“Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe” (John 4:48).
Francis strenuously denied the suggestions that he was a saint. He kept hidden the marks of the stigmata. He refused to let people attribute miracles to him. He knew, as Jesus did, the human desire for signs and wonders, for the extraordinary and the marvelous. And they both knew that it was easy for people to get stuck there. St. Bonaventure’s Major Life of St. Francis shows us that after Francis’s death, the signs of his holiness could no longer be hidden.
After his death the Lord made the truth of them still more manifest through miracles which occurred in different parts of the world. These miracles touched the hearts of many persons who had not rightly judged and appreciated the servant of God during his life time, and had doubted about the stigmata. Their doubt was changed into such faith and certainty that many who had formerly decried the servant of God were moved through the Lord to accept the truth and they became fervent in praising him and in spreading his fame and teaching.
We rejoice in the great things that Francis did during his lifetime and continues to do in the communion of saints. But those who spend time meditating on the words of Francis can also feel a twinge of regret for the hiddenness and humility he so valued during his lifetime. It serves as a reminder not to desire fame and fortune but to seek, as Francis did, only the grace of God.
—from the book Lent with St. Francis: Daily Reflections
by Diane M. Houdek