22 May ASIS. Third probation
The birds singing, the fog covering the mountains, the colours of the sunset or the sound of the rain falling… have a different nuance when you are in the city of Assisi.
In the streets of this small town, living the friars and nuns in brown habit, pilgrims of the most diverse origins and tourists attracted by the charm and grace of the place. There is something special about Assisi that is difficult to explain in words. It may have to do with its history, with the fact of being the cradle of sanctity or with the beauty of its landscapes, which make you connect with the bowels of creation. However, it is not only this, because, as Friar Giovvani told us when we visited the convent of San Damiano (a place of conversion for St. Francis and where St. Clare lived and died), what really happens in Assisi is that God is still waiting to meet with all those who have the desire to listen to His voice.
This is also our experience as pilgrims, who have once again walked confidently to allow ourselves to be encountered and transformed by the God who makes himself present in all his creatures.
We left Rome for Assisi by train. Upon arrival we visited the “Porziuncola”, the heart of Franciscans and an intimate place where the presence of God and the faith of the pilgrims can be felt.
In the afternoon we were able to pray vespers and adore the Blessed Sacrament in the friary of San Damiano, together with other pilgrims and people from Assisi who come there in search of the Prayer Encounter.
We also climbed Mount Subasio, the place where St. Francis and his companions went to retreat in prayer, and we were able to experience, accompanied by the rain, the beauty of creation and join Francis in saying: “Praise be to you, my Lord, in all your creatures”.
This expression becomes more meaningful for me after having had the workshop on JPIC, because as I walked along, some words resonated within me that encourage my journey of personal conversion: “This conversion […] implies gratitude and gratuitousness, that is, a recognition of the world as a gift received from the love of the Father […]. It also implies the loving awareness of not being disconnected from other creatures, of forming with the other beings of the universe a precious universal communion” (LS 220).
It is easy to recognize the gift received in this place, which makes you feel a true universal communion with all that surrounds you.
In the convent of the Clarises we participated in the Eucharist, where the crucifix of San Damiano is preserved, St. Francis prayed and he heard these words: “Francis, go and repair my church, which is falling into ruins”. Being in front of this Christ, and remembering the call Francis received, reconnected me with another theme which we have been working on recently: sexual diversity, confirming for me the need to place our charism of reparation at the service of the Church, sometimes “in ruins”, so that many can come to hear the voice of God who leaves no one out and keeps waiting for those who desire to meet Him.
Montse Chias, ACI