Stigmata or the singular stigma is a term that members of the Christian faith are using. They use it to describe bodily marks, sores, or sensations of pain in the exact places like the crucifixion wounds of Jesus Christ. These kinds of places are the hands, wrists, and feet. The term’s origin is from the line at the end of Saint Paul’s Letter to the Galatians saying, “I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.” The known and used form of the Greek word stigma is the same as stigmata. Stigma means a mark or imprint, tattoo, or brand. This kind of mark is like what people might have used to identify an animal or slave.
The History Of Stigmata
A person who is bearing stigmata is referred to as astigmatic or a stigmatist. Firstly, Stigmata is associated with the Roman Catholic faith. Many reported stigmatists are members of Catholic religious orders. St. Francis of Assisi is someone who was the first recorded stigmatic in Christian history.
According to Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, who comes from the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin stigmata, a subject of studying by several 20th-century physicians whose independence from the Church is unknown. The settings were reportedly unexplainable, and the wounds never became infected.
Different Cases Of Stigmata
Some cases that were reported of stigmata take various forms. Most of them show some or all of five Holy Wounds that were, like written in the Bible, inflicted on Jesus in his crucifixion: wounds in the wrists and feet, made by nails, and in the side, by a lance. Some stigmatists display wounds and scars to the forehead, similar to those caused by the Crown of Thorns. Other forms include tears of blood or sweating blood and injuries to the back from the scourging.
Many stigmatists show frequent bleeding that stops and then starts, at times, after receiving Holy Communion. A large percentage of them have demonstrated a high desire to receive Holy Communion frequently. A relatively high proportion of stigmatists also exhibit anemia, living with minimal (or no) food or water for long periods, except for the Holy Eucharist. Some go through a loss of weight.
Stigmata Injuries And Sufferings
The sufferings usually began for the Saints who endured stigmata starting on Thursday until the Friday afternoon around 3 or 4 o’clock. All the participants of this mystical wound suffered dreadfully. Many of the stigmatists experienced cruel rejection and suspicion before their injuries were seen and authenticated. Saints who have gone through stigmata were carefully watched day and night to tamper with the scars they could not perform. When they used these methods, some false stigmatists were exposed. Sometimes this stigma became invisible on express request and prayers by the Saints who suffered them.
Some stigmatists claim to feel the pain of wounds with no external marks; these are referred to as invisible stigmata. There are other claims where stigmata are accompanied by extreme pain. Some of the wounds do not appear to clot and stay fresh and uninfected. It is said that the blood from the wounds, in some cases, has a pleasant, aromatic odor. This is known as the Odour of Sanctity. Those individuals who have obtained the stigmata are frequently described as ecstatic since they are overwhelmed with emotions when receiving the stigmata.
There is no stigmata case known to have happened before the thirteenth century when depicting the crucified Jesus in Western Christendom proven his humanity.
St. Francis of Assisi
St. Francis of Assisi is famous for being the first recorded stigmatic in Christian history. In 1224, two years before his passing, he embarked on a journey to Mt. La Verna for a forty-day fast. According to history, there was one morning near the Cross’s Exaltation feast when a six-winged angel allegedly appeared to Francis while he prayed. As the angel approached, it was visible for Francis that the angel was crucified. They beat him from the sight, and this moment filled his heart with delight, joined by pain and suffering. Francis was allegedly left with wounds in his hands, feet, and side with the left of the angel. These wounds were as if caused by the same lance that pierced Christ’s side. Immediately, the image of nails appeared in his hands and feet, and the wound in his side often seeped blood.
As a tattoo design, the tattoo of stigmata is usually chosen from religious believers since this tattoo is considered to belong to the group of sacred tattoos. This type of tattoo design or stigmata tattoos generally appears on the feet and at the wrists, resembling bleeding and open wounds, very similar to Christ’s, and are usually chosen in his honor or those who believe in stigmata.