A Sermon on the Feast of the Transferal of the Body, 1267 - 743 

friend. Perhaps you might ask: "How could this happen?" But it surely did. Saint Paul was so caught up that he saw God's glory. Yet early in his life he had been a most cruel persecutor of God's Church and he had been present at the stoning of Saint Stephen. I assure you, if we are true and faithful friends of Christ, he will still speak to us.

Fourth, as Christ's friend, he was made like him in appearance by having the marks of the crucified body of Christ imprinted visibly on his own. The text from the Book of Maccabees about Alexander and Jonathan can be applied to Saint Francis: he sent him a purple robe and a golden crown and you are to take our side and keep friendship with us. Alexander, that is, Christ, dispelling the darkness sent Saint Francis a purple robe, namely, the marks of his passion. He imprinted on him the stigmata of his own wounds. Hence Saint Paul's saying applies to him: I bear on my body the marks of Jesus. Gal 6:17

What was the purple robe? I tell you that among the wondrous and well-nigh unheard of things we read about Saint Francis, there is one of a transfiguration when he appeared to his brothers in a burning chariot in the garden of the canons where he prayed for a whole night. While the brothers watched, the door opened and the burning chariot came in and went round the whole of the little house and they saw Saint Francis like a horseman in the chariot. He told his brothers that this happened for their consolation. Furthermore, he used to tell his brothers their own thoughts and the temptations they had. Thus, the Lord sent him the purple robe when he enlightened his mind.

He also sent him a crown on the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross when the golden sign appeared to him and within its wings the likeness of the Crucified Lord. He sent him first a chariot, then a likeness of the Seraph and the marks of the stigmata. So, I tell you, the passion of Jesus Christ was renewed in Saint Francis. He used to say that everyone who loved the Crucified Christ was his brother. He bore the stigmata of our Lord Jesus Christ on his hands, feet, and side. On his hands and feet what looked like nails with the points bent over at the back appeared, and they were made of what seemed like dark, sinewy skin. The points under his feet were bent back in such a way that you could put your middle finger into the ring they made. None of this is ancient history. I have seen and been in the company of some one who saw all this and told it to me.a




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 743