We celebrate the feast of the Stigmata and we have all seen paintings of Francis receiving the sacred marks. Much has been written about this and what actually happened. Francis wanted nothing more than to conform his life to that of Christ and the stigmata has been used to support how he was successful in doing this.the internal conforming of his life to Christ. Those days in prayer in the caves on Mt. La Verna and elsewhere allowed him to be transformed internally.
Mt. La Verna is an impressive and beautiful place to visit.
Every day at La Verna at 3 p.m., the friars and visitors gather in the main chapel of the friary at La Verna and process through the corridors to the Chapel of the Stigmata. There they have a brief prayer service at the spot where St. Francis received the marks of Christ. It is a moving experience to be present for this time of prayer.
St. Francis took significant periods of time for prayer throughout his life. This continues to be a challenge to those who do very well with being active, but do not give as much time for prayer. Yet, when we see what prayer did for St. Francis, it is a call for us to examine how we nourish ourselves to have the mind and attitude of Christ. The Eucharist, scripture and prayer are our sources of nourishment for our active lives. There were many challenges that St. Francis faced throughout his life and he turned to the Lord to inspire him to do what he needed to do. We face many challenges too. We have the same opportunities available that St. Francis did to be nourished and to conform our thoughts, our ways and our attitude to Jesus.