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Friday, September 16, 2016

Stigmata of St Francis

"And some seed fell on good soil, and when it grew, it produced fruit a hundredfold.”  (Lk 8:8)

Today Franciscans celebrate the feast of the Stigmata of St. Francis, a day that reminds us how committed Francis was to imitating Christ.  But this was not always so.  In Francis’ early years, the seed that God was sowing so generously (Lk 8) did not fall on good ground, but rocky, dry, shallow and thorny ground.  Francis apparently lived an empty life, as Thomas of Celano his early biographer wrote, “he attracted to himself a whole retinue of young people addicted to evil and accustomed to vice.”  Francis himself said, “I lived in sin.”

One day, however, while riding in the countryside, Francis happened upon a leper who startled him. The sight and smell of lepers had always repelled Francis, but this time Francis dismounted from his horse and kissed the man, an act that sealed what had been happening to him internally.The seed of God's love was taking root and Francis knew he had to let go of the life of luxury he was leading and find another path.

The same is often true for us.  We are gifted with a moment of awareness or insight and everything changes.  While the behavioral shifts we will have to make are not immediately clear, our spirits will not rest until we discern a new direction, and then slowly new habits of quiet, reflection and prayer grow in us and what before seemed impossible now brings joy.

Today, ask the Lord for the grace of seeing what it is He wants of you.

Have you had a life changing experience of faith? 

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