There is one statue on the huge front lawn at the Basilica of San Francisco in Assisi. I took this picture of it on a perfect, warm summer day as I was walking down the stone walkway towards the front door on my first visit. Like everyone else, I was thrilled and excited to be in such a beautiful place, yet this statue stopped me in my tracks. It seemed out of place at first and it took me a few minutes to recognize it, but once I did, it hit me, hard.
We all know the story of how Francis started out on his second attempt at knighthood and had a dream where God told him to turn back. It’s just a few paragraphs in Francis’ biography, but in this statue, we see Francis coming home in shame. To his family and friends, Francis in this moment was a coward and all Francis knew is that everything he tried to do up to that moment failed. He just had to listen and wait for God to tell him what to do next.
This is the miracle that touched me so deeply; that in this moment of acceptance and total loss, Francis followed his Savior, even though it was so very hard. As crazy and difficult our world appears to be, it is so much better because in that moment 800 years ago, Francis had the faith to listen to God and come home.
This month I am asking us all to take a moment to pray for those who need comfort, forgiveness and grace (including ourselves).