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With Christ Crucified
Diane M. Houdek
Source: Bringing Home the Word
Published: Sunday, February 24, 2013

Francis often left the busy streets of Assisi for the solitude of a series of caves on nearby Mount Subasio. He nearly always took a few of his companions with him. In part this was an acknowledgment of Jesus’ words that wherever two or three gathered in his name, he would be in their midst.

Perhaps the greatest experience of his life took place on Mount La Verna, two years before his death. He had prayed long and hard to share in the sufferings of Christ crucified, and that night on the mountain, he had a vision of a six-winged seraph and of Jesus on the cross. He received the marks of the nails in his hands and feet, as well as the gash left by the spear that pierced Jesus’ side. But he was careful to keep the wounds as hidden as possible. Like Jesus telling Peter, James and John not to speak of the transfiguration, Francis didn’t want to call attention to his experience in a way that would sensationalize it.

Francis understood that the essential message of living a gospel life was to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and do the work that Christ did.

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