The San Damiano Cross is the one St. Francis was praying before when he received the commission from the Lord to rebuild the Church." Go repair my Church ,which as you see is falling completely in ruin".Touched
“Go repair my Church, which as you see is falling completely in ruin” – when the image of Christ in the crucifix at San Damiano miraculously spoke these words to St. Francis, he was awakened to new zeal. He first concentrated on repairing the church buildings of San Damiano and nearby churches before realising it was not the physical structures the Lord was talking about but bringing a return to living His Word and curbing the abuses in the Clergy and the christians living a life giving to pleasures.Little did he realize then that God was asking him to repair the entire Church through poverty, simplicity, humility, and love.
Why do franciscans cherish this Cross so much?
Because this image shows Francis as a layman, which most of the Church members are and we penitents are lay people (for the most part,though having religious also in our number).
We must, as penitents, keep ourselves in prayer before Christ, as Saint Francis did, so that we are attuned to him and receive our "marching orders." We must always act under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and not under our own volition.As penitents at prayer in the modern world, we see the Church and the world around us in need of restoration, as the Church of San Damiano is portrayed in this painting. Our call from Christ, given to Francis so tenderly yet so urgently from the San Damiano Crucifix, was to "Repair My House which, as you can see, is falling into ruin."
As lay people, we are to rise from prayer and bring the message and the action of restoration to our Church and to our world which is now, more than ever, in need of Christ. Some of us penitents have gone on to embrace religious life, but most of us are called to remain seculars. We will always be in prayer before the Crucifix, asking God to assist us in our on going conversion in a broken world that needs whatever mending help we can give in our state of life.
Symbolism in the Icon
The most striking element of the San Damiano Crucifix is the figure of Christ.