Though he says in this torment he wasn’t able to pray, still he found rest in one certainty.
Padre Pio in 1913 wrote to a spiritual father about dark times that he would sometimes pass through, saying how “physical and spiritual ailments conspire together to torment me.”
He explains how drastically these experiences affect his prayer, or better said, make him even unable to pray:
I try to form one single thought about God—I cannot say “try to pray” because that would be going too far—but in my current state that is entirely impossible.
Fr. Pio speaks of how he sees himself as “full of imperfections” and he is left without courage, feeling that he is “very weak” in virtue and at “resisting the enemy’s assaults.”
I then become convinced more than ever that I am good for nothing.
A deep sadness comes over me, and the horrid thought crosses my mind that I could be deluded without knowing it. Only God knows what torture this is for me!
However, Padre Pio follows this description of his torments with an interesting assertion. He says that — despite what he’s described to be his feelings — he is certain he’s not offending God any more than usual. And why?
When I am in this state, what I can say for certain is that I do not offend God more than usual because, thank heaven, I never lose my trust in him.
Padre Pio says that when he next receives a “visit” from the Lord, even his physical suffering is lessened. “My mind is filled with light, I feel my strength and all my good desires revive again, and I even feel a great easing of my physical ailments.”
Find his writing of this experience and more in Padre Pio’s Spiritual Direction for Every Day, published by St. Anthony Messenger Press.