This Daily Devotion is to help our members and others reflect on the understanding of Christian service to our Lord.

Devotion for Friday, December 24, 2021

The Rt. Rev. Archimandrite, Msgr. George Appleyard

The Stigmata of St. Francis of Assisi

An Invitation to Prayer

Be praised, my Lord, by our sister, Mother Earth,
who sustains us with flowers, fruits and herbs.
-Be praised by those who forgive and make peace,
and those who cope with sickness and trial.adopted from Francis’ Canticle of Brother Sun

Psalm 116

Praise the Lord, all you nations;
extol him, all you peoples.

For his kindness to us is mighty,
and the truth of the Lord endures forever.

St. Francis of Assisi as Pilgrim and Crusader, and his Vision of Al-Lah

In 1219, St. Francis and one companion went to Damietta in Egypt in an attempt to convert the Sultan of Egypt, who had jurisdiction over Palestine, to put an end to the conflict of the Crusades. On August 29, 1219, the two crossed the Saracen lines and were brought before the sultan, remaining in his camp for a few days but without effect. They then left the Crusader camp for Acre and returned to Italy in 1220. The Franciscans have been in the Holy Land almost ever since, receiving concessions from the Mameluke sultan in 1333 with regard to certain Holy Places in Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and Pope Clement VI sanctioned their work there.

Two years before his death in 1224, Francis went to his favorite retreat at Mount Alvernia for a forty-day fast. One morning near the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, a six-winged seraph appeared to him while he prayed. As the angel approached, Francis could see that the angel was crucified. Humbled by the sight, his heart was filled with elation mixed with anguish and pain. When the angel departed, Francis was left with wounds in his hands, feet and side, imitating those of Christ at his crucifixion.

Most Christians are ignorant of the fact that Muhamad-like Moses-had asked Al-Lah to show himself to him on the Night Journey, but God would only let him look from a distance of two bow shots, but here Francis is gifted with a vision of God Incarnate and left with tangible signs of the encounter.

A Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, who imprinted the sacred marks of your Passion in the flesh of Saint Francis to inflame our hearts with the fire of your love in a world grown cold, graciously grant that-by his merits and prayers-we might carry the cross which we took when entering this Order and bear worthy fruits of personal improvement and spiritual growth, for you who live and reign forever and ever.