And yet, it was not a hard gaze; no, it was a sweet one. When he looked at you, he stripped you. If Padre Pio looked at you and smiled, you felt you had received a blessing.
If he did not look at you, you were afraid. Padre Pio knew that being a minister of the sacrament of reconciliation was a great responsibility. The responsibility often weighed heavily on him.
Be careful not to pour out such precious blood too easily or too lightly. German-born Friedrich Abresch lived in Bologna, Italy where he worked as a professional photographer. Friedrich was a Catholic in name only. He did not have faith in the teachings of the Church. He rarely went to Mass and as time passed he began to feel a great antipathy for anything that had to do with Catholicism. Later, he took up the study of spiritualism, occultism, and magic.
When Friedrich learned about Padre Pio, his curiosity was aroused. He was fascinated by the stories of the miracles and healings associated with Padre Pio and wanted to make a trip to San Giovanni Rotondo in order to meet him.
Friedrich wondered how it could be possible. Friedrich was finally able to make the trip to see Padre Pio in He was twenty-eight years old.
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When he arrived at the monastery of Our Lady of Grace, Padre Pio greeted him, but was by no means cordial. He only made a few rather cold remarks. Friedrich had traveled a long distance from Bologna to the little town of San Giovanni Rotondo and was somehow expecting a friendlier reception. Later, when Friedrich made his confession to Padre Pio, Padre Pio told him that in his previous confessions, he had withheld serious sins from his confessor.
His words, which were true, shocked Friedrich. He wondered how Padre Pio could have known.
Padre Pio then asked Friedrich if his previous confessions had been made in good faith. He answered that they had not.
Friedrich told Padre Pio that he did not believe in the sacrament of confession. Although he felt that it was a useful psychological and social tool, he did not believe that it could impart grace. However, Friedrich had been deeply moved by his few moments with Padre Pio and by the fact that Padre Pio could see into the secret depth of his soul. As though in great pain, Padre Pio told Friedrich that his beliefs were all heresies. He added that all of his past communions had been sacrilegious.
You must make a general confession. Friedrich felt shaken to his roots by his contact with Padre Pio. He also felt dazed and confused. He tried to gather his thoughts together but he could not seem to concentrate. He made a supreme effort to recall the last time he made a sincere confession. Try as he might, he could not remember. He tried to focus his mind and make an examination of conscience so that he would be prepared to make a general confession.
Friedrich decided that he would tell Padre Pio that he had been a Lutheran before converting to Catholicism.
He would explain that he had been conditionally baptized into the Catholic Church. At that time, all of his sins were forgiven. He would begin his confession by talking about his childhood. When Friedrich knelt before Padre Pio once again in the confessional, before he could finish his first sentence, Padre Pio interrupted him.
Friedrich was not sure if he had ever made a good confession. He told Padre Pio that he could not remember. Padre Pio then reminded him of the time, adding some of the particulars of that confession. It took place shortly after Friedrich was married. That confession had long slipped from his memory but he realized that Padre Pio was right. Friedrich was astonished that Padre Pio had such detailed knowledge of the events of his past life. He realized that he had come in contact with the supernatural. He was even able to state the number of times he had neglected to go to Mass.
He made Friedrich understand the gravity of the state of his soul. He then gave Friedrich a penance. When Padre Pio pronounced the words of absolution, Friedrich found it hard to breathe. He felt like he was suffocating. But after he left the confessional, his joy was so great that he could hardly contain himself. From that day forward, Friedrich attended Mass every day. He stated that his faith was so strong that no one would ever be able to shake it.
He would prefer to lose his life rather than his faith. Friedrich had a great desire to be near Padre Pio. There, they became active members of the Third Order of St. They were very happy living close to Padre Pio and participating in the spiritual life of the church of Our Lady of Grace. He had not asked permission to do so.
The next time he wanted to take a photograph of Padre Pio, he asked for his permission. Padre Pio was strongly opposed to the idea and would not agree to it. But Friedrich was persistent. He asked the Capuchin superior for permission and he gave his consent. Padre Pio submitted out of obedience to his superior but he still resisted the idea.
When Padre Pio was told that the photos were a consolation to many people, he finally became more accepting. In honor of their spiritual father, when Amalia and Friedrich welcomed their newborn son into the world, they named him Pio. Padre Pio predicted that Pio Abresch would one day become a priest and would have a high position in the Church. His prophecy came true. Pio Abresch was ordained to the priesthood in Friedrich Abresch died in August , almost one year after the death of Padre Pio. Biagio Fusco saw Padre Pio for the first time in Some of his relatives had urged him to make the trip to San Giovanni Rotondo and he also felt motivated by a certain sense of curiosity regarding Padre Pio.
He happened to arrive at the monastery just as Padre Pio had begun to say Mass. During the Mass, Biagio began to think about how far he had drifted from his faith. His moral and spiritual life had been on the downhill slide for a long time.
Biagio was also able to make his confession to Padre Pio. The church and the confessional were very crowded that day. The Italian state police the Carabenieri were present to maintain order in the church. After Biagio returned to his home, he continued to think about Padre Pio. Before his visit to Padre Pio, nothing could motivate him to change his life. He was attached to his sins and did not have the will or the desire to change. But the short visit to Padre Pio produced a radical transformation in his life.
Sometimes Biagio noticed the unexplainable scent of violets, roses, and incense in the air. He felt it was a sign that Padre Pio was trying to encourage him to sustain his faith in its first steps. Several years later, Biagio returned to the monastery of Our Lady of Grace and was able once again to make his confession to Padre Pio. You are a backslider. He was astonished that Padre Pio was able to remember what he had confessed to him in the past.
In the confessional, he explained to Padre Pio that he would soon be taking an examination for a teaching position. He had been trying for four years to obtain a job as a teacher, to no avail.