Friday September 23, 2016 Stigmata

From now on, let no one make troubles for me, for I bear the marks of Jesus on my body.  Galatians 6:17

Today the Church celebrates the feast day of Saint Pius of Pietrelcina, or Padre Pio, as I grew up knowing him.  He was an Italian Capuchin priest who was a remarkable preacher and has a reputation for sanctity that was known worldwide.  He bore the visible stigmata (Stigmata is a term used by members of the Christian faith to describe body marks, sores, or sensations of pain in locations corresponding to the crucifixion wounds of Jesus Christ, such as the hands, wrists, and feet. Wikipedia).  He prayed to have these removed because he was under suspicion, false accusations and much investigation because of them.  In his case these signs were more “Stigma” than stigmata.  Padre Pio bore it well and said, “It is under the cross that one learns to love.”

No one wishes to suffer, whether that suffering is in our body, our mind or in our spirit.  There is a time for everything. A time to be born and a time to die, A time to plant and a time to sow.  A time to kill and a time to heal.   I love the song Turn , Turn, Turn based on Ecclesiastes 3:1-11.  Padre Pio came to embrace his suffering when God said NO.  So for 50 years he bore the bloody marks at his wrists and feet, a constant reminder of God’s presence.

I wonder about this phenomena.  There have been 400 reported cases since the 13th century.  God has allowed His people to be a living witness to what His Son endured on Good Friday.  Women and men have born the wounds.  Some have had the marks of the Crucifix, others the nails and some even the lance.   It is amazing to me how a cup of blood and fluid oozed from Padre Pio’s body each day and there were doubters.  Then I think that there are some who doubt the moon landing.  Faith is a gift and only those who are called will ever receive it.

Lord help me to believe with all my heart.  Open my mind to see You ever present among Your people.  In some You are manifest in very unique and special ways.  I am grateful that You continue to love me even when I sin. 

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