Rubber Bands—Franciscan Pilgrimage Part III

January 16, 2016 at 8:07 pm

In life, one has experiences that open us up. Our senses are more alive and expansive.  We are more attuned.  We are in the moment grateful and appreciative.  We are awakened and aware as we savor the present and the Presence.  We experience oneness and union with God   We may even “See The Light.”    These experiences may come upon us suddenly as we contemplate the beauty and majesty of nature or they may occur more gradually as we take time apart from the busyness of our schedule for a pilgrimage or retreat.   

We may exclaim as my wife Kathleen did:   “Who knew!”   “Who knew this serenity was at our fingertips!”  The Kingdom of God is at hand or at our fingertips. 

To paraphrase the Cure d’Ars, it was a gift of God to sit quietly watching God as God watched us.  No thoughts.  Just peace.  Content to sit and sit and enjoy the reverie.  A sense of what Paul calls a ” peace passing all understanding.”  A soft light that transforms all and comes through all. 

I am not sure when and where God’s light embrace initially occurred.  Perhaps in the chapel of San Damiano or the place of Clare’s transitum.  But after a while, I came to count on such blessings  and look forward to them at all of Clare and Francis’ special places.  Most memorably they occurred at the caves where Francis slept, Clare and Francis’ tombs, Saints Paul and Bartholomew’s tombs and the chapel of the Cross of San Damiano in Clare’s Basilica.  These are places of awe.  Places that excite one’s spirit.  Holy Ground Why do experience this powerful presence now? Why is not available to all?  Or is it?  Why is not available to us at other times?  Or is it?  Or should it be? 

A special grace indeed. 

After  we returned home,  Kathleen yearned to continue this experience.  She said as she headed out the door, ” I will be back.  I want to go sit in a church.”  Similarly, in as much as we recently moved to a new home, I was thinking it would be great to dedicate some space in our place for meditation and prayer as our Hindu brothers and sisters do.  Kathleen reinforced this thought when she independently suggested that we turn one of our spare bedrooms into a chapel.  That is one way to continue to nurture and improve this conscious contact with God.  It is an attempt to overcome the inclination to return to the same old same old mindset as we are anesthetized by our comfortable cocoons of materialism, inactivity, or busyness which cause us to forget, ignore or suppress the challenge of Jesus and how Francis and Clare followed him.  

Our souls and consciousness were stretched to their limits.  But so often like a rubber band, after being stretched, they return back to their normal ordinary states.  Changed, but capable of more. 

Lord, You have given us much.  May we be faithful servants who do not disappoint but understand our duty and act upon it.  Thank you for your all embracing love.