Tomorrow, Sept 17th, marks a very special day within the Franciscan community. As Franciscans we celebrate the great feast of the Stigmata of Our Holy Father Francis. "Francis imitated Christ so perfectly that towards the end of his life our Lord wished to point him out to the world as the faithful imitator of the Crucified, by imprinting His five wounds upon his body." He received a vision of a seraph with 6 wings and within the 6 wings was seen Christ crucified. This vision filled Francis with the fire of divine love, so great that with it came the very markings of Jesus Christ. Nails appeared in his hands and feet and a mark appeared on his side as if like Christ on the cross, he too had been pierced by a lance. I was very blessed to be able to go to La Verna, the mountain where Francis received the stigmata. And I was able to pray at the very spot where he received the wounds of Jesus Christ. I was in Italy last Christmas break with a group of students from different Franciscan Colleges and Universities around the country. It was, for me, a life changing experience. And it was an experience that filled me with great peace. Being able to pray in the very places where Francis once stood was very moving for me. I think in the end, having that experience also solidified my belief that I wanted to be a Franciscan. Like Francis I hope and pray that I too may be able to imitate our Lord Jesus Christ, as imperfect as I am, I can only hope to taste a small part of that divine love that filled the very essence of Francis' being. Holy Father Francis...Pray for us!
P.S. The picture is from the Stigmata Chapel at La Verna and marks the spot where Francis received the stigmata.