Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Saint Francis of Assisi

One day Francis of Assisi realized that he had to embrace the leper, the one from whom he had fled as the most repugnant of outcasts. Small wonder that soon after this embrace, Francis would hide in a cave and cry his heart out, grieving over all his sins. In the leper he had come too close to the trauma of bitter self-recognition; Francis encountered the wounded man he himself was. In the leper the reality to be avoided at all costs, had become the scene of encounter, healing and freedom. Jesus too was right there, of all places, in his “distressing disguise," in the wounded other. 

In Jesus the Lord God most high has become God most low, most lowly, wounded, vulnerable and always at the door, though we are so liable to miss him.

Crucifion, Pietro Lorenzetti (Italian, active Siena 1320–44), 1340s, tempera and gold leaf on wood, 16 1/2 x 12 1/2 in. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Used with permission.