Stigmata, Physical and Spiritual

We Christians, by the grace of God, live in union with another Person. We share His undying life. Namely…

Ok. Now, raise your hand if you have ever heard of Padre Pio.

Padre Pio Dominus VobiscumWhen some of us were born, St. Pio of Pietrelcina still lived on this earth. He died 46 years ago today.

During his lifetime, Padre Pio wore special gloves because of a gift that the Lord Jesus gave him.

Receiving this particular gift involves a great deal of physical and spiritual pain. The Lord gives this gift only very rarely.

Anybody remember what it’s called, when a living saint receives the same wounds in his or her body that the Lord Jesus suffered when He was crucified? “I bear the ______ of Christ on my body.” Stigmata.

Hopefully all of us long to become saints. As I said, only very, very few saints receive the stigmata in their palms, in their own bodies. But being a saint requires receiving spiritual stigmata.

What do I mean by that? In the first reading at Holy Mass today we hear the following commandment:

He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will himself also call and not be heard. (Proverbs 21:13)

The cry of the poor gives a living saint spiritual stigmata. When someone near him or her suffers, the saint suffers, and does anything possible to bring relief. Remember, ‘the poor’ do not live somewhere else, far away. The cry of the poor comes to me whenever anyone needs help or love or support.

Now, the second part of the commandment. Shutting my ears to the cry of the poor means that someday I will cry, and not be heard. Someone who tries to become a saint, then, is really being practical about the future, when you get right down to it.

One way or another, sooner or later, we all find ourselves crying out for help. We all find ourselves among ‘the poor’ one way or another. If we want the Lord to hear us when we cry out then, let’s listen for the cry of the poor now.

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