Inspiring Paintings: Leaving and Finding a Father

Inspiring Paintings: Leaving and Finding a Father


One father curses

another blesses


While onlookers stare

and the bishop turns away


And finally

What is this all about?


Even heaven

And earth.


In this dramatic painting by Giotto,  Francis has taken off all his clothes and is appealing to God.  His earthly father (on the left), who demanded back everything his son, Francis, had given to the poor and needy, is being held back in his anger…

Leaving things behind and facing conflict are two relevant themes we can face on the spiritual way.

We can become too attached to things, we can invest our identity and security in them, they can be the determiners of our decisions and actions.

When we face conflict, it is a test of our conviction and our courage.  If we have the courage to stick with our decisions, however difficult the consequences may be (rarely do we choose to lose all our clothes like Francis!), then we can grow in courage, and we can develop the depth of our convictions.

At the top of the painting, just visible, is the hand of God.  There is a deeper blessing awaiting those who renounce clutter for the right reasons, and for those who are not bullied into following the world’s way.  It is a blessing of freedom.

On your spiritual way, is there any clutter you need to lose?

And are there any conflicts about which you feel called to take decisive action?

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