Minute Meditations

Love and Triumph

person in pain

The stigmata Francis received in his final years revealed God’s pain within his pain. The stigmata reflected God’s empathy expanding Francis’s own empathy and circle of love to include all creation. Francis’s God is not aloof or apathetic. God is embedded in the pain and joy of the world. Our calling, as Francis and Clare discovered, is to identify the pain of the least of these as God’s pain. God experiences the pain and joy of creatures, which touch the heart of our immanent and intimate God. As Bonaventure writes, God is “totally submerged in the waters from the sole of the foot to the top of the head…. [God] appeared to you as your beloved cut through with wound upon wound in order to heal you.”

Gazing on the cross, as Clare counseled the royal Agnes of Prague, is not an abstract intellectual exercise, but a personal identification with God’s pain on the cross and in every moment of human misery. Clare’s gazing upon Jesus inspired her own solidarity with the pain of the world, and the divine and human empathy toward those who suffer also encompasses the joy of experiencing Christ’s resurrection, God’s loving triumph that brings healing to all creation and invites us to be messengers of hope to those who have been crushed by suffering and injustice.

—from the book Simplicity, Spirituality, Service: The Timeless Wisdom of Francis, Clare, and Bonaventure
by Bruce G. Epperly

Simplicity, Spirituality, Service Epperly

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