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La Verna
By
Murray Bodo, O.F.M.
Source: Francis: The Journey and the Dream
Published: Saturday, September 14, 2013

On the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (September 14 in today's calendar), St. Francis experienced the stigmata during a period of intense prayer:

“He remembered that strange anticipation of his last journey up the long trail to La Verna, of his thinking of the woman with the hemorrhage in Mark’s Gospel, and how she felt through her whole being her healing, as from some ecstatic touch of Jesus’ hand that sent shivers up and down her body. The touch, the ecstasy of flesh on flesh, was all he could remember of that moment before he felt the stab of the wounds burning in his hands and feet and side.

"And after that there was about La Verna and even about the sounding of the name in his ears an almost unbearable feeling of peace, as if his whole life had begun and ended there.  La Verna was the impossible Dream and eternal Journey of everyone come true. And yet it remained only as a memory, except for the wounds of Jesus in his feet and hands and side. And they, of course, made all the difference between the poor man who walked up the mountain and the poor man who limped down.”

—From Francis: The Journey and the Dream, by Murray Bodo, O.F.M.


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