Saint Pio of Pietrelcina--probably best known as Padre Pio--knew with complete certainty that at all times his place was beside Jesus, whether it be Jesus the suffering servant or Jesus the innocent babe. Providing some pre-Advent counsel, he wrote, "[O]ne thing only is necessary, to be close to Jesus…." This was his lifelong quest, and his premier advice to all of his spiritual children.
"Be close to Jesus." It is good counsel for all of us as we experience another Advent. Perhaps in God's presence we are shy and reticent, or nervous and talkative, or fearful and belligerent, or brave and boastful. Does it really matter what we say or feel, or if we say or feel anything? Saint Pio's continuing message to us is that only one thing counts: that we find a way to be with Jesus.
This Advent, let us join Padre Pio as he hastens to the God-Child, heeding the angels and following the star, to experience God's nearness, where anything and everything are possible.
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Anthony Chiffolo, editorial director of Praeger Publishers, is the author of numerous religion book, including 100 Names of Mary, Pope John Paul II: In My Own Words, Padre Pio: In My Own Words, Advent and Christmas with the Saints and Cooking With The Bible. He received the WVOX Radio Author of the Year Award in 2000 for Padre Pio: In My Own Words.