Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Some Franciscan Churches in Italy

St. Francis of Assisi has always been numbered amongst my favourite saints and continues to be so as a man of the Church who was inspired by the gospels, by the apostolate, by the wonder of God's creation and by a most literal and heroic poverty, also maintaining his fidelity to the Church of Rome and further understanding the importance of divine worship and that the worship and temple of God should itself not be impoverished.

St. Francis, as with other saints, has much to teach us today. The Holy Father reminded us in an audience earlier this year about St. Francis and his own context:

"Three times the crucified Christ came to life and said to him: "Go, Francis, and repair my Church in ruins." This simple event of the Word of the Lord heard in the church of San Damiano hides a profound symbolism. Immediately, St. Francis is called to repair this little church, but the ruinous state of this building is a symbol of the tragic and disturbing situation of the Church itself at that time, with a superficial faith that does not form and transform life, with a clergy lacking in zeal, with the cooling off of love; an interior destruction of the Church that also implied a decomposition of unity, with the birth of heretical movements."

But as he also reminds us:

"... it is important to note that St. Francis does not renew the Church without or against the Pope, but only in communion with him."

It is an important point which can hit anyone, of any school of thought, any movement, wherever they sit within the Church.

Now all of this is simply a preface to the actual intent of this post -- which is architectural as hard as that may be to believe. How that is so is that with St. Francis being on my mind of recent, my mind naturally turned to his spiritual sons and daughters, particularly within Italy and to some of the great churches associated with that order. I am so struck by their beauty, both architecturally and the beauty of their surroundings, that I felt a post might be edifying and inspiring.

Feel free to add further churches in the comments.

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Santa Croce, Florence

Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi, Assisi

Sanctuary of La Verna

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