Reflections on the Stigmata of Saint Francis

I begin my reflections on the mystery of the stigmata (bodily marks resembling the wounds of the crucified Christ) by confessing that the first person I think of as having such bodily marks, apart from Jesus, is Saint Francis of Assisi. As the founder of the Franciscan Order, Francis is certainly a primary shaper of Franciscan spirituality. He therefore is a preeminent focal point in helping us contemplate the meaning of the wounds of Christ and of his own wounds and thus to come to a Franciscan understanding of suffering.