The sensuous Italian

Saturday 1 March 2008

When I think of the life of [St] Francis, I am reminded of a poor Lutheran pastor and his wife whom I met in a small village in Germany. When he left the room, she spoke of her husband with great love and respect even though his radical commitment to the gospel had brought her great pain and privation. Before he re-entered, she whispered to me solemnly and proudly, 'He makes being poor look brilliant! And like brilliance, he lights up everything.' So also Francis was no dark ascetic, but a passionate and sensuous Italian, who did not equate poverty with gracelessness or slovenliness. One need only visit his prayer spots throughout central Italy to discover that he chose the most scenic and lovely settings in which to disclose the darkness of his own soul. He knew that he had to surround himself with God's delighting in order to risk such painful truths.

Richard Rohr, 'Reflections on St Francis of Assisi', Near Occasions of Grace

May we all surround ourselves with God's delighting - whatever that means (usually, to me, it's the things that I don't feel like I have the luxury to do, which is exactly why I am taking myself off, in the middle of the day, to lie on my bed and read a book. The housework can wait - it's waited long enough, another day isn't gonna hurt :)


  1. Oh, Sue, that is beautiful!

    You (and Fr. Richard!) are so might about surrounding oneself with God's delighting, especially at the risky times. You go, girl! That is such a profound truth - you didn't dig that one up all by yourself, any more than Rohr did... I love it when God opens up these windows into glory!

    Blessings on you!


  2. Thank you for those kind words, Mike. Blessings on you doublefold :)

  3. What a sweet story of husband and wife too. That husband must have loved his wife well...maybe like Christ loves the Church?? ;)

    Aaaah, St. Francis is always welcome in my mind, what a brother.

  4. Jennifer - yes, indeedy :)

    Francis is a wonderful brother. I really want to see that movie sometime soonish

  5. Good for you. Funny how we have to give ourselves permission to do that which is most nourishing...most life-giving to we don't deserve it. Hope it was "delight"ful.

  6. Thanks, Shelia. It was delightful, reading in the middle of the day, so unbelievably luxurious ... almost as luxurious as going to the movies in the middle of the day :)


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