By Fr. Peter Carota on ‘Traditional Catholic Priest’. [Slightly adapted and abbreviated]
In the book “Padre Pio’s Mass” written by Fr. Tarcisio of Cervinara, we are again given proof that the Holy Mass is the Re-made Present of The Holy Sacrifice of Jesus Christ offered once and for all on Calvary. At the Council of Trent in the 22nd. session it states:
“Jesus Christ, our Lord and God, when He was about to offer Himself once on the altar of the Cross to God the Father, making intercession by means of His death, so that He might gain there an eternal redemption, since His priesthood was not to be extinguished by death, at the last Supper, ‘on the night that he was handed over’, left to His beloved Spouse the Church a visible sacrifice, such as the nature of man requires, by which the bloody sacrifice achieved once upon the Cross might be represented and its memory endure until the end of the age, and its saving power be applied to the remission of those sins which are daily committed by us.”
Padre Pio is the first priest to have received the “stigmata”, the wounds of Jesus in his body (hands, feet and side). St. Francis received them, but only as a deacon. This is important because Padre Pio offered the sacrifice of the Holy Mass and St. Francis was only able to assist.
Padre Pio’s Holy Masses would last from 3 to 4 hours. People came from all over the world to be present at them. They would have to get there very early to be able to get a place in the church. No one complained about it being so long and quiet.
The only person for whom it was excruciating long was Padre Pio. During the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, he would actually re-live the Passion and Crucifixion of Jesus.
First we need to be reminded that at every Holy Mass, Jesus is, in an un-bloody form, offering His life on the cross for the salvation of sinners. Then that the priest is truly an Alter Christus, which means the priest actually becomes the victim with Jesus Christ at the Holy Mass. This is shown by the priest saying: “This is My Body” and “This is My Blood”. The priest does not say: This is Jesus‘ Body or This is Jesus‘ Blood.
So when Padre Pio would offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, he would become literally this Alter Christus in suffering the crucifixion and bleeding in his wounds. One priest who was next to the altar during Padre Pio’s Mass, said he could never repeat the experience because he could not stand to see Padre Pio go through that agony again.
In his book Fr. Tarcisio asked Padre Pio several questions.
Fr. Tarcisio: At what hour of the day do you suffer most?
Padre Pio: During the offering of the Mass.
Fr. Tarcisio: At what moment of the Divine Sacrifice (of the Mass) do you suffer Most?
Padre Pio: Always and increasingly.
Fr. Tarcisio: During the offering of the Mass, at what moment do you suffer most?
Padre Pio: From the Consecration to Communion.
Fr. Tarcisio: At what part of the Mass are you scourged?
Padre Pio: From the beginning to the end, but more intensely after the Consecrations.
Fr. Tarcisio: During the Mass, are the pricks of thorns from the crown and the scourging real?
Padre Pio: What do you mean? The results are the same.
Fr. Tarcisio: What should we do during Mass?
Padre Pio: Repent and love.
Fr. Tarcisio: How should we hear Mass?
Padre Pio: In the same way that the Most Holy Virgin and the Holy women assisted. In the same way that St. John assisted at the Eucharistic Sacrifice and the bloody one of the Cross. We priests are the sacrificers of Jesus, the Lamb of God during the Mass, while all of Paradise reverently descends on the altar.
Fr. Tarcisio: What benefits do we receive on hearing it?
Padre Pio: It is not possible to number them. You will see them in Paradise.
So, in the actual life experience of Padre Pio, we see that the Holy Mass is truly the Sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary for the conversion of sinners and salvation of souls.