When I was young, there was talk of a priest who had the stigmata, just like Francis. At the time, for me at least, there was a big difference between seeing a painting depicting Francis' wounds and a real photograph of the bloody bindings on Pio's hands (even in black and white). For that reason, I shied away from such a man. The nuns often told us stories of suffering and torture of the saints, even modern day ones, but the suffering of one who was faithful but not suffering "for the Faith", as I understood it then, was daunting to me.
Why would anyone want such wounds?
Why would such wounds be inflicted on anyone?
There is also a fine line between self-less service and self-serving. The miracles that seemed to surround him could be the work of someone who had God's favor or of some over dramatic trickster. Controversy raged around him, and he had his supporter and detractors.
As a young man I was on the fence about him.
Paul said that he carried the marks of Christ; so must we all. Pio carried the stigmata (Latin roughly meaning "brand" ) as Paul carried his stripes and mistreatment and as we must too carry our wounds for Christ.
Today I realize that all of my wounds must too be visible as signs of love. Jesus is the wounded healer and I must walk in his footsteps.
Most Divine Spirit, enlighten and inflame me in meditating on the Passion of Jesus, help me to penetrate this mystery of love and suffering of a God, Who, clothed with our humanity, suffers, agonizes, and dies for the love of the creature!... The Eternal, the Immortal Who debases Himself to undergo an immense martyrdom, the ignominious death of the Cross, amidst insults, contempt and abuse, to save the creature which offended Him, and which wallows in the slime of sin. Man rejoices in his sin and his God is sad because of sin, suffers, sweats blood, amidst terrible agony of spirit. No, I cannot enter this wide ocean of love and pain unless You with Your grace sustain me. Oh that I could penetrate to the innermost recesses of the Heart of Jesus to read there the essence of His bitterness, which brought Him to the point of death in the Garden; that I could comfort Him in the abandonment by His Father and His own. Oh that I could unite myself with Him in order to expiate with Him.
Mary, Mother of Sorrows, may I unite myself with You to follow Jesus and share His pains and Your sufferings.
My Guardian Angel, guard my faculties and keep them recollected on Jesus suffering, so that they will not stray far from Him.
--The Agony of Jesus
Truth to Ponder
I decided to spend a year thinking about the Faith celebrated in the sanctoral calendar. There are also just some events, Scriptural, and other quotes that strike me on random days; or randomly on days, as the case may be.
Saint's Days by Month
Days by Entry