Early this morning, a major earthquake hit the Italian region of Umbria. It will take time to access the damage and the loss of life, but from the look of things, it’s pretty bad. Let’s pray for all those affected. I’ve had the blessing of visiting this area of Italy, where the home of St. Francis is found. Assisi is a mystical place, and I was just talking about it a few weeks ago with someone who had recently stayed a week there. Assisi sits on the western flank of Mount Subasio, overlooking the valley below. I’m sure the founders of the town were drawn to the mountain for fear of marauders. They chose a wise location.
On some mornings during my visits there, I liked to get up early and talk the town. Because of it’s location on the hill, it can feel like you’re in the clouds, which you literally are. While out on my walks, alone with my thoughts and prayers, I could often sense that Francis or Claire would be right around the corner, or just down the street. Their presence in this holy place is palpable. I’ve been to Assisi probably more than a dozen times, and I have to say it is one of the most amazingly spiritual places I’ve ever visited.
In 1997, another earthquake struck Umbria, and that time Assisi suffered major damage, including the loss of some frescoes by Giotto found in the Basilica of St. Francis. I didn’t see news about any damage to Assisi in the earthquake today, but hopefully it was minimal.
Earthquakes are a part of life in many parts of the world. They were certainly a fact of life in my hometown in the LA suburbs of California. I was amazed several years ago when, sitting in my office in Maryland, I felt the familiar roll of an earthquake. We sometimes think we can control the world around us, and we are in charge of our fate. Earthquakes are a reminder of just how much is really out of our hands. That’s where trust in God comes in…