Written by: Brother William Trauba Capuchin

Dear Friends of Padre Pio,
Peace and goodwill to each of you!
The pace of life is rapid and at times confusing with a myriad of options tantalizing our senses and insistent voices demanding our attention and choice. It is all too easy to let oneself be led by impulse and not precisely knowing the best choice, to choose precariously and with counterproductive and unforeseen consequences. What can one do to maintain focus on the goals most important, the goals that reside and emanate from the depths of our being?
Padre Pio practiced much discipline and austerity in his life precisely to maintain the priority of the goals indicated to him by our Lord who was always his primary goal. Come what may, Padre Pio determined to always remain faithful to God. His principal means of achieving his fundamental desire was obedience. This obedience to God was communicated and expressed in various ways to him through secondary authorities such as the Church and the doctrine that it conserves and proclaims, the voice of God through the indications of his religious superiors, and by being faithful to his own conscience. With his deep and ample experience in this area of inner integration, Padre Pio was able to counsel his spiritual sons and daughters on how to proceed in times of confusion without sacrificing the liberty enjoyed by the sons and daughters of God. An example of his insight on this theme of obedience is found in his letter to this spiritual son, Luis Bozzuto, written November 25, 1917. Padre Pio states:

The prime and principal maxim that you should engrave in your mind is this: obedience, always obedience, and a complete submission to obedience. Therefore, you should not detain yourself by reasoning over your actions; and before whatever doubt that may confront you, go forward without anxiety, and put to one side everything, having holy obedience as your support. Jesus will always be pleased with whatever you do in this way. Avoid only that which you clearly see to be sinful. Only that does not fall under obedience. And remember well what I have said that Jesus will be always be pleased with whatever be your action because, when the habitual will is that of pleasing God – and this will is that which I have assured you and I further assure you anew that you have – each action will be pleasing, and it should make no difference to you whether you see it or not with your intelligence. Jesus sees the intention of your will, which is that to please him always. Therefore, my son, do not worry when faced with your doubts or fears; let it be sufficient for you to know, by way of the word of authority, that Jesus is pleased with your action. … Therefore, with no fear in your relationship with God, be resigned and patient and one day you will see the whole and perfect light.

The reflection continues: Our concept of obedience is often negative in that it is frequently in disagreement with our point of view or desire. It is usually difficult to submit to a superior authority and permit that authority to educate and form our conscience. Self-centeredness is the order of the day for most persons who do not see why they should trouble themselves for something that has no clear and immediate benefits for them. Furthermore, they resent someone telling them how to live or what to do. They want to be not only autonomous and independent but also self-sufficient only asking (and demanding) that they have the power to control the circumstances to their pleasure. Besides making teamwork difficult, the danger of this attitude is that it leads to a decision that separates them from others and erodes their relationship with other people. By not knowing that love engenders life, the person asphyxiates himself or herself slowly in emptiness and loneliness.
We are not convinced that we cannot be happy by ourselves. O rather, we say that if I have all that I want, then I will be happy. This is absolutely false! Happiness is the perception of a good that I already possess. The greatest good that I possess is life. Our life and existence are the result of God having created us by loving us. This love is gratuitous and unconditional on the part of God but conditioned on our part. Love implies a giving and a receiving, a communication with the other. The result is that the person cannot receive the love of God if there is no receptivity on his part. This receptivity occurs when the person loves God and the presence of God in the other person. If not, the person remains alive but without knowing how to live.
Knowing how to love is knowing how to live and knowing how to live is happiness. The object of our love in the other person is his human dignity, the capacity to know, to understand, and to choose. We call this capacity the image of Christ. Frequently, the behavior of the person distracts us from his inherent dignity thus, we remain transfixed in emotional encounters with the behavior of the person forgetting his or her essential goodness as a human being, forgetting how to love him or her as Jesus loves us. As Jesus is patient and persevering in hoping for our growth, in this same way he teaches us to maintain a persevering hope in the goodness and growth of my neighbor. Even though the person that I love with this faithfulness does not change, I give my testimony of love and leave the change of heart in the merciful hands of God.
The primary goal of life is to learn how to love and to be loved. Love is always expressed through faithfulness. This faithfulness is an obedience to God and to the inherent dignity of each person. Obedience expressed in faithfulness keeps us interrelated to God, to one another, and with all of creation. No one is self-sufficient, no one has the totality of life, only God.
In the end, fidelity is founded in the intercommunication of radical love among the three persons of the Blessed Trinity. The paradigm of this interrelational loving is universal and constitutive of all that exists. It behooves us then to decide to participate in this life of universal love expressed in fidelity to God with all our resources and loving one another as he loves us. We do this obeying him with love, hope, and gratitude. When we have synchronized with his love our soul will resonate with a profound and lasting peace.
Your brother in Christ Jesus,
Fray Guillermo Trauba, Capuchin

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