It may seem contradictory that receiving the gift of the stigmata would be called love. After all, receiving the stigmata would mean enduring the painful wounds that Christ Himself experienced when He suffered His passion and death. How then can it be called love and a gift?
From the moment Adam and Eve fell, God has been calling us back to Him. In Jesus Christ, the Father’s loving face was revealed to us, enabling us to be adopted as God’s beloved children.
When Christ went through His passion and death, He held nothing back from us. Christ yearned to be united with us in all ways, so He emptied Himself to be born a man and even more, to die on the Cross.
So, we believe sin, evil and death no longer have power over us. God has overcome them for us. Therefore, the mystery of the Cross and the wounds of Christ are the “Gift of Love” for our humanity and salvation.
As we undergo our trials in life, we ought to reunite with Christ. We do not need to fear the crosses in our lives because Christ carries them with us. This closeness to Jesus is His gift of love and it assures us of victory.
In Francis, God found someone who loved Him for Himself. In Francis, God found someone who knew what it meant to love truly. In Francis, we have an example of what it means to be a Christian. Therefore, it has pleased God to bestow upon Francis the “Wounds of His love”.
May we follow the example of Francis and may our hearts burn with love for Christ and His people.