On May 8, 1213, St. Francis of Assisi was given a mountain. Count Orlando of Chiusi gave La Verna to Francis and his friar brothers as a retreat especially for prayer and contemplation. Five year later in 1218 Count Orlando built the friars the chapel Santa Maria degli Angeli (St Mary of the Angels).
In September of 1993, Pope John Paul II went to La Verna for prayer, contemplation and to meet with the bishops of Tuscany. During lunch while John Paul II was speaking with the friar brothers and bishops, he said here at both La Verna and Assisi, Franciscanism was born and in a certain way Christianity too by rediscovering the simplicity and fervor of the beginnings.
Sunday, May 17, 2013, the the Archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica, Cardinal Angelo Comastri, in greeting Pope Francis at the beginning of the celebration of Mass at St. Anna’s Parish, recalled the words of John Paul II – and said that is what is happening with his election. In the taking of the name “Francis” we all reminded of the need to rediscover Christianity by rediscovering the simplicity and fervor of our faith.
There is a moment when Francis of Assisi called together his friar brothers – men who had already accomplished so much. He told them: “Up to now we have done nothing…. Let us begin again and do what is ours to do.”
May we be blessed to do what is ours to do – as we pray for Pope Francis to do what is his.