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St. Francis Receiving the Stigmata

Loci Lenar
The following excerpt regarding the stained glass window of St. Francis is written by Fr. Daniel Grigassy, O.F.M. and can be found in the booklet, Franciscan Saints Surround Us, published by St. …More
The following excerpt regarding the stained glass window of St. Francis is written by Fr. Daniel Grigassy, O.F.M. and can be found in the booklet, Franciscan Saints Surround Us, published by St. Bonaventure Church, 174 Ramsey Street, Paterson, NJ:

The image of St. Francis shows him receiving the Stigmata, the five brand marks of Christ on his hands, feet, and side. From the beginning of his conversion, he had a great devotion to Christ crucified. He spent most of his life preaching the glories of the cross and the joyful hope of the Resurrection.

St. Bonaventure tells us that Francis had begun a fast of forty days in honor of the Archangel Michael whose feast is on September 29. One morning near September 14, the feast of the exaltation of the Cross, as he was in deep contemplation of the mysteries of the cross, he saw what appeared as a seraph with six bright wings brilliant as fire coming down from heaven. The figure was not only winged but also crucified. Francis was thrilled at the sight, his heart filled with joy and pain, both at the same time. This was truly Christ graciously and intimately appearing before him. St. Bonaventure writes: "...the awe-inspiring vision of Christ nailed to the cross aroused in his soul a joy of compassionate love."

After the vision vanished and his encounter with Christ ended, Francis was internally "Aglow with seraphic love in his soul." Yet externally, marks like those of the Crucified were left onn his body: "The figures of the nails appeared immediately on his hand and feet. His right side too showed a blood-red wound as if it had been pierced by a lance, and blood flowed frequently from it."

Bonaventure concludes: "Francis came down from the mountain a new man...bearing in his body the image of the Crucified...fashioned in his members by the hand of the living God."

The Stigmata represents the visible conformity to Christ and remains the deepest witness of Francis's intense love for the Passion of Christ.

(The stained glass window of St. Francis can be seen inside St. Bonaventure Church, Paterson, NJ. The window was photographed on August 4, 2012 while I was attending Mass. -Loci B. Lenar)

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