The WORD in other words (2021) by Fr. Aris Martin, SVD (U.S.A.)
Visiting the Shrine of Padre Pio in Italy taught me to live life in its fullness by being guided by his words: “Pray, hope, and do not worry.”
Prayer, in the first reading, is not only about me listening to God, but like Haggai, it’s about providing a space for others to listen to God. “Go up into the hill country; bring timber and build (my house),” says the Lord. While we need to pray, we must build an atmosphere for others to pray. Prayer is listening and opening. Following the example of Padre Pio, no prayer is left unanswered if we listen and are open to God.
A prayerful person is also hopeful. The responsorial psalm is a prayer that never gives up, “The Lord takes delight in His people.” God won’t give up on us. Padre Pio says, “Have courage and do not fear the assaults of the devil. Remember, it is a healthy sign if the devil shouts and roars around your conscience; this shows that he is not inside your will.” Never can the devil penetrate a sanctuary reserved for you and God. This sanctuary is our place of hope.
For this reason, let us not worry. Herod, the worrier, is the enemy of Jesus. Worry is an indicator of a lack of prayer, lack of hope, the inability to listen to God, and being insecure. Back to the shrine, I was led to pray at the chapel where Padre Pio celebrated Masses, and to confess to an old priest who still had firsthand experience with the saintly man. I went home guided by a life simplified by prayer, hope, and not worrying.