This Cross of Christ that was offered and that you accepted at the beginning of your conversion you continue to bear in your so perfect life as an example to others. This cross is evidence of how you have reached the summit of perfection as described in the Gospel. No truly religious man could reject, no true believer could attack, no truly humble man could despise such evidence of Christian wisdom that is written in your blood. This cross is worthy of our respect and our faith, since it is the very work of God.
Major Legenda of saint Bonaventure
The cross frightens us... and so justly so! Jesus, the crucified, has so deeply touched Francis that the mark of nails are as if stamped in his heart. The crucified love that Francis meets in Saint-Damien is a love that forgets itself to a point of no holding back, in fact nothing can be held, because who can hold something with pierced hands?
As a Sufi once said to Christian de Chergé, the prior of Tibhirine, Francis's entire life consisted of carrying Christ's cross, the cross of love that carries the world, and then carrying the cross of Man, that we reject, because it make us suffer and we find it so revolting when it touches the small and the innocent, who we want so much to save and protect. This is the slow and secret work of God in the heart of our lives. Because of our poor YES, we can discover and accept that bearing any human cross, even though inherently unacceptable and scandalous, is a way for all mankind to discover the LOVE of God and a Life of fullness.
The cross is the true DNA of our Christian life, entirely divine and in tune with the Trinity. It continues to give without holding back anything for itself. It allows us to give of ourselves, as in the way of God, and in so doing our hands and bodies are stigmatered like St Francis,'touching souls with hands of the Crucified' (Chesterton).
Brother Stephan Delavelle, Franciscan - Meknes (Maroco)
Resolution for the day :
Read again Phil 2: 6-11. While thinking of what questions and torments you in your existence, contemplate Christ who abides lovingly. Through love and trust, think of how your hands can be opened and turned towards life.
Prayer intention :
O Christ, crucified by love, we pray for all those who are nailed to the cross with you by their illness. May their hearts not harden from suffering, but be united in your redemptive work and be a source of grace for their loved ones.
“I take a moment to meditate all these things in my heart” (cf Luk 2,19)
Take a moment to treasure up all these things and ponder them in your heart (cf Luke 2,19)
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone. Col 4:6