Padre Pio was advised to become a confessor, instead of a preacher. On account of his ailing health, preaching would have been too tiring and strenuous. His brother friars told how Padre Pio requested that the crib be placed opposite his confessional so that he would be able to adore Baby Jesus while he administered the sacrament of penance (Padre Pio was a prayer multi-tasker!). For long hours, Padre Pio stayed in the confessional, sometimes up to and beyond 14 hours a day, and would rest his eyes on the statue of Baby Jesus.
A spiritual daughter of his, Raffaeline Cerase, received a letter from him that gave powerful insights as to his deep devotion to Baby Jesus. Padre Pio, without any hyperbole, described how he felt his spirit was ‘being born again to a new life’ when the Holy Novena in honour of Baby Jesus began. St. Pio’s exact words to Raffaeline were: “When the Holy Novena begins in honour of the Baby Jesus; it feels as though my spirit were being born again to a new life. I felt as though my heart were too small to embrace all our heavenly blessings. My soul felt as though it were disintegrating in the presence of our God who had become man. How can we not love Him forever with a fervour that never grows stale? Let us open our hearts to the Baby Jesus whose soul was without the stain of sin and we will taste how sweet it is to love Him.”