Fire for a World Grown Cold

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20060917francisstigmata.jpg

Never underestimate the effect of an image on the memory and imagination of a child. The image of the stigmata of Saint Francis of Assisi profoundly marked my childhood. Shining with jewel-like colors, a window depicting Saint Francis receiving the stigmata illuminated the south transept of my parish church. Later on, in my missal, I discovered the Collect for the Commemoration of the Holy Stigmata (formerly celebrated on September 17th). It remains, to this day, a prayer that speaks to my heart. My long association with the Poor Clares of Bethlehem Monastery in Barhamsville, Virginia, inspired me to share it with you:

Lord Jesus Christ,
who didst reproduce,
in the flesh of the most blessed Francis,
the sacred marks of thy own sufferings,
so that in a world grown cold
our hearts might be filled with burning love of thee,
graciously enable us by his merits and prayers
to bear the cross without faltering
and to bring forth worthy fruits of penitence:
Thou who art God,
living and reigning with God the Father,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
for ever and ever.

2 Comments

Dear Father,
Thank you for sharing this. St. Francis' love for Christ is an inspiration for many. Are you familiar with his prayer, which may also speak to your heart:
"O Lord Jesus Christ, I entreat you to give me two graces before I die: first, that in my lifetime I may feel in body and soul as far as possible the pain you endured, dear Lord, in the hour of your most bitter suffering; and second, that I may feel in my heart as far as possible that excess of love by which you, O Son of God, were inflamed to undertake so cruel a suffering for us sinners."
The stigmata he received was the answer to his intense desires.

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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