Recently, I received a couple of questions from Luminas, a great follower of this blog, through the “Ask Medieval” page. The first will be answered in this post and the second in a later one. After that, I have high hopes of answering my next dear reader and hope for many more questions to follow!
This question concerns why I am so devoted to Padre Pio over other saints who are similar in many ways. First, let me start by describing Catholic worship and devotion for those who might not be so familiar with it. It consists of three levels denoted by their Greek names: latria, hyperdulia, and dulia. Latria refers to worship giving to God alone as Author of the Universe, Savior of the Human Race, and Source of All Goodness, Truth, and Beauty. Hyperdulia refers specifically to the reverence paid to the Blessed Virgin Mary for being the Mother of God, the human being whose cooperation was most essential for humanity’s salvation, and the most graced human being in all of history. Dulia refers to the reverence paid to the saints and angels for being devout servants of God and dear friends of God deserving of imitation. Latria is absolutely necessary for salvation, hyperdulia morally necessary, and dulia necessary to practice when obligated by one’s diocese (as in a saint’s feast day being declared a holy day of obligation) but mostly subject to personal taste. Having said that, many spiritual authors strongly recommend devotion to St. Michael, St. Joseph, and the holy angels as a group. Be sure to thank your guardian angel for putting up with you so patiently since your days in the cradle!