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.