May the Lord give you peace! Recently I spent a week with our order in Rome and on the Monday I went to Assisi for the day. Though I’d recommend staying overnight it’s amazing how much one can fit in during such a short visit. I got the train from Rome at about 7.40 am and got to Assisi shortly after 10.00 am. The train back left Assisi at 18.18 pm so it gave me enought time to spend some time at at the Porziuncula – that little chapel very dear to the heart of Francis, some time at his tomb and at the tomb of St. Clare and shorter visits to some of the other major shrines.
As I walked those narrow streets on Monday October 8th I reflected on that little poor man whose Gospel way of life I try to imitate and I prayed in a particular way for those in Ireland who are now in Franciscan formation and for those men who are presently discerning their vocation with me. I thought of Francis who according to Thomas of Celano, his first biographer: “wanted to live as a poor man in every way; he was distressed to see anyone poorer than himself; he was content with a ragged and rough tunic; he often wished to divide it with some poor person; during the coldest times of the year he used to approach the rich people of this world asking them to loan him their cloaks or furs in order to give these to the poor; seeing a poor man carrying a load too heavy for him, in spite of his weak health he took over and carried it for him.”
I pray that many more men will follow Jesus in the footsteps of St. Francis and I encourage any of you who are discerning at this time to get in contact with me at: firstname.lastname@example.org