St. Francis of Assisi, a secret to accept
“This is the life that Brother Francis begged might be conceded to him and confirmed by the Lord Pope Innocent. And he [the Pope] has conceded and confirmed it…”
(cfr First Rule of the Friars Minor)
O r we wouldn’t have understood your secret, Francis;
what happened deep inside of you, and you were so sad
on your way back from Foligno and Spoleto:
what occurred inside
that unroofed church
dwhere all by Himself He was hanging, but He was like this:
like a king (a poor and a king!)
that crucifix wounded
by the moon shaft that night.
And we never knew
and I guess never will what
his voice sounded like and what he told you:
was it a cry or a moan
or perhaps a faint smile and then silence.
Or we would never have discovered that face
that you immediately recognized on the leper’s face;
and then you would see it everywhere
among the thorns of brambles, amongst flowers or amid clouds.
And we have not yet comprehended
what happened to you under that huge detached rock of The Verna
when over and over again at nights you would feel like the forsaken worm…
Or what happened to you in the garden
when slanting rays wounded the hedges
and you felt a spear piercing your heart
just like His heart had been…
And yet you lived on but not for long, then you fell onto the ground
like an overflowing broken vase
Francis, little man of God, you ended up heartbroken:
received naked by the bare earth
like a lover returning home
that gives back even the tunic he had borrowed.
Francis, Francis, help us to understand.
(D. M. Turoldo)