During the Lent of 1224, two years before his death, his mind and heart turned frequently to meditate upon the suffering of Christ and His obedience to the Father. Retreating with Friar Leo into the wilderness, Francis agonized over the great pain that Jesus experienced and thanked our Lord for the supreme sacrifice that He had endured.
In the solitude of prayer on Mount Alverna, while praising God and pouring out his love for Him, Francis beheld the crucified Christ borne aloft by six wings. In this moment of seraphic ecstasy, he who had sought to imitate Christ in all things, received the marks of his Lord’s crucifixion—the stigmata—on his hands, feet, and side.
Lord Jesus Christ, Who, when the world was growing cold, didst renew in the flesh of blessed Francis, the sacred marks of Thy Passion in order to inflame our hearts with the fire of Thy love; mercifully grant that, by his merits and prayers, we may always carry the cross and bring forth fruits worthy of repentance: Who livest and reignest for ever and ever. Amen.