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The Tension of Reality

I’m currently making my way through C. Bernard Ruffin’s Padre Pio: The True Story and must say that I am really enjoying it. There are many highlighted areas that are excellent little quotes or thoughts to take to prayer and spend time with. One such area is the issue of being real. I’ve always appreciated hearing stories of saintly people showing their humanity. We’ve seen it with Father Groeschel and Mother Angelica, likely heard stories of Mother Theresa’s and probably other stories of saints who just liked to tell it how it was. I came across one of these instances while reading through Ruffin’s book in the section on Pio’s stigmata when he writes: He frequently replied to those who asked him if the stigmata hurt, “Do you think the Good Lord gave them to me for decoration?” When I read that response of Padre Pio, I could do nothing but laugh because I saw the humanity in such a statement; it wasn’t some fluffy pious answer but a genuine human response. For me it is easy to fall into seeing saints as these almost other-worldly beings that can at times seem to be divorced from my view of reality. I see the incredible prayer life, charitable works, pious exercises, and mystical experiences and yet sometimes forget that they were people who experience many of the same things as the rest of us. I must admit, though, that I sometimes wonder about the tension that lies there between being ‘real’ and falling into sin. There are certainly days where it is easy for me to be ‘real’ and yet at the same time to go into a place that is not saintly in the least bit. It’s one thing to be blunt or honest but if it is there without charity, then is it really a good thing? I guess we just have to find that tension ourselves and perfect the balance of things along the way…

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