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By: Antonio Maria L. Rosales, OFM

A person of dialogue does not have to be constantly negotiating and engaging in conversations to achieve unity and common understanding with people. St. Francis showed us that dialogue is initiated by the Lord, and one has to maintain an attitude of listening, of contemplation, to understand his message and be able to transmit it to others.

It was in Mount Alverna, in central Italy,that Francis, holy Francis, withdrew to fast and pray:

"My God and all, Lord Jesus, let my body feel,the pains that you have suffered for love of us all."

He set aside those 40 days of breathless ecstasy,with his heart exploding, as he lived with intensitythe desire that burnt within his soul, so holy and so poor:

"There is no greater love than one dies for his friend."

As Jesus died on Calvary many centuries ago,so Francis now wants the same, for Jesus and for all.But it was not physical death, but one of mystic love,that only God can give with mercy from above.

When he awoke from that loving sleep,He had a strange sensation of pain so sharp and deep,His hands and side bore wounds with pain so sweet;He looked down and saw the same on his feet.

The saving wounds, the holy wounds of Jesus crucified,Were now like red roses on his hands, feet and side;He recalled it was the Lord as a Seraph had come that night,to grant him what he prayed for with such intense delight.

Now himself an image of Jesus crucified,Francis bore the wounds that no one else desired,for no one thought it possible thenthat in one's pain and suffering God, too, is glorified.

In this pandemic, gracious Lord, of mercy and of love,send us through Francis your healing from above;and in this time when we bear the wounds of pain,may your power come and heal us all. Amen.

(This is dedicated to 4 friars making Solemn Profession today in Davao City and to Sister Monique FMM, in Guadalupe, Cebu City.)