Christian Suffering and the Stigmata
The stigmata emphasizes the unique character of Christian grief and suffering and is a ultimate sign of recipocal love between creator and creation. While defying the rationale of the mind, this miracle of the wounds of Christ is a reality given to some of the most special saints in Church history. From the wounds of St. Francis to Padre Pio to the mere thorn wound of St. Rita, this mystical form of suffering is a Stigmata; a beautiful bond of love that is manifested to a very select few.This miraculous gift from God reiterates the idea of redemptive suffering. As in Christ’s death came life, so through suffering will come joy in Heaven. In everyday life, Christians are called to carry their cross and offer up their sufferings in union with Christ. The stigmata is a more extreme version of this that comes from an intense burning love. In many ways the one who suffers stigmata suffers for his own sins and that of the worlds tying their love with Christ who is the high priest of Calvary. The person who experiences stigmata loves Christ so deeply they would undoubtedly carry the cross for him if they could. They may even beg Christ not to suffer for them. Such intense love is only returned by Christ who voluntarily suffers for those he loves despite their protests because he knows only through himself can mankind be redeemed. In this love, we thank Christ but feel intense sadness in his suffering. The stigmata gives joy to those who receive it because they can suffer with their beloved.
This is the essence of Christian suffering–the gift of self for others and ultimate redemption
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Mark Moran, MA