IT IS AN ENDLESS QUESTION...
HOW CAN I BECOME A SPIRITUAL CHILD OF PADRE PIO?
HAVE NO FEAR, PADRE PIO WANTED YOU. . .
Take the words of Fra Modestino, confrere of Padre Pio and fellow Pietrelcinese. In my article, The Evening Rosary at Our Lady of Grace, Modestino wished Padre Pio to adopt as his spiritual children not only those who could not visit him personally, but also those who would come much later in time, after Pio's death.
"He asked, 'Padre, I would like to take on as your spiritual children all those who will undertake to recite the Rosary every day and from time to time have Mass celebrated for your intentions. Can I do this or not?' Spreading out his arms and raising his eyes to Heaven, Padre Pio exclaimed: 'Fra Modestino, how could I renounce such a great benefit? Do what you ask me and I will assist you.' Another time, when Modestino asked, 'Padre, what must I say to your spiritual children?' Padre Pio replied, 'Tell them that I give them all my soul, so long as they persevere in prayer and doing good.' "
How much Padre Pio wanted more and more spiritual children, to save their souls and to help him succeed with his mission. Leaving his last Mass in a wheelchair, he cried to the congregation as he passed, "My children, my children..." Who can say how far into the future he was speaking, as Jesus spoke to the future from the cross. The ever-approaching future. The now we live in.
Padre Fernando of Riese Pio X wrote in THE VOICE OF PADRE PIO; Summer Number, 1991:
"There was an expression which Padre Pio always repeated to anyone who wished to become 'one of his': 'I welcome
you willingly as my spiritual children, but on condition that you always behave properly, and never make me cut a sorry figure before God and before men, and that you are examples of Christian life, otherwise I also know how to use the whip.' Since they had to help him to remake the world from its foundations, his children had to leap into action, dedication, self-sacrifice. All knew that Padre Pio had no use for children who were tepid and hesitant, incapable of action, unwilling
to live in his way."
The late Fr. Antonio Del Gaudio wrote in THE VOICE OF PADRE PIO; #4, 2001:
"A new generation of spiritual children has succeeded the first generation that had a direct and privileged relationship with Padre Pio. Today, for the most part, Padre Pio's spiritual children are those who choose him as model of life and guide toward Christian perfection....To be a spiritual child of Padre Pio is a serious thing and means we have an obligation to a life of asceticism, perfection and holiness, namely to become Christ-like, but it is also a guarantee of the Padre's protection and of his intercession before the throne of the Almighty.
"In the person of Padre Pio, moreover, Jesus makes himself closer to us, more human, easier to imitate and to reach, because Padre Pio, according to the words of Pope Paul VI 'was a marked representative of our Lord.' "
Your heart will tell you if you are are on the right path to being a spiritual child of Padre Pio. The Capuchins, themselves, whenever an opportunity presents itself, reaffirm what is necessary. The page below is from Fr. Pellegrino's book, Jack of All Trades; Fr. Joseph reprinted these necessary conditions in his column, THE VOICE OF PADRE PIO.
And finally. . .
Fr. Joseph Pius wrote in 1997, in THE VOICE OF PADRE PIO:
"...we thought it appropriate to explain exactly what this privilege is. Spiritual childhood is an ancient custom practised by holy people down through the centuries. It simply means that a holy person will accept someone and be a parent to him or her in a spiritual way. It could be likened to being a God-parent in Baptism, but the holy people who accept this responsibility of another's guidance or assistance take it much more seriously than is often done by God-parents.
"Padre Pio was very open towards helping others, as his fatherly heart was filled with love. We really can reflect that he did nothing other in life than helping others whether praying for them or suffering for them.
"That paternal love extended to protecting them even when physically far away from him. Padre Pio was always pleased
when the spiritual children who lived near him would ask for his advice, for example, about traveling. There are many stories of his spiritual children avoiding mishaps because he would tell them not to travel, often not explaining why; then later on they would see that their trip would have been blocked or an accident would have happened, or something else.
"Being a spiritual child is indeed a valuable thing...We are very often filled with zeal and want to enroll everyone we know as a spiritual child. However a person must understand what spiritual childhood is and want Padre Pio's assistance. It is therefore not proper to enroll anyone who does not really understand what all this is about. For this reason, application should be held to ourselves, our families and persons whom we know are really interested in those benefits coming from Padre Pio's protection.
"Padre Pio would accept people only if they were leading Christian lives. He would usually say something to the effect
that he would accept them only if they 'Don't make me lose face.' One of the last things he said before he died was to extend his blessing to the sick, the friars and his spiritual children. This, he instructed, was to be done through the Father Superior. Since his death, the Father Superiors of Padre Pio's Friary have accepted people as spiritual children, giving the following conditions: [Duplicate of above printed conditions]
1. To live intensely a life of Divine Grace
2. To prove your faith with words and actions, living a true Christian life.
3. To desire to remain under the protection of the Servant of God, Padre Pio, and to want to enjoy the fruits of his prayers and sufferings.
4. To imitate the venerated Padre's virtue, particularly his love for Jesus Crucified, for the Most Blessed Sacrament, Our Lady, the Pope and the entire Church.
5. To be animated by a sincere spirit of charity towards all. "