Sunday, September 17, 2006
St. Francis Receiving the Stigmata

Double (1954 Calendar): September 17
Commemoration (1962 Calendar): September 17

Today, September 17th is the Commemoration of the Impression of the Sacred Stigmata which St. Francis, received on his hands, feet, and side at Mount Alverina in Etruria while in the midst of his St. Michael's Lenten fast.

St. Bonaventure in the Life of St. Francis writes the following account:
“On a certain morning about the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross [September 14], while Francis was praying on the mountainside, he saw a Seraph with six fiery and shining wings descend from the height of heaven. And when in swift flight the Seraph had reached a spot in the air near the man of God, there appeared between the wings the figure of the a man crucified, with his hands and feet extended in the form of a cross and fastened to a cross. Two of the wings were lifted above his head, two were extended for flight and two covered his whole body"
Thomas of Celano, writing within a few years of St. Francis’ death in 1229 AD, also described what happened:
“....the marks of nails began to appear in his hands and feet, just as he had seen them slightly earlier in the crucified man above him. His wrists and feet seemed to be pierced by nails, with the heads of the nails appearing on his wrists and on the upper sides of his feet, the points appearing on the other side. The marks were round on the palm of each hand but elongated on the other side, and small pieces of flesh jutting out from the rest took on the appearance of the nail-ends, bent and driven back. In the same way the marks of nails were impressed on his feet and projected beyond the rest of the flesh. Moreover, his right side had a large wound as if it had been pierced with a spear, and it often bled so that his tunic and trousers were soaked with his sacred blood.”

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who, when the world was growing cold, in order to enkindle in our hearts the fire of Thy love, didst renew the sacred makers of Thy Passion on the body of blessed Francis: mercifully grant, that with the aid of his merits and prayers we may ever bear our cross, and bring forth worthy fruits of penance: Who livest and reignest.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal

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