Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Montecasale: Up (and Down) the Mountain

Peace and Good!
St. Francis learned to climb! I don’t know if he ever loved climbing, but he certainly didn’t shy away from it. Of course, part of that came from his own youth, growing up in Assisi, a city clinging to the mountainside. You can hardly go anywhere in town without either walking up or down a street, usually a steep one. Still, to reach some of the hermitages he frequented, like Montecasale, required the legs of an athlete and the agility of a mountain goat! St. Bonaventure said of him:
“It was a custom of the angelic man Francis never to rest from the good, rather, like the heavenly spirits on Jacob’s ladder, he either ascended into God or descended to his neighbor…he spent some of his time working for his neighbor’s benefit and dedicated the rest to the tranquil excesses of contemplation.” (Legenda Maior XIII.1)
As I climbed the mountain above the friary, I realized that it is good for us to not only ‘ascend’ to God with our minds, but to feel such an ascent in our bodies too. Climbing up the mountain was hard work, but worth it when the climb ends at the top, where there is beauty and tranquility. However, though I was tempted, like Peter, to pitch a tent up there, I couldn’t stay up on that mountain; I had to go back to be with the friars, to pray and eat and wash the dishes with them. Coming down the mountain physically was also an important experience, and a hint at what it meant when “the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” We say that Jesus came down from heaven, for our sake. Francis experienced that in his soul and his body, and I think it helped teach him compassion and patience.

1 comment:

Carlitos said...

Querido hermano Roberto, gracias por tu mensaje, como no tengo tu e.mail me veo obligado a agradecerte a través de tu blog. Cuando quieras escribirme podés encontrar mi e.mail con mayor facilidad a causa de mi servicio, no te lo escribo aquí porque este medio es demasiado público. Un abrazo fraterno,
fr. Carlos, tu menor hermano.