From the Legenda Minor of St. Bonaventure
(de Stigmatibus sacris, 1-4; ed. Quaracchi, 1941; pgg. 202-204)
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. His soul
became aglow with the ardor of fervent longing for heaven
as he experienced within himself the operations of grace.
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.
When the vision vanished after a mysterious and intimate conversation
it left Francis aglow with seraphic love in his soul. Externally,
however, it left marks on his body like those of the Crucified as
if the impression of a seal had been left on heated wag. The figures
of the nails appeared immediately on his hands and feet. The heads of
the nails were inside his hands but on top of his feet with their
points extending through to the opposite side. His right side too
showed a blood-red wound as if it had been pierced by a lance, and
blood flowed frequently from it.
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.
Prayer to Jesus Crucified by Saint Francis
Lord Jesus Christ,
I ask that you grant me
two graces before I die.
The first, that I come to feel,
as soon as it be possible,
in my soul and in my body,
the pains that You suffered
throughout your most bitter Passion.
The second, that I feel in my heart,
as soon as it be possible,
the most extreme love in which
you submerged yourself,
You, the Son of God,
which took you to suffer joyfully
such atrocious torments for us
miserable sinners. Amen
Prayer to Saint Francis on Mount La Verna
by Pope John Paul II
O Saint Francis,
stigmatized on La Verna,
the world longs for you,
that icon of the crucified Jesus.
It has need of your heart,
open to God and to others;
of your bare, wounded feet,
of your pierced hands raised in supplication.
It longs for your voice so frail
yet forceful with the power of the Gospel.
Francis, help the people of this age
to recognize the evil of sin
and to seek purification from it in penance.
Help them to become free
from the very structures of sin
that oppress today’s society.
Rekindle in the consciousness of those
in government an urgent need for peace
between nations and peoples.
Instill in young people your freshness of life
that is capable of withstanding the snares
of the many cultures of death.
To those injured by every type of evil
teach, O Francis,
the joy of being able to forgive.
To all those crucified by suffering,
hunger and war,
reopen the doors of hope. Amen
The Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope,
Where there is darkness, light,
and where there is sadness, joy.
Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled,
as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen
Prayer in the likeness of the Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi
Peace will then return . . .
If you believe that a smile is mightier than a weapon,
If you believe in the power of the outstretched hand,
If you can look at others with a gleam of love,
If you can choose trust rather than suspicion,
If you consider that it is up to you to take the first step,
not the other person,
If the glance of a child can still conquer your heart,
If you can rejoice in the joy of another,
If the injustice meted out to others disgusts you as though it had befallen you,
If, for you, a foreigner is a new-found brother,
If, out of love, you can give up some of your time,
If you can accept an act of service from another,
If you know how to sweeten the bread you share by joining to it
a portion of your heart,
If you believe that forgiveness goes further than revenge
If you can listen to a time-consuming tale of woe and show no sign
of weariness or impatience,
If you can say a sincere "mea culpa" instead of blaming others,
If, for you, the other is first and foremost a brother,
If you prefer to be wronged yourself rather than injure another,
If you refuse to turn a blind eye to the consequences of your words and
If you can take the part of the poor and the oppressed without
seeing yourself as a hero,
If you consider love as the one and only deterrent,
If you really believe that peace is possible,
. . . PEACE will then return.
Legend of Saint Francis: 22. Verification of the Stigmata
by Giotto di Bondone; 1300; Upper Church, San Francesco, Assisi, Italia;
Saint Francis Receives the Stigmata
by Cigoli; 1596; Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italia;
Saint Francis embracing Christ Crucified
September 17 - The Sacred Stigmata of Christ Crucified Imprinted on Saint Francis of Assisi
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