Things ancient
and ever new

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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)