Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Uneasiness of Assisi

All tranquil in its Umbrian valley, Assisi is a place where life’s usual plans broke down. It is a place where a family broke down. Off a side street, far from the great basilicas, a chapel stands strangely quiet over the home where a thirteenth-century family of means had lived, where a father had chained his son.

The peace of Assisi is not an easy peace although something calms down inside as you walk the stone streets of the medieval town. Someone had turned his back on what this town – or any town – could offer as enticement or solace or future.

Rituals and festivals and images suggest that there is a path that Francesco Bernadone took that each of us can take, a behavior that we can emulate, a set of values that we can make our own if we study his life. No one really wants to imagine the disappearance of family and financial resources, though.

Where did Francesco go? What did he hear and choose to believe although no one else could hear it? Did he eventually think that he had indeed rebuilt a church?

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