In a world full of unrest, uncertainty, and fear, Kathy Perusek observes that living the words of Padre Pio help us find peace.
We are undoubtedly living through difficult and trying times. Every time we glance at our phones, downright frightening headlines jump out at us. And it is difficult to find truth in the public square. Many are lonely, living in isolation, protecting themselves and their families from the dreaded virus, unsure of what tomorrow will bring. And our unseen enemy, Satan, prowls around sowing fear, discord, and division everywhere, tempting many to despair.
I too, struggle with feelings of sadness, anger, frustration, and loneliness. I constantly pray to remain humble, not judging others who do not share the same opinions that I hold. I do not have all the answers. People, even in my own family, need to do as they feel best. When I pray for wisdom, I realize that there are many reasons that affect how my loved ones will respond to the frightening events in our world today. I love my country and my Church so much, and it deeply saddens and angers me to see them both being destroyed by those with nefarious motives, while many of our citizens remain blind. I tend to become anxious over posting on social media.
When I find myself losing peace, I am reminded of the words of one of my favorite saints, Padre Pio, who tells us to “Pray, hope, and don’t worry!” Padre Pio was a Capuchin priest and stigmatic, who lived in the twentieth century, passing into glory in 1968. He had many supernatural gifts, such as the reading of souls and bilocation. He endured physical pain from the stigmata (the bleeding wounds of Christ), which brought him embarrassment as well, for most of his life. He was physically attacked by demons. He was calumniated by those within the Church and even forbidden to say Mass for a time. He endured all, with humility and patience. His ministry brought miraculous conversions and healing.
I am powerless over most things, but I can pray, submit to the Holy Spirit, hope in God, and surrender my worries to Him. While I cannot control many of the circumstances around me, I can choose my reaction to them. My children are now grown, with only one son still at home, a senior in high school. I still have influence over him. Although he may not admit it, I know he may sometimes be fearful or lonely too. I share with him the comfort I find when read the Bible every day. Psalm 91 is one of my favorites.
He will call upon me and I will deliver him. I will be with him in distress. (Psalm 91:15)
I share with my son some of the videos I have been watching online, of traditional, faithful Catholic priests and lay people, testimonies and teachings that are great supports to learning and growing in our Faith.
I used to be able to solve my little children's problems, but now that they are grown, I turn them over to a God who is big enough to handle everything and has it all under control. I pray for them, always, especially in my Rosary and at daily Mass when I can attend. We have an adoration chapel at our parish, and during my scheduled holy hours, I lift their needs to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
Mostly, I lead by example. Having a daily prayer time is a must. I have a realistic yet positive attitude and show my hope and trust in Jesus by what I say and do. When my children express anxiety or fear, I often remind them of St. Pio’s words. At home or in the car, I play Christian praise and worship music, and sing along! I cling to the Lord; my hope is in Him and His promises:
“I will never forsake you nor abandon you.” (Hebrews 13:5)
I have shared with my children that I have found worrying to be a waste of time. When I was a child, the Vietnam War was going on, with nightly reports on the news. I had a baby brother, Ricky, and sometimes my mom, sister and I would worry that Ricky would grow up and be drafted to serve as a soldier, where he would be in danger. Sadly, Ricky passed away at two years old. I could have spent those moments with my brother, cherishing the time I had with him, instead of worrying.
“Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.” (Matthew 6:34)
One prayer that I have found helpful is the surrender novena of Fr. Dolindo Ruotolo with its daily prayer, repeated 10 times: “Oh Jesus, I surrender myself to you. Take care of everything.” Repeating this prayer gives me interior peace. In the midst of the storm, I know that God is holding us, His dear children, close to His heart.
What can you do, individually or as a family, to put into practice Padre Pio’s advice to “pray, hope and don’t worry”?
Copyright 2020 Kathy Perusek
Images copyright 2020 Kathy Perusek. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Kathy Perusek is a mother of seven children, and a grandmother. She was a stay-at-home mom until her oldest child graduated college. Kathy then returned to school, earning associate degrees in nursing and arts. She worked as an RN in a hospital, then for hospice; currently, she works in a pediatric practice. She is a former La Leche League leader and enjoys reading, singing, and babysitting.