There’s been ongoing controversy about the authenticity of alleged writings of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina regarding the oft prophesied three days of darkness:
- Is there anything in the archives of Franciscans?
- The higher-ups of the Franciscans say there is not, although, sorry, with their treatment of Padre Pio himself I gotta kinda at least wonder about that.
- Is there anything in the various multitudinous archives of the Holy See, particularly the correspondence archives of the Supreme Pontiff?
- They say not, although, with their obfuscation about the third secret of Fatima I gotta kinda at least wonder about that. Perhaps it all hits to close to home about a Supreme Pontiff future to Padre Pio. Just sayin’.
- Did Padre Pio truly make offhand, oral comments about some of the not yet entirely approved apparitions in San Sebastián de Garabandal to this or that person?
- Perhaps. I wasn’t there. Many have made similar claims for a multitude of topics that go against all that is Catholic. This kind of thing happens all the time. But, perhaps. I simply don’t know.
So, side stepping all that, let’s instead do the unexpected and take a look at the two parts of an indisputably authentic and also famous saying of Padre Pio:
- “Il mondo potrebbe stare anche senza il sole, ma non può stare senza la santa Messa.”
- “The world might be able to survive even without the sun, but it is not able to survive without the Holy Mass.”
When I first heard that saying, immature me, I was rejoicing in the emphasis on the importance of Holy Mass, agreeing that this is not hyperbole but the plain truth, absolutely, and yet I was in fact treating it all as hyperbole in not taking the elements of the comparison seriously. A re-examination of this aphorism of Padre Pio is in order.
Let’s see if there’s anything in Sacred Scripture about the world perhaps surviving somewhat even without the sun, along with a reference specifically to three days of darkness:
- Exodus 10:21-23 “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness spreads over Egypt – darkness that can be felt.’ So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days. No one could see anyone else or move about for three days. Yet all the Israelites had light in the places where they lived.”
- Ezekiel 32:4-8 [against symbolic “Egypt”] “I will abandon you on the land and hurl you into the open field. I will cause all the birds of the air to settle upon you, and all the beasts of the earth to eat their fill of you. I will put your flesh on the mountains and fill the valleys with your remains. I will drench the land with the flow of your blood, all the way to the mountains – the ravines will be filled. When I extinguish you, I will cover the heavens and darken their stars. I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon will not give its light. All the shining lights in the heavens I will darken over you, and I will bring darkness upon your land.”
- Matthew 24:29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”
- Acts of the Apostles 2 citing Joel 2 “I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be violently transformed to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
- Revelation 6:12 “I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red.”
And there are so many other passages. But is there anything about the daily Sacrifice being taken away, perhaps with a specific reference to the three days of darkness?
- Matthew 12:40 “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
And then, we have to mention Daniel. This opens up a whole other discussion for other posts, but I include it here because it speaks to the taking away of the Daily Sacrifice. Since this refers to a period of time between the Last Supper and the end of the world, we’re talking about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass:
- Daniel 12:11 “And from the time that the Daily Sacrifice shall be taken away and the desolating abomination is caused to be set up there shall be 1,290 days.”
In other words, Padre Pio’s saying is entirely Scriptural in origin. The question is, would he say this entirely for the sake of hyperbole to emphasize the importance of Holy Mass? Surely, also that. But Padre Pio has much gravitas. While hyperbole can be a legitimate rhetorical device, he himself is filled with the realities of our Lord Jesus’ Sacrifice, with all of the justice, all of the mercy, the weight of the eternal consequences for souls.
Whatever one thinks about the mystics, as they are called, we are to deepen our investigations into Sacred Scripture, right? Thanks Padre Pio. Sorry it took me so long to catch on to what you were doing with this saying.
4 responses to “Saint Pio on the Three Days of Darkness? Yep.”
It is in the very air we breathe. Times guaranteed to try our Faith are coming. Let us pray diligently for the courage and humility to withstand them.
Yes, let us pray diligently, confident that our Immaculate Mother’s Heart will triumph and the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church.
As you say, “the darkness that can be felt,” I think we have all expereinced this and therefore it is so amazing to me that amidst all this misery and darkness there is an occasional beam of light, love and goodness.
A few weeks ago, as I was walking across the parking lot at the local shopping center, a young man came running across the lot. He was dressed like a movie version of a hoodlum and I found myself slowing down and hesitating as I made my way to the door of the store. The young man ran to the door and then turned around and with a lovely smile he held it open for me. WOW! Then he spotted another lady walking to the store and he stepped back outside and held the door for her. When we couldn’t find a shopping cart he dashed outside and brought two in for us.
All with a pleasant smile, and when we thanked him he said, “you’re welcome, have a blessed day ladies.”
A “darkness that can be felt” seems much more than an “ordinary” darkness, the difference between day and night perceived by the sense of sight. That this other darkness is “felt” brings to mind a darkness so deep that it elicits foreboding and a sense of being hopelessly lost, annihilated even. I think of Our Lord on the Cross. He took all our sins, the sins of everyone from creation until the end of the world, upon Himself and experienced the consequences: the terrible darkness of feeling cut off from His Father, calling out from the cross, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt 27:46). It seems that saintly persons, like Mother Teresa of Calcutta for example, who are said to have experienced the dark night of the soul, love Our Lord so much that they receive some share in that terrible darkness He suffered for our redemption.
If I have properly understood what I have read through the years – and maybe I have not – the dark night of the soul is when one experiences what it is to be cut off from the Living Truth, cut off from Him who is Infinite Love; such is a kind of hell although one is still alive in the world.
Ancient Egyptians were pagans living before Christ and far from saints who would experience the dark night of the soul, yet perhaps those ancient pagans were given something akin to it as a warning for them and for us. Was the darkness they “felt” the result of God briefly lifting the curtain on their blindness so they could see themselves as they truly were – their total emptiness / their complete nothingness without Him?
To reject God before Our Lord’s Sacrifice on the Cross was terrible in the extreme but to do so afterwards – and post-Christian paganism is growing – is even worse. We have no life without Him. He gave His all – His Life for us and to us – redeeming us and staying with us in the Eucharist. To lose Him would be the end of everything, a darkness more horrifying and final than anything that has gone before.