“I have made a pact with the Lord: when my soul has been purified in the flames of purgatory and deemed worthy to be admitted to the presence of God, I will take my place at the gate to paradise, but I shall not enter until I have seen the last of my spiritual children enter.”—St. Padre Pio, from a letter to his spiritual daughter, Antonietta Pompilio
With a promise like that, how could anyone resist the desire to become Padre Pio’s spiritual child? And yet, there’s even more encouragement from this dear father, for he also said:
“I love my spiritual children as much as my own soul, and even more . . . Once I take a soul on, I also take on his entire family as my spiritual children . . . to my spiritual children, my prayers for you will never be lacking.”
“If one of my spiritual children ever goes astray, I shall leave my flock and seek him out.”
And yet, desire as we might to become St. Pio’s children, we might wonder how exactly to forge this relationship. I know two very easy ways, and I won’t delay in sharing them with you.
First, just ask. Here is a prayer that gets to the heart of the matter, and like a little sacrament, effects what it signifies:
Dear Padre Pio, I recall your promise to the Lord, “I will stand at the gates of heaven until I see all my spiritual children have entered.” Encouraged by your gracious promise, I ask you to accept me as your spiritual child.
A Triple Novena
You can’t get much more direct than that, but you may want to share this treasure of the good Padre’s spiritual fatherhood. That brings us to the second way to become his spiritual child, which is by participating in an unfailing Triple Novena that began on September 6, but in virtue of its three phases, allows for jumping in mid-stream. The following prayer will suffice:
O Blessed Padre Pio,
holy bearer of the wounds of Christ,
accept us this day as your spiritual sons and daughters
and keep us always on the Little Way by your intercession.
And do thou, O our Spiritual Father,
relieve our suffering and the suffering of those we love, and then
stay there at the Gates of Heaven, as you promised,
until all of your spiritual children have entered through,
even and including us and all those we love.
Through Christ our Lord, Amen.
That’s it, you’re in! You are now, without question, a beloved child of Padre Pio. And if you were hoping, also, to have your prayer intentions answered, you’re in luck there too. By reading these Padre Pio prayers, you are now officially part of the first annual unfailing Triple Novena. Moreover, you’re in for the long haul even if you don’t remember to say another single prayer for the duration. How can it be this easy?
How Does It Work?
The best way to explain it is by telling you this is the Calvinball of novenas. Do you remember Calvinball? In it, Calvin (of Calvin & Hobbes) plays a rowdy game with ever-changing rules that evolve to meet the needs of Calvin and his friend Hobbes.
This Triple Novena won’t knock anyone’s block off, but it will knock your socks off, because one of its first rules is that anyone can join throughout the course of its 26 days, and even learning about it is enough to count one in. This is the Novena to end all Novenas, and like St. Thérèse’s Little Way, it is easy, new, and guaranteed to quell perfectionism at the get go. Here’s how it works:
Starting on September 6, a select group who stumbled upon my blog, Miss Marcel’s Musings, began a triple novena after discovering that nine days (a single novena) would end on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Furthermore, if we made it a double and began another novena the following day (Our Lady of Sorrows), we would end on St. Padre Pio’s feast day, September 23. But when it comes to prayer, the more the merrier (especially regarding participants and intentions), and we saw that by making it a triple novena and beginning again on September 23, we would land smack on the Feast of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, October 1.
The consequence? A triple novena!
You probably already know that novenas come in all shapes and sizes. One of the secrets of a great novena, though, besides some variation on the number nine, is that the days (or minutes) it takes to say the prayers have an almost miraculous relationship to one another.
Take, for instance, the 54 day Rosary novena. Did you know that if you start it on August 15, Our Lady’s Assumption, you will end, 54 days later (after three novenas of petition and three of gratitude) on October 7, Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary?
Or take the mini-novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe (a sneaky three-day novena, hence “mini”)— it begins on Juan Diego’s feast, December 9, and ends in time for Our Lady of Guadalupe’s day on December 12.
Then there is Mother Teresa’s emergency (or “flying”) novena of 9 Memorares said in a row with a tenth in thanksgiving. My friend Maura wrote about it here, and as she explains, you will discover in this quick novena a way not only to calm your fears, but also to get your prayers answered lickety-split.
Our triple novena is akin to Mother Teresa’s novena and the mini-novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe, because although (like the Rosary Novena of 54 days) it is longer than most novenas, covering as it does 26 days (you can do the math later), it also answers the needs of our hearts without demanding a long attention span.
Are you reading this after September 6? You must be, unless you’re in 2020 already. This is an ideally suited novena series to cure perfectionism, as well as to answer prayers and cover your needs—and I do mean to include the needs of all those you love as well. It’s likely you didn’t start praying this triple novena at the outset, but as I mentioned already, joining it anywhere in the middle, you’ll still get full pay, like the workers in Jesus’ parable.
This is our certainty. More importantly, we can count in everyone who runs across the path of our novena. Those two lovely Jehovah’s Witnesses who just rang my doorbell and shared with me 1 Peter 5? They may not realize what happened, but they are even at this moment being commended to Our Lady and the Saints!
The only thing left to tell you, then, is the rest of the prayers this Triple Novena employs. You already have your choice of Padre Pio prayers, but here is what you may have missed in the first novena, and what’s coming up in the third. First, An Old French Prayer for Friends:
Blessed Mother of those whose names you can read in my heart, watch over them with every care. Make their way easy and their labors fruitful. Dry their tears if they weep; sanctify their joys; raise their courage if they weaken; restore their hope if they lose heart, their health if they be ill, truth if they err, and repentance if they fall. Amen.
And last, our prayer to St. Thérèse. For the short version, we suggest that perennial favorite: “Little Flower, in this hour, show thy power!” But if you like something a little more formal, you might try this prayer from the Carmelites of Lisieux:
St. Thérèse, you who promised to make fall a shower of roses, see what confidence I put in you and receive my intentions. Ask the Lord to grant my prayers and obtain for me the grace to always love Him and make Him to be loved. Amen.
God knows all of our intentions, and what a gift that He has promised: “Ask, and you shall receive.”
If you feel so inclined, add your special requests in the comment section below, but above all, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Not only that, but Padre Pio promised to have your back (and the backs of your loved ones) all the way to Heaven, so rejoice, little one, for your Father is pleased to give you the Kingdom.