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Monday, October 4, 2010

Saint Francis of Assisi - October 4

Saint Francis of Assisi and the Stigmata

While in supernatural ecstasy, a state where the mind rivets its attention on a religious subject and the activity of the senses are suspended, Saint Francis of Assisi received the stigmata. Marks "fashioned in his members by the hand of the living God," Saint Francis received visible signs of the Passion of Christ on his hands, feet and side.

Saint Bonaventure wrote this in his work, Lengenda Minor (Minor Life). “Two years before Francis, the faithful servant of Christ, gave his soul back to God, he was alone on the top of Mt. Alverna. There he had begun a fast of forty days in honor of the archangel Michael and was immersed more deeply than usual in the delights of heavenly contemplation.

As he was drawn aloft through ardent longing for God one morning near the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, and was praying on the mountainside, he saw what appeared as a seraph with six bright wings gleaming like a fire descending from the heights of heaven. As this figure approached in swift flight and came near the man of God it appeared not only winged but also crucified. The sight of it amazed Francis and his soul experienced joy mingled with pain. He was delighted with the sight of Christ appearing to him so graciously and intimately and yet the awe-inspiring vision of Christ nailed to the cross aroused in his soul a joy of compassionate love.

Because of this new and astounding miracle unheard of in times past, Francis came down from the mountain a new man adorned with the sacred stigmata, bearing in his body the image of the Crucified not made by a craftsman in wood or stone , but fashioned in his members by the hand of the living God.” (From the Legenda Minor of St. Bonaventure [Minor Life of St. Bonaventure])

Heavenly Father,
You gave Your servant Francis
the grace of intimate union with Your crucified Son.
Help us with the cross we bear that, united with You,
we too may know the peace and joy that Francis received.
We ask this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Apostleship of Prayer
The Likeness of Christ Crucified

For items related to Saint Francis of Assisi
please see Lynn's Timeless Treasures Catholic Goods

St. Francis in Ecstasy – Caravaggio
St. Francis in Ecstasy – Bellini
St. Francis Receiving the Stigmata – Giotto

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