even torn off my shirt so that they could strike my exposed flesh.”

(PADRE PIO DA PIETRELCINA: Epistolario I° (1910-1922) a cura di Melchiorre da Pobladura e Alessandro da Ripabottoni - Edizioni "Padre Pio da Pietrelcina" Convento S.Maria delle Grazie San Giovanni Rotondo - FG)

(Letter to Padre Benedetto dated March 18th, 1913) “These devils don’t stop striking me, even making me fall down from the bed.  They even tear off my shirt to beat me! But now they do not frighten me anymore. Jesus loves me, He often lifts me and places me back on the bed“

(PADRE PIO DA PIETRELCINA: Epistolario I° (1910-1922) a cura di Melchiorre da Pobladura e Alessandro da Ripabottoni - Edizioni "Padre Pio da Pietrelcina" Convento S.Maria delle Grazie San Giovanni Rotondo - FG)

Satan went beyond all the limits of deception when he went to Father Pio pretending to be a penitent. This is the Father Pio’s testimony:  “One day, while I was hearing confessions, a man came to the confessional where I was. He was tall, handsome, dressed with some refinement and he was kind and polite. He started to confess his sins, which were of every kind: against God, against man and against the morals. All the sins were obnoxious! I was disoriented, in fact for all the sins that he told me, but I responded to him with God’s Word, the example of the Church, and the morals of the Saints.   But the enigmatic penitent answered me word for word, justifying his sins, always with extreme ability and politeness.  He excused all the sinful actions, making them sound quite normal and natural, even comprehensible on the human level.. He continued this way with the sins that were gruesome against God, Our Lady, the Saints, always using disrespectful round-about argumentation. He kept this up even with with the foulest of sins that could be conjured in the mind of a most sinful man.  The answers that he gave me with such skilled subtlety and malice surprised me. I wondered: who is he? What world does he come from? And I tried to look at him in order to read something on his face. At the same time I concentrated on every word he spoke, trying to discover any clue to his identity.. But suddenly; through a vivid, radiant and internal light I clearly recognized who he was. With a sound and imperial tone I told him: “Say long live Jesus, long live Mary!” As soon as I pronounced these sweet and powerful names, Satan instantly disappeared in a trickle of fire, leaving behind him an unbearable stench.”  (Don Pierino is a priest and one of the father Pio’s spiritual sons who were present at the same time.)

Fr. Perino tells this story:  “One day, Padre Pio was in the confessional, hidden by two curtains. The curtains of the confessional were not closed all the way and I succeeded in seeing padre Pio. The men, following the bookings, were prepared on a side, all in single row. From the place where I was, I read the Breviary and, sometimes I looked up to see the Padre. From the little church, through the door, a man came. He was handsome, with small and black eyes, grizzled hair, with a dark jacket and ruled trousers. I didn’t want him to distract me and so I kept on reciting the breviary, but an internal voice told me: “Stop and look!“ I stopped and looked at padre Pio. That man, while taking footstep back and forth and without waiting his turn, stopped just in front of the confessional, after the previous penitent went away. He immediately entered among the curtains, standing, up in front of padre Pio. Then I didn’t see the dark haired man after that moment. Following some minutes I saw that man sank on the floor with his legs widened. On the chair in the confessional, where Padre Pio had been sitting, I didn’t see padre Pio anymore; but, Jesus. He was blond, young and handsome and he gazed upon the man that had fell to the floor. Then again I saw padre Pio coming up from there. He returned to take a seat to in his place and his appearance melted with Jesus’ appearance. Then I saw only Padre Pio. I immediately heard his voice: “Hurry up, everyone.”  Nobody noticed this happening!  Everybody started with their turn again.

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