My husband and I often receive gifts of Rosaries, saints' medals, and prayer cards in the mail from different Catholic charities, but I don't remember the last time we got one specifically from St. Padre Pio's order, with pictures and literature specifically dedicated to this holy saint. I am not a superstitious person, but I do believe God speaks to us through the ordinary things that happen to us every day; and to me, receiving this gift now--such a short time after St. Padre Pio was chosen for me--felt like a message from my new Heavenly protector.
My sufferings in life are infinitesimal in the grand scheme of things; by any measure, I've been extraordinarily blessed. But like every human, I have my own heartaches and humiliations, my own crosses to carry (though they might be much lighter than the crosses of others). When I feel weighed down, I need to remember what St. Padre Pio taught: that we should let the suffering and humiliation of Jesus, not our own sufferings, be the usual subject of our meditation.
Here's an excerpt from one of St. Padre Pio's letters, which I plan to refer to often in 2013 for inspiration: "Therefore, let your entire life be spent in resignation, prayer, work, humility and in rendering thanks to the good God. If you happen to notice a feeling of impatience rising, immediately have recourse to prayer. Consider that we are always in the presence of God, to whom we have to give an account for our every action, both good and bad. Above all, turn your thoughts to the annihilation which the Son of God suffered for love of us. I want the thought of the suffering and humiliation of Jesus to be the usual subject of your meditation. If you practice this, as I am sure you will, in a short time you will experience its salutary fruits. Such meditation will act as a shield to defend you from impatience when the most sweet Jesus sends you suffering, places you in a state of desolation or wishes to make you a subject of contradiction."
I hope I can follow this saint's wise counsel in my daily life. I'm sure for every step forward, I'll take two steps back. So St. Padre Pio, pray for me!