The Last Word
WWI is framed by two saints who offered themselves in holocaust to prevent or shorten it and to finally bring it to an end. In both cases, the Divine Judge accepted their offering.
The first is none other than ‘our’ St. Pius X. One of his last words was: “I will give my life to prevent war and to spare the death of such a great number of young men” (Bishop Rumeau, Aug. 23, 1914, in SSPX Gastines Bulletin, Sept. 2014). Padre Pio added that this pope, the greatest after St. Peter said he, offered himself “as a propitiatory victim.” He died on August 20, 1914, practically the first victim of the dreadful calamity. Padre Pio wrote of Pius X’s unexpected death that “he was the first, the greatest, the most innocent victim of the fratricide war that deafened the whole of Europe with armies and weapons and filled it with terror.”
Nevertheless the war came, one might object. Indeed, but it seems that it was intended to last much longer. The modern Goliaths had despised the energetic Davids and their little rosary slings.
On May 5, 1917, Pope Benedict XV in his decree Regina Pacis begged the Queen of peace to intervene.
She did indeed. An octave later, in a little Portuguese hamlet, she announced that “the war will end.” However it was going to take another year of intercession and supplication, and of the slaughter of how many millions more, for it to really come to an end.
One day, Padre Pio admitted that the good Lord had granted to him the end of the war. On June 7, 1918, Padre Benedetto wrote to him: “The Almighty wants you as a victim of holocaust. You, a victim, must fulfil for your brothers what is still missing to the passion of Jesus.” The price came in an unsuspected manner: on September 20, 1918, he received the stigmata which he bore in his flesh for a solid 50 years. The war came to an end about a month later.
“The continual prayer of a just man availeth much” (St. James 5:16). Thank you, St. Pius X and Padre Pio.
God be with you.
Father Daniel Couture
(The source for this article is the excellent book by Antonio Socci, Il Segreto di Padre Pio [BUR Saggi, 2007], pp. 85-89.)