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With God in our souls

Poverty was exacting in Rivotorto. The autumn and winter months were upon them. They protected themselves against the cold and torrential downpours with great difficulty. They lit bonfires to keep warm and to dry themselves. At times they had nothing to eat.

“This is the novitiate of the new order of the knights of Christ,” Francis said to himself. “With the Lord’s understanding, we shall abandon the apostolic expeditions for a few months,” he told his disciples. “We need to grow in prayer, in obedience, and, above all, in brotherhood.

Oh, the heart of man! -Francis thought-. You can throw your body into the flames, but nostalgia can bend it like a bamboo shoot in no time at all.

Brother Francis was familiar with vulnerability, and spoke to his disciples every day, repeating the following words: “My beloved brothers, God is our wife. God is our hearth. God is our banquet. God is our festival. With God in our souls, the snows give warmth and the winters become springs. Where would we be without the Lord’s help? We would be pulled by the currents of temptation like a rushing stream.”

Francis showed his disciples how to plunge into God’s abyss. After plunging into such immeasurable depths, the brothers were able to cope with frost and snow and longing.

Excerpted from the book The Brother of Assisi by Father Ignacio Larrañaga


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