Carrying the wounds of the cross

By Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA on Thursday, September 15th 2016



San Damiano Cross by Craig Nilsson

On Saturday, Sept. 17, Franciscans around the world will celebrate the Feast of the Stigmata of St. Francis.

You may be wondering what stigmata signifies.

When Jesus was crucified he received markings on his hands and his feet from the nails that held him to the cross, and a wound in his side from a lance thrust into his body after his death. It is a mystery why some are chosen to bear these same, sacred wounds from the Lord’s own body—stigmata—as did St. Francis of Assisi. He prayed for the privilege of stigmata in effort to understand both the intense love and suffering Jesus experienced. St. Francis concealed these signs from others, though, as he wanted to follow in the footsteps of Jesus—not become a spectacle. His desire was to remain humble.

Francis surrendered his body and soul to God. While most of us will not be chosen to carry the physical wounds of Christ on our bodies, Francis offers us a deep lesson as once again he calls us to give all we are to God.

Discernment is about openness in choosing a path that expands one’s life on behalf of others. The world needs religious women and men; healthy marriages and vibrant single individuals. Each vocation, when in harmony with who you are, radiates the light of Christ.

How is your life marked—celebrated—as a follower of Jesus?

Is there room for both love and suffering in your discernment?


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09/15/2016 3:59pm
I appreciate and totally agree with your last statement. :) Each vocation, when in harmony with who you are, radiates the light of Christ.

Sr. Sarah Hennessy Says:
09/15/2016 4:48pm
I've always been fascinated that the stigmata looked less like wounds and more like the actual nails. It's like Francis became one with Christ's own pain. Helps me realize that Christ knows me on my path, both the joys and the suffering.

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