No turning back

St Francis of Assisi – Cimbue

“When I was in sin…. I delay a little and left the world.” (Testament of St Francis 1-2)

In the previous article about this period of Francis’ life we highlighted his experiences at the abandoned San Damiano chapel – especially his prayers before the cross – and how they seemed to lead Francis from a burdened and directionless existence to the first steps on the path of conversion. In this same time period we also have the moment when Francis chose to “leave the world.”  The order of the events in late 1205 and early 1206 are not clear and are the content of some debate within the Franciscan world.  In other words, did Francis choose to “leave the world” and then have the San Damiano experience or vice-versa?  When did his famous encounter with the leper occur with respect to these events (the topic of the next article)? Hard to say, so I will simply tell the stories as best I can. Continue reading

Everything and nothing

In today’s first reading, despite the sin of Adam and Eve, even in the face of its consequences, life goes on. Life will be hard, but God is ever present. And it all started with the tree of good and evil. But here at the end of Genesis 3 the tree of life (Gen 2:16-17) assumes importance. It has not yet functioned as an integral part of the story, but now, because of sin, humanity is denied access to this tree and is expelled from the garden. Humanity is not able to seize the birthright of immortality offered by God. Adam and Eve are expelled from the Garden, cherubim stationed at the gate as guardians of the tree of life to prevent humanity from re-entering the garden. Continue reading