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Daily Catholic Question

Why do the stigmata appear in different ways?

Obviously, there are few sure answers we can give or find regarding the stigmata. We are not even certain how the stigmata (wounds of the Passion)looked on Christ’s body. We can only speculate. But we do know that the stigmata do not appear the same in all who are believed to have had them.

One stigmatic, for instance, had only the wounds that would have been made by the crown of thorns. Two possessed only the wound in the side. Some had the lance wound in the left side (Padre Pio), another in the right side (St. Francis of Assisi). One had the hand wounds in the wrists, others in the palms of the hands.

Is it significant that more women than men have had the stigmata? What can we conclude from the fact that most stigmatics came from the Dominican and Franciscan Orders? And what does it say that some saints were stigmatics but not all stigmatics were saints?

Ian Wilson, in Stigmata, searches for a natural explanation. Among the possibilities he suggests is some inner mechanism comparable to that which under stress produces evolutionary adaptations in species.

In his study, Wilson notes some stigmatics seem to have identified with earlier stigmatics—ultimately with Jesus. Finally, Wilson notes, "A really riveting feature is the extraordinary precision of the mechanism’s conformity to the visualization that triggered it. Stigmata have been precisely positioned to conform with the wounds of a stigmatic’s favorite crucifix. Or a wound may have taken on the exact shape, such as a cross."

That seems to imply that the stigmata may occur according to the way the subject pictures or imagines them.

Click here for the rest of today's answer

Sunday, May 12, 2013
Daily Catholic Question for 5/11/2013 Daily Catholic Question for 5/13/2013


Bernard of Clairvaux: Man of the century! Woman of the century! You see such terms applied to so many today—“golfer of the century,” “composer of the century,” “right tackle of the century”—that the line no longer has any punch. But Western Europe's “man of the twelfth century,” without doubt or controversy, has to be Bernard of Clairvaux. Adviser of popes, preacher of the Second Crusade, defender of the faith, healer of a schism, reformer of a monastic Order, Scripture scholar, theologian and eloquent preacher: any one of these titles would distinguish an ordinary man. Yet Bernard was all of these—and he still retained a burning desire to return to the hidden monastic life of his younger days. 
<p>In the year 1111, at the age of 20, Bernard left his home to join the monastic community of Citeaux. His five brothers, two uncles and some 30 young friends followed him into the monastery. Within four years a dying community had recovered enough vitality to establish a new house in the nearby valley of Wormwoods, with Bernard as abbot. The zealous young man was quite demanding, though more on himself than others. A slight breakdown of health taught him to be more patient and understanding. The valley was soon renamed Clairvaux, the valley of light. </p><p>His ability as arbitrator and counselor became widely known. More and more he was lured away from the monastery to settle long-standing disputes. On several of these occasions he apparently stepped on some sensitive toes in Rome. Bernard was completely dedicated to the primacy of the Roman See. But to a letter of warning from Rome, he replied that the good fathers in Rome had enough to do to keep the Church in one piece. If any matters arose that warranted their interest, he would be the first to let them know. </p><p>Shortly thereafter it was Bernard who intervened in a full-blown schism and settled it in favor of the Roman pontiff against the antipope. </p><p>The Holy See prevailed on Bernard to preach the Second Crusade throughout Europe. His eloquence was so overwhelming that a great army was assembled and the success of the crusade seemed assured. The ideals of the men and their leaders, however, were not those of Abbot Bernard, and the project ended as a complete military and moral disaster. </p><p>Bernard felt responsible in some way for the degenerative effects of the crusade. This heavy burden possibly hastened his death, which came August 20, 1153.</p> American Catholic Blog One of the things that we need to remember is that we’re preaching Jesus, not the institutional Church. It’s easy to get caught up in the rules and regulations of the institution and forget that we are saved not by the Church but by the person of Jesus or the Church as the body of Christ.

 
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