Matt Weber’s Fearing the Stigmata is one young and committed Catholic’s delightful exploration of how to be a person of faith in a culture which is often dismissive of religious convictions.
At the outset of the book, Matt explains the title of the book:
“Why does my friend St. Francis have spots on his hands and feet?” I asked in prepubescent squeakiness. I remember wondering whether empty spots were the results of “leopard-sy” or were caused by some other condition.
“Well, Matthew,” she said, “those are holes and they are called the stigmata and it reflects the wounds of Jesus suffered during his crucifixion.”
“How did St. Francis get them?” I asked with queasy curiosity.
“He was good, Matthew, a good Catholic.”
That night I went home and decided I had better start doing some more sinning. Nothing too bad — I think I may have pinched my little sister and neglected to put some clothes in the hamper — just enough to make sure I would be stigmata free that night. While at the time I may not have fully understood the complexity of her answer, my teacher’s words have been present in every one of my actions, informing many decisions, providing me with bearings to a faith life I still hold dear.