The Nakedness of Our Condition

The Nakedness of Our Condition


The bishop holds him

     like a child


And in his nakedness

  we see our own condition


Without impressiveness

without pretence



  to grace.


This poem takes its inspiration from the moment in St. Francis of Assisi’s life when he renounced his father dramatically by literally stripping off all his clothes (which belonged to his father), leaving Francis naked.

You can see Francis on the right in this painting by Sasseta.

The local bishop is helping to retain the dignity of the emotional and dramatic Francis.

When I saw this painting for the first time, I was struck by how very childlike St. Francis seems – he is held by the bishop the way a father holds a baby.

We are all like Francis in that one respect, at least. Behind whatever roles we play, we are all “without pretence” in the basic nakedness of our human condition.

But it is also a condition that is “open to grace”

Sassetta Saint Francis renounces his Earthly Father

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s