Today is the fifth Sunday of this summertime Lent.
On this day, we celebrate the feast of the Stigmata of St. Francis, which he received during his observance of St. Michael’s Lent.
To honor the Lord’s Day today and to celebrate this feast, relax one of the St Michael’s Lent disciplines.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Let us remember that we are in the presence of a holy God.
Attend to the Lord today.
Take one minute of silence now, praying for God’s blessing on you, your family, fraternity, and all Exodus Men.
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
God has given judgment for you against her!
# A Reading from the Book of Revelation
And all shipmasters and seafaring men, sailors and all whose trade is on the sea, stood far off and cried out as they saw the smoke of her burning, “What city was like the great city?”
And they threw dust on their heads, as they wept and mourned, crying out, “Alas, alas, for the great city where all who had ships at sea grew rich by her wealth!
In one hour she has been laid waste.
Rejoice over her, O heaven, O saints and apostles and prophets, for God has given judgment for you against her!”
Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “So shall Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and shall be found no more; and the sound of harpists and minstrels, of flute players and trumpeters, shall be heard in you no more; and a craftsman of any craft shall be found in you no more; and the sound of the millstone shall be heard in you no more; and the light of a lamp shall shine in you no more; and the voice of bridegroom and bride shall be heard in you no more; for your merchants were the great men of the earth, and all nations were deceived by your sorcery.
And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all who have been slain on earth.”
Jesus gives us a warning against life in Babylon:
>But woe to you that are rich, for you have received your consolation.
Woe to you that are full now, for you shall hunger.
Woe to you that laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.
Woe to you, when all men speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets. (Luke 6:24-26)
The angel actually tells us to rejoice over Babylon’s fall.
Those who lived as exiles from Babylon will rejoice forever:
>Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are you that hunger now, for you shall be satisfied.
Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh. (Luke 6:20-21)
In living the beatitudes of humility and simplicity, St. Francis, once again, provides a supreme model.
St. Michael’s Lent points us to the need to pray and fast, pulling back from Babylon to enter into the cave of self-knowledge and humility.
The goal of this time is to be conformed to Christ like St. Paul: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
This is why it was during this time that St. Francis received the stigmata, the marks of Christ on his body, as related by St. Bonaventure (and others):
>When, according to his custom, he began to keep a Lent there, fasting, in honour of Saint Michael Archangel, he was filled unto overflowing, and as never before, with the sweetness of heavenly contemplation, and was kindled with a yet more burning flame of heavenly longings, and began to feel the gifts of the divine bestowal heaped upon him.
He was borne into the heights, not like a curious examiner of the divine majesty that is weighed down by the glory thereof, but even as a faithful and wise servant, searching out the will of God, unto Whom it was ever his fervent and chief desire to conform himself in every way…
>Now after that the true love of Christ had transformed His lover into the same image, and after that he had spent forty days in solitude, as he had determined, when the Feast of Saint Michael Archangel came, this angelic man, Francis, descended from the mountain, bearing with him the likeness of the Crucified, engraved, not on tables of stone or of wood, by the craftsman’s hand, but written on his members of flesh by the finger of the Living God.
And forasmuch as it is good to keep close the secret of a King, the man that shared this so royal secret did ever hide those sacred signs as best he might.
Howbeit, since it pertains unto God to reveal the great things that He doth for His glory, the Lord Himself, Who had imprinted those seals upon him in secret, wrought divers miracles openly by means thereof, that the hidden and wondrous power of those stigmata might be demonstrated by the well-known fame of the signs that followed.
Even without the physical marks of Jesus’s suffering on us, we are still called to the cruciformity of being conformed to Christ in his suffering.
St. Paul speaks of his own conformity: “Henceforth let no man trouble me; for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus” (Galatians 6:17), which follows from his previous statement of Christ living within him.
In the spiritual battle, we will win through this conformity, bearing Christ’s humility, patience, and love.
Reflect today on how you can conform your life to the life and death of Jesus.
God has given judgment for you against her!
Let us pray.
Lord, conform me to you that I may be dead to sin and alive in the spirit. Imprint my mind, heart, and body with the life of the cross. Amen.
Saint Michael the archangel, pray for us.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.