"Where did Francis’s journey to Christ begin?
It began with the gaze of the crucified Jesus.
With letting Jesus look at us
at the very moment that he gives his life for us
and draws us to himself.
Francis experienced this in a special way
in the Church of San Damiano,
as he prayed before the cross....
On that cross,
Jesus is depicted not as dead, but alive!
Blood is flowing
from his wounded hands, feet and side,
but that blood speaks of life.
Jesus’s eyes are not closed but open, wide open:
he looks at us in a way that touches our hearts.
The cross does not speak to us
about defeat and failure;
paradoxically, it speaks to us
about a death which is life,
a death which gives life,
for it speaks to us of love,
the love of God incarnate,
a love which does not die,
but triumphs over evil and death.
When we let the crucified Jesus gaze upon us,
we are re-created,
we become a new creation."
Pope Francis (Assisi, feast of St. Francis)