Throughout our visit to Italy, we have stepped into many a basilica, church or cathedral dedicated to one saint or another: St. Andrew, St. Paul, St. Peter, St. Clair, and more. Today, however, according to our guide Annie, we met the best-known and most beloved saint in all Catholicism: St. Francis of Assisi.
What did he do that sets him apart? He lived out his conviction that evil and sin stem from the accumulation of stuff and that war results from one person desiring the stuff of another (“If we had any possessions, we would be forced to have arms to protect them, since possessions are a cause of disputes and strife, and in many ways we would be hindered from loving God and our neighbor. Therefore in this life we wish to have no temporal possessions.”). He gave up every possession and labored tirelessly to build up God’s church — structure and spirit. It is very unlikely that were he alive today, he would appreciate the large, lavish basilica complex erected over his tomb.
The charming town of Assisi itself inspires peace and calm, to be sure, and the surroundings are breathtaking, so we focused on those things and enjoyed our visit to Francis’ home and birthplace.
Returning to our bus and the freeway, we continued northward and arrived safely in Florence. After settling in our rooms at the Croce di Malta (The Maltese Cross) Hotel, we enjoyed a dinner including some local Gilthead fish and tiramisu 🙂 .
Since buses are not allowed on the city center streets, we are on foot all day tomorrow with many places on our to-see list. According to legend — and Monique, we’ll have to guard against coming down with Stendhal Syndrome ( rapid heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, and confusion from being absorbed in the contemplation of sublime beauty). Hmmmm ….