Wednesday, March 20, 2013

"Francesco vai..."

Francesco vai, ripara la mia casa!

Someone was carrying a huge banner with that phrase on it at the Papal Installation yesterday. The crucifix at the ruined church of San Damiano near Assisi where St. Francis had gone to pray is said to have spoken to Francis, saying, "Go, Francesco, and repair my house."

Francis is said to have interpreted this to mean that he should repair the ruins of the church of San Damiano where he was, something he set out to do forthwith. The church which stands today is said to be the one Francis repaired with his own hands. A replica of the crucifix that spoke to him hovers over the simple altar at San Damiano. The original one is now in the basilica of Santa Chiara (St Clare) in Assisi, she being the founder of the Order of the Poor Clares, ordained by Francis himself.

We have a bulto of St. Francis here in what we call the "Jesus Room," and there is a larger statue of him (with animals) at the front door. Were I inclined to the Church in my dottage, it would be in honor of St. Francis, with whom I may share a certain spirit. But I am not so called at this point of my life, the Church and I having parted ways too long ago now for a rational reconciliation.

St. Francis, though, I hardly consider a churchman at all. He's a spirit of nature.

This Pope has taken Francis's name, the first to do so, and I'm cynical enough about Vatican politics to think he's intentionally committed a sacrilege. After all, Francis shamed the sacred and secular institutions alike in his own day, and he preached to the birds and animals.

On the other hand, at least in the first few days of his reign, this Pope Francis seems to be doing everything right -- and sincerely, too.

Maybe he will repair his spiritual house.

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