May God bless you with discomfort
at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships
so that you may live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger
at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,
so that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.
May God bless you with tears
to shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war,
so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and
to turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless you with enough foolishness
to believe that you can make a difference in the world,
so that you can do what others claim cannot be done
to bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.
The house without a window is Hell:
to make a window is the foundation of true religion.
Don’t thrust your axe upon every thicket:
come, use your axe to cut open a window.
photo: Assisi, January 2005
Today I give thanks for il poverello, St. Francis of Assisi, who introduced himself to me many years ago when I touched the stone walls of his home town; who turned my eyes to heaven on a cold, cold Feast of the Epiphany at his place of prayer and transformation, Mt. Laverna. He continues to teach and guide me every day.
(photo: Solvang, CA – December 2017)
The Canticle of Brother Sun
Most High, all-powerful, all-good Lord, All praise is Yours, all glory, all honour and all blessings.
To you alone, Most High, do they belong, and no mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your Name.
Praised be You my Lord with all Your creatures,
especially Sir Brother Sun,
Who is the day through whom You give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendour,
Of You Most High, he bears the likeness.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars,
In the heavens you have made them bright, precious and fair.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
And fair and stormy, all weather’s moods,
by which You cherish all that You have made.
Praised be You my Lord through Sister Water,
So useful, humble, precious and pure.
Praised be You my Lord through Brother Fire,
through whom You light the night and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.
Praised be You my Lord through our Sister,
who sustains and governs us,
producing varied fruits with coloured flowers and herbs.
Praise be You my Lord through those who grant pardon for love of You and bear sickness and trial.
Blessed are those who endure in peace, By You Most High, they will be crowned.
Praised be You, my Lord through Sister Death,
from whom no-one living can escape. Woe to those who die in mortal sin! Blessed are they She finds doing Your Will.
No second death can do them harm. Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks,
And serve Him with great humility.
that New Year’s Eve
we stood on the hill
above the vineyard
rise above the lake
from Pieve to Anghiari
later in the stillness
of the barn the cat chasing
our shadows on the wall
a moment so full
if today we could talk
we’d agree we had no better
earlier at the bar in Caprese
Michelangelo we couldn’t decide
what to drink to the new year
vin santo an old man said
holding up his glass
certo vin santo
Photo: Casa Singerna, Caprese Michelangelo, IT – January 2005 – J. Dewaters
photo: Rome, January 2005
Photo: Assisi, Italy – January 2005
Photo: Assisi, Italy – December 2005
Ask for something, Per
favore, please, the answer is
Thank you, Grazie, thank you,
you say. Instead of you’re welcome?
Prego. The answer is please.
Prego, listen, here in Italy, every
time you think you’re polite, this lift
of the verbal eyebrow, this rise
and fall of the voice like a hand
on its way to your shoulder, insistent
lifeline picking you up,
letting you go
again. No problem! Prego
pulls up the covers and tucks you in.
Cape of Saint Martin. Communion
wafer on each Italian tongue. Prego.
Please, Prego, I pray to you,
worry. Let me
do something for you.
(Photo: Assisi, 2002)
From “The Life of St. Francis:”
At the hour of the passing of the holy man, the larks – birds that love the light, and dread the shades of twilight – flocked in great numbers unto the roof of the house, albeit the shades of night were then falling, and wheeling around it for a long while with songs even gladder than their wont, offered their witness, alike gracious and manifest, unto the glory of the Saint, who had been wont to call them unto the divine praises.
Pace e bene to us all.
Today Franciscans around the world celebrate the Feast of the Stigmata, remembering the wounds of Christ imprinted on the body of St. Francis. The event is symbolic of Francis’s life. He suffered greatly and was profoundly misunderstood but his unwavering commitment to a God of unconditional love marked his life. Saints are not made in stain-glass windows. They are forged in the fires of rejection, displacement, perseverance and darkness because God is being born within. To live in Christ is to bear the weight of the world in evolution.
– Ilia Delio