Each confession should be made as carefully as if it were to be the last confession you’ll ever make.
Imagine yourself making your last confession to Padre Pio. As you are probably aware, Padre Pio was a priest who bore the five wounds of Jesus Christ on his body for more than fifty years. He was also a seer; mind reader; prophet, miracle-worker, confessor; mystic; ascetic and missionary on a worldwide scale. He demanded that each confession be a true confession, and why not, a confession is of no value unless it is. So many people wanted Padre Pio to hear their confession that there was often a two or three week wait before their turn.
Now, had we had the good fortune to have our confession heard by Padre Pio (its estimated he heard about five million confessions), here’s what we might have experienced based upon what others have told. One woman who came on a long trip to see Padre Pio said to him in confession, “Padre Pio, four years ago I lost my husband and I haven’t gone to church since then.” Padre Pio replied: “Because you lost your husband, you also lost God? Go away! Go away!” as he quickly closed the door to the confessional. Shortly after, she recovered her faith, attributing it to the way he treated her-probably acknowledging how she put her attachment to her husband above God.
Many of Padre Pio’s penitents made the astounding statement that, when in his confessional, they would experience the awesome impression of being before the judgment seat of God. If the penitent was not honest, or just read through a list of sins without firm resolution to change, he would growl “get out.” One man who was thrown out of the confessional stated: “What kind of blackguardly monk is that? He did not give me time to say a word, but straightway called me an old pig and told me to get out!” “I can’t think why, said the man unless its because I happen to be living with a woman who is not my wife.”
Padre Pio also threw certain priests and bishops out of his confessional! He once told a priest: “If you knew what a fearful thing it is to sit in tribunal of confessional! We are administering the Blood of Christ. We must be careful that we do not fling it about by being too easy-going or negligent.”
Padre Pio spoke to a recently widowed woman; her husband had left her and their two children to live with another woman. Suddenly cancer had taken his life. He consented to receive the last sacraments before his death, after many pressing appeals.
The woman asked: “Where is his soul, Padre?” “Your husband’s soul is condemned forever. When receiving the last Sacraments, he concealed many sins. He had neither repentance nor a good resolution. He was also a sinner against God’s mercy, because he said he always wanted to have a share of the good things in life and then have time to be converted to God.”
After your examination of conscience, it is well to say an Act of Contrition before entering the confessional.
Padre Pio commented on the amount of confessions he heard, and how he was able to do it: “There have been periods when I heard confessions without interruption for eighteen hours consecutively. I don’t have a moment to myself. But God helps me effectively in my ministry. I feel the strength to renounce everything, so long as souls return to Jesus and love Jesus.
For much more, including his Bi-location, and yes, even Tri-location; his being seen in the Air; his relationship with the Angels; the tortures the demons put him through; his suffering; his take on the Mass (by the way, Padre Pio used only the Traditional Missal for Mass); and Padre Pio on the Rosary, see the book Padre Pio, on the Mass available from Tan Books, Rockford, Ill. 61105.
A few days before he died, he said to the friars in his room, “Give me my weapon!” The friars surprised and curious asked him: “Where’s the weapon, we cannot see anything.” Padre Pio replied: It’s in my habit, the friars said: Padre, there’s no weapon in your habit--we can find only your Rosary. Padre Pio said: “And is this not a weapon?--the true weapon?