I have always read with great admiration of the spiritual battles that the saints have had with the devil. Our present society does its best to discount the possibility of even the devil's existence, and explains individual people who do evil acts as just being “bad seeds” (inherent in them), or a victim of their upbringing (a product of their environment). There is never a reference to the reality that the devil works throughout our society. I think of this constantly whenever I see an atrocious crime on the news that it is so evil it could not have had a human origin.
Of special interest to me, were the battles between Padre Pio and the devil. This holy man came away from a lot of these confrontations with tangible, physical injuries. Cuts and bruises. I often marvel at the strength and grace that St. Pio must have had to consistently reject any and all of the devil's temptations and affronts and what level of intensity this spiritual warfare must have reached for it to have actually escalated to a point where it would spill over into the physical/tangible world. Can you imagine the level of frustration the devil must have been at in his non-ending and failed attempts to influence this Capuchin priest to finally go this route, to finally physically assault Padre Pio?
One absolutely fascinating story about this saga was that the devil would appear to St. Pio as the Blessed Mother. Talk about something that should put fear in our hearts. Padre Pio gave a pearl of wisdom to us in how he cleverly discerned which visits were the devil and which visits were the true Blessed Mother. He said when the true Blessed Mother appeared to him, there was a peace that came upon him before, during and after the visit. When the devil appeared as the Blessed Mother, there was a complete overflow of euphoria during the visit, turning to complete emptiness and wanting after the visit.
Such invaluable guidance from this great saint! When our lives are in unison, and close, with God, we have a sense of peace, even during tribulations. When we go the secular, worldly route, we have spikes in our excitement from world "toys" to get pleasure, but these are short lived as we soon need another material fix to feel any pleasure again. Such real world advice to recognize what we should be doing and shouldn't be doing from this great saint.
Padre Pio, Pray for us and Protect us!