Who do you say that I am?

Best laid plans …

My original intent was to post a photo everyday while in Assisi and Rome.  However that was not meant to be.  Perhaps it was for the best, though … since Father ‘does’ know best.  Not being able to ‘send’ from my MacBook enabled me to “let go” of the burden to blog daily and just take in the whole adventure and capture more in the camera.

Despite about 10 hours now of patient and expert help from the Apple team I am still not able to ‘send’ from my MacBook, but am remaining patient.  More help is on the way:)

I have been posting ‘Animoto’ shows on my Facebook page.  This is my first post here on “Franciscus Meus” since our fabulous ‘pilgrimage’ to Assisi.

This photo is a ‘close-up’ from a copy of the crucifix/cross that originally “spoke” to Francis in the church of San Damiano.  This copy is found in the Chiesa Nuova (New Church) built in 1615 and is located at the location of St. Francis’s home.

I can truly understand why Francis was moved by this cross of Jesus.  I blurred all but his face in this photo that you, too would be moved by his face.  As I study his eyes I sense a deep compassion and love, and a longing for me to let Him to be my “all that matters.”

He seems to be asking, “Who do you say that I am?”

Outside are two statues of his mother and father, holding the chains by which his father held him prisoner, attempting to hold him back from following Lady Poverty.  But his mother released him.  In this case mother knew best.

Inside the church you can view the dungeon where Francis was held prisoner.  There are beautiful paintings of early Franciscan themes.  There is a stairway that leads down to what used to be a workshop and now shows a copy of the crucifix, some excellent art of St. Francis and St. Clare and a wonderful stained glass window.  It is indeed a perfect place to spend some time with the One who yearns to be my “all that matters.”

Giovanni or Francesco?

Assisi is apparently one of the oldest cities of Italy.  It was called Aisision in the books of Ptolemy and the Latin poet Propertius was born there.  Christianity was brought there by St. Crispoldo.  Legend has it that Bishop of Spoleto, a disciple of St. Peter, consecrated St. Crispoldo as bishop of Bettona.  He had charge over Foligno in the south to Nocera in the north.  During the reign of Domitian St. Crispoldo suffered martyrdom.  Later three bishops from Umbria were also martyred–one of whom was St. Rufinus who was the apostle of Assisi.

In his honor during the 12th century a beautiful romanesque basilica of San Rufino was erected in Assisi (designed by John of Gubbio).

In this church is a romanesque baptismal font in which the first-born of Ser Pietro and Madonna Pica, Francesco, received the water of holy baptism (c. September 26th, 1182).

The spiritual struggles of Francis may actually have begun before his birth.  His mother, Pica, was a delicate, spiritual French woman, while Pietro Bernadone  was a cloth merchant whose every thought was toward his business and social status.  He was away on business when the child was born and Pica named the child Giovanni in honor of John the Baptist.  She sensed there was something different about this child.

Legend has it that near Christmas a beggar came and delivered a prophesy while holding the infant in his arms proclaiming that he would be “the best of all earthly sons of God.”

Pietro thought all spiritual talk to be “worthless delirium” and upon returning home refused to name his son after some ancient lunatic holy man.  Thus the boy was named Francesco, or Francis.  Interestingly the name was rare at that time but was the name of a road near Assisi, via Fransesca , which ran along the west side of the town ending at S. Damiano.

And so begins the struggle that would “rage around Francis all his life–the fight between love of God and love of Mammon.  From childhood on, Francis was grossly indulged and spoiled.”  (David Hazard)

Chasing Francis

“Chasing Francis is written in a genre called wisdom literature, which is a very delicate balance of fiction and nonfiction, pilgrimage and teaching.” Ian Morgan Cron wrote this very witty and engaging novel apparently after much research and gives credit to many authors whose writings or ideas influenced passages in his book.  There is a study guide at the end of the book to help us get the most from his book and he encourages us to get on line at www.chasingfrancis.com to learn more about Saint Francis.

“Chasing Francis is not a history or a spirituality book, though it contains elements of both.  It is a novel that touches a little something in the inner troubles of most of us who try to follow Jesus faithfully in a modern western environment.  Delightful!”

JOHN  MICHAEL  TALBOT, founder, spiritual father, and general minister, The Brothers and Sisters of Charity at Little Portion Hermitage

“By guiding us to wrestle deeply with a crisis of faith experience and by re-introducing us to a giant of faith, Ian Cron paves for us a path of grace, humility, and ultimate joy even through our “ground zero” darkness.  This is a life-changing work.  I now find myself “chasing Francis” in my life as well as in my art.”

MAKOTO  FUJIMURA, artist/writer, New York City

Having read Chasing Francis myself, I too feel that Ian touched on something that has been tugging on my heart.  There is a part of me that feels I have not been truly satisfying my thirst for God.  I desire to somehow make more of an impact in “my world” for my Jesus who gave his all for me.   Does “my world” see me as being different in any positive way or am I so much like the world that I am not making an impact?  How many of you upon introspection feel the same?

Introduction to Franciscus Meus

Featured

“For I know the plans I have for you,”  declares the LORD

“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,

plans to give you hope and a future.”

   Jeremiah 29:11

 Welcome to  Franciscus Meus.

I did not really have any big plans for traveling this year.  But I believe God has opened a door that I cannot ignore.  A couple of weeks ago an incredible opportunity presented itself.  I met David Rapp of Water’s Edge Community Church and Discovery Venture Tours.   He has arranged a debut  Spirit Venture or ‘pilgrimage tour’ to Italy “CHASING FRANCIS:   Assisi, Rome, and more.”

David has been taking groups of youngsters and adults all over the world for many years.  He  designed this tour after the current popular novel, “Chasing Francis” by Ian Morgan Cron.

The package consists of 7 nights in Assisi and 3 in Rome and will include tours, excursions, historic pilgrimage sites, prayer, Eucharist celebrations, engaging discussions over great Italian food and wine, and as you can well imagine there will be nonstop great photo opportunities.

This is an invitation for you to join us and hop on this Spirit Venture to Italy from April 11th through the 21st.  We need more pilgrims.  There are still a few openings.  Unfortunately this is very short notice.  You only have 9 days to sign up.  David is hoping for a group of no more than 20.  Go to www.discoveryventuretours.com  and get all the information and the itinerary.

My blog on Chasing Francis is entitled Franciscus Meus, “My Francis,” and will include thoughts on Ian Cron’s book and interesting facts about Francis and eventually photos from the tour.  Come ‘pilgrim’ with me. Click here to read all my Franciscus Meus posts.