Hi my dear friends I have had a wonderful magical mystery tour of Assisi, who could have known how charming the place is? How crowded it is with pilgrims and tour groups and people agog at the scenery, the mountains but more so, the story of St Francis. I was just one of many. The featured image is one I took on the path down from St Francis Basilica to Santa Croce, a beautiful steep walk down that is just a little less tough going as it is going up, beautiful whichever way.
I had as a kid been fed a story about Francis that goes nowhere near the truth of the man; he was a young clever wild thing, the son of a successful cloth merchant, who sought notoriety and adventure in town before heading to war. He liked to be the best, the funniest, the smartest and the bravest of all. Today I guess we'd call him competitive.
His father was proud of his son, and kept his party tab going as Francis was enjoying being the life of the party, and his father was seen to be a good provider. But all that stopped when Francis became ill on the way to Spoletto and the fellow soldiers left him behind on their way to war - it took 12 months to recouperate from bone TB. They had to do that because there is no army if all the soldiers become ill and the whole town depended on a win.
His father had become middle class as nobility sold up their possessions just to survive and sought to keep his son in that sphere as he would one day take over the business, and was bursting with pride because Francis was the best at everything he did - and his dreams ended that day too along with Francis'. (Sounds like life today for many don't you think? Nothing changes)
After that time of being so very near to death, he was a changed man and sought to be by himself delving into a new life, that of a beggar; his father was beside himself with rage but Francis could only follow his heart and God from that day on. And so begins the life of the man who was so loving and so successful at it, that he had 6000 followers (friars) and many Poor Clairs before he died.
His father was very upset and angry that 'his' dreams for his son dissipated, yet he could not have foreseen the love the world would come to have for his son Francis, nor the priceless messages he left for all of us, (me in particular I like to think). Note to self, never seek to change another's will, for one cannot know their future!
I have been quite touched by being there with him, by taking the pilgrim paths, by visiting the places he did and seeing the tiny little caves and sanctuaries where he stayed. I sat out on a precipice where he had sought refuge, I sat in a chapel that he loved to pray in, I looked out of a window upon a mountain of trees, that he once did also. (I cannot believe I have done that, nothing has changed, it is still a wooded mountain)
Why am I touched by Francis? I cannot put it into words, usually I have no such problems. Perhaps it begins with, because he had much, and gave it away? Not really. Perhaps, but more because he just loved and inspired so many others to, just love everyone, be helpful, live simply, don't take more than you need, in fact work all day to earn just enough to eat right now.
Things that I really wanted to hear I guess, because that is how I live my life and I have found someone I never knew about until now, a real friend actually, as that is how I feel about him.
I had so much when my beloved was here, and it seemed to me, that all was taken away, but how wrong was I? I have more than enough, I love and seek to serve and that is all one needs to do and be, to thrive.
Anything else anchors me rather than grounds me - it anchors me in the wants, the limits and to dissatisfaction (of all the things the five senses love to want but can never get enough of).
I would rather be grounded and turned inward to the other senses for my wealth, for that is where true knowledge and wealth is for sure.
Well, today I have landed on a new patch of Italy, Roma! And I have braved stepping out of the hotel door to go roaming around. I walked to the Colosseum and Pantheon and sat with a salad at a cafe then bought a gelato on my way home. Seems I can find my way easy enough.
I Am not alone, but I Am by myself - I can't believe I have the courage to do this, but I AM here. I asked for guidance as I left the building and found my way by the voice in my head that guided me, that's faith I believe.
Faith in the inner world to guide my little feet outward.
Scared still I have to admit, but I'll get over that soon, as I listen to the words that come from the silent mind :)
Todays picture is of my lemone and melone gelato sitting beside the Pantheon. Oh My Goodness Me! I'll post again soon about my Roma adventures
lots of love
xxx WendyJoy xxx