by Brenda Brisch
We were meditating at the impressive and yet stark tomb of St. Frances. It can only be entered by going down, down, down, descending all the 3 levels of the grand basilica. The narrow medieval stone staircase beckons all into the dimly lit crypt. I felt like I was being lowered down into the innermost depths of the cave of my heart.
The energy here at the ‘tomba’ is so palpable and strong. The presence of St. Francis and his 4 closest brothers who are also there, invite us to effortlessly plunge into the spacious quietude inside.
As I was listening to the continual river of pilgrims whispering prayers, gently shuffling their feet as they circumnavigate the immovable crypt , I had a beautiful experience: these gentle outer sounds were mirroring the soothing inner sounds of thoughts and sensations that were around or above my heart, but were not all all affecting the deep silence radiating there.
Everywhere we stop and meditate in Assisi, whether it be in a basilica, garden, convent or in an olive grove, our rich contemplations always bring us home to the heart. The vibrant beauty and the lives of Francis and Claire that walked everywhere we go, make this retreat so unique and special.