It was the artist Giotto who got me really interested in “The Poverello”. Symbols and beauty so often speak louder than words…
Before the Cross
before a cross
Prayer, silence, meditation, and the resulting insights and visions – there are many of these recorded about Francis of Assisi. There is the voice from the crucifix (as painted by Giotto, above), the vision of the palace, the vision of the six-winged seraph that resulted in the legendary stigmata…And Giotto wasn’t the only artist called to record them in wondrous frescoes. .
Which symbols speak to us today? .
What beauty calls us deeper? .
Do we have any kind of sense of being called to work towards a vision? .
Like many great leaders, Teresa had an inspiring vision of humanity.
Her vision is not naive – it is the work of a sixty-two year old woman who had encountered plenty of conflict in her time.
But it is hard to beat in terms of seeing potential and beauty in every person who has lived, who is alive today, and who will ever live.
Here is an extract from”The First Mansion”, in “The Interior Castle” by St. Teresa of Avila.
” I began to think of the soul as if it were a castle made of a single diamond or of very clear crystal, in which there are many rooms, just as in Heaven there are many mansions. Now if we think carefully over this, sisters, the soul of the righteous man is nothing but a paradise, in which, as God tells us, He takes His delight. For what do you think a room will be like which is the delight of a King so mighty, so wise, so pure and so full of all that is good? I can find nothing with which to compare the great beauty of a soul and its great capacity. In fact, however acute our intellects may be, They will no more be able to attain to a comprehension of this than to an understanding of God; for, as He Himself says, He created us in His image and likeness. Now if this is so — and it is — there is no point in our fatiguing ourselves by attempting to comprehend the beauty of this castle; for, though it is His creature, and there is therefore as much difference between it and God as between creature and Creator, the very fact that His Majesty says it is made in His image means that we can hardly form any conception of the soul’s great dignity and beauty. “