Flowing from the Side of Christ on the Cross was the grace
of reconciliation between God and Man (Rom.
5:8-11). Thus, on the evening of the Resurrection Our Lord appeared to His Apostles
Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and
whose sins you retain are retained. (John
Padre Pio's conformity to the Pascal Mystery of His Lord
necessarily including the ministry of reconciliation (2
Cor 5:18-20), its fruit. Toward that end he dedicated many hours of the day to the
confessional, both in the mornings and the afternoon.
According to the practice common then he heard the confessions of
men and women separately. The men's confessions he would hear in the sacristy, essentially
in the open with a portable grill, while the women's would be heard in the church in his
To this task he brought an advantage that few confessors have,
the ability to read hearts. Padre Pio's charism enabled him to know when someone
was being deceitful in confession or simply had forgotten a serious sin, perhaps through
lack of an adequate examination of conscience. In such cases he was able to tel the
penitent exactly what they did and when, as well as any relevant circumstances. This drew
many hundreds a day to him, moved by the grace of sincere repentance and the knowledge
that Padre Pio could guide them with the wisdom of God in the spiritual life.
He also drew those who did not believe in his gifts or who
intended to test the Padre. These were invariably unmasked, often in harsh ways. In the
end they often repented, made a sincere confession and renewed their lives, despite their