Why Do Catholic Saints Receive the Stigmata?

In the history of the church numerous Saints have been given the stigmata, the physical wounds of Christ, as an outward sign of how they are living their lives. Jesus told his disciples 'If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me' (Luke 9:23) In order to become holy we must become like Christ, and this includes making sacrifices. When God gives saints the same visible wounds that Christ had from his crucifixion, it is a sign of how much they are trying to live like Christ did.

However, you might wonder why anyone would every want such a gift, especially because having the wounds of Christ is often quite painful! First we must remember that the saints, above all else, are lovers of God. When you really love someone you want to be a part of that persons life and work. Christ's work is saving us and by having the stigmata saints are able to share in this work in a special way.

After Christ came and suffered and died for us, he changed something about suffering. Before Christ, suffering was pointless. The most important thing was to avoid it! However, through his crucifixion Christ transformed suffering. It now has meaning and purpose. Just as his suffering brought us forgiveness and grace, so now as Catholics our suffering can also bring grace to others if we offer it up to God. This is a great gift if you think about it. Christ took one of the worst things about being human’Ìâ‰âÂÌâ‰Ûùsuffering’Ìâ‰âÂÌâ‰Ûùand gave it a positive twist! In bearing the stigmata, saints are able to imitate Christ both physically and by offering up their suffering for others.

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