Today (Sunday) a group of pilgrims from our parish leaves for Italy; in our time there we will visit Assisi, Siena, and Venice, and we will also stop at Greccio, where Francis of Assisi famously re-enacted the Nativity story, and also LaVerna, where Francis received the stigmata. In Assisi we will have mass at the tomb of Francis, and also visit several of the sites associated with Francis. One of my favorite places to visit is the Church of San Damiano, the little church down the hill, outside the walls, where Francis first heard the call to “rebuild God’s church.” It is also the place of the original San Damiano crucifix, which is now located in the Basilica of St. Clare, inside the walls of Assisi. Over the past few months our group of pilgrims has been meeting, sharing meals together, and reading the book The Journey and the Dream by Murray Bodo which tells the story of the saint from Assisi. It’s always good to go back to Francis’s native land and see what he saw, and see how his sense of God was formed by the beauty he found around him.
This coming week, on Tuesday evening, our parish will be hosting a prayer service for the L’Arche community. L’Arche is a community that serves people with intellectual disabilities. It was founded by Jean Vanier, who died this past year and who was recognized by popes as a person who helped hold up the dignity of people who otherwise might be overlooked. The service will be in Anthony Hall Founders Room on Tuesday evening at 7:00pm and we are happy to host.
Sometimes people ask about good spiritual reading. A very good book I recently finished is An Ocean of Light: Contemplation, Transformation, Liberation by Martin Laird. It is a book about prayer and keeping silence and not worrying about distractions (which, by the way, are not sins, as sometimes people think). The author has written two other books on prayer; this is his most recent. It’s worth the time.
Blessings on your week!