Saturday, September 15, 2007

Montecasale: Fossa

Peace and Good! St. Francis had several hermitage spots in Italy where he liked to go for prayer. The requirements for them all seem to be that they were high up, far from town, and that they had water nearby. The last, of course, was a necessity: no one could long survive without water, even an austere hermit. For Francis water was important for life, both the life of the body and of the spirit. Water taught him much about God. As he says in the Canticle of the Creatures: “Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water, who is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.”
While I was in Montecasale, they were experiencing a drought. So the little stream nearby was not running—or better, it was barely running. There were pools of water and tiny streamlets over the rocks. As I sat by them one day, a deer creeped slowly down toward the pool, seeking to slake her thirst. “As a deer yearns for running streams, even so my soul.” What a gift water is, and the longing for water! They both speak to us of the goodness of God and of our need, built into us, for God. We can forget that need, until the thirst compels us to seek living water. That, perhaps, is what drove Francis up into those mountains!
God bless and keep you!

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