The Stigmata of St. Francis

St. Francis receives the Stigmata (fresco attr...Authorized by Pope Paul V, September 17th is the Feast of the Stigmata of St. Francis of Assisi, a feast day celebrated within the Franciscan communities.

Stigmata, from the Greek word, generically points to a “brand” or a “mark.” It is the common word to describing branding of cattle. In the Christian context it refers to the bodily marks resembling the wounds of the crucified Christ. St. Francis was the first person, historically recorded, who bore the marks of the crucified Christ in his hands, his feet, and in his side. Continue reading

The Stigmata of St. Francis

St. Francis receives the Stigmata (fresco attr...

Authorized by Pope Paul V, September 17th is the Feast of the Stigmata of St. Francis of Assisi, a feast day celebrated within the Franciscan communities.

Stigmata, from the Greek word, generically points to a “brand” or a “mark.” It is the common word to describing branding of cattle. In the Christian context it refers to the bodily marks resembling the wounds of the crucified Christ. St. Francis was the first person, historically recorded, who bore the marks of the crucified Christ in his hands, his feet, and in his side. Continue reading

Pope Francis and the Spirit of LaVerna

On May 8, 1213, St. Francis of Assisi was given a mountain.  Count Orlando of Chiusi gave La Verna to Francis and his friar brothers as a retreat especially for prayer and contemplation.  Five year later in 1218 Count Orlando built the friars the chapel Santa Maria degli Angeli (St Mary of the Angels).

LaVerna

In September of 1993, Pope John Paul II went to La Verna for prayer, contemplation and to meet with the bishops of Tuscany.  During lunch while John Paul II was speaking with the friar brothers and bishops, he said here at both La Verna and Assisi, Franciscanism was born and in a certain way Christianity too by rediscovering the simplicity and fervor of the beginnings.

Sunday, May 17, 2013, the the Archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica, Cardinal Angelo Comastri, in greeting Pope Francis at the beginning of the celebration of Mass at St. Anna’s Parish, recalled the words of John Paul II – and said that is what is happening with his election.  In the taking of the name “Francis” we all reminded of the need to rediscover Christianity by rediscovering the simplicity and fervor of our faith.

There is a moment when Francis of Assisi called together his friar brothers – men who had already accomplished so much.  He told them: “Up to now we have done nothing…. Let us begin again and do what is ours to do.

May we be blessed to do what is ours to do – as we pray for Pope Francis to do what is his.

Following Francis: The Disposal of Worldly Goods

Francis and Lady Poverty

Many people have a very romantic idea of Franciscan life and the vow of poverty. What I can tell you is that the meaning and the manner of living poverty has vexed Franciscans since the beginning with very little about it being terribly romantic. Most of the descriptions and stories of the life of early poverty were written years after St. Francis’ death, when the manner of living the vow – in conjunction with the vow obedience – was a divisive issue among the brothers. In one of the more notable descriptions from the Sacrum Commercium, an anonymous text from a latter period, the author tries to give his or her insight into St Francis: “While they were hastening to the heights with easy steps, behold Lady Poverty, standing on the top of the mountain. Seeing them climb with such strength, almost flying, she was quite astonished. ‘It is a long time since I saw and watched people so free of all burdens.’ And so Lady Poverty greeted them with rich blessings. ‘Tell me brothers, what is the reason for your coming here and why do you come so quickly from the valley of sorrows to the mountain of light?’ They answered: ‘We wish to become servants of the Lord of hosts because He is the King of glory. So, kneeling at your feet, we humbly beg you to agree to live with us and be our way to the King of glory, as you were the way when the dawn from on high came to visit those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.'” Continue reading