Friar Don Bassana takes us on a pilgrimage from Assisi to Mount La Verna
I set out with friars Philip and Daniel on a pilgrimage from Assisi to Mount La Verna where St. Francis received the stigmata. During this time, I found my life reflected in the nature we encountered.
Our walk began with much fanfare, with friars gathered in front of the Basilica to see us off on our journey, taking pictures and sharing a fraternal embrace. It brought to mind the joy I experienced the day of my Solemn Profession when friars gathered to share that moment.
Professing my vows was a mountaintop experience which will always stand out in my life – just as I’ve walked many years in the woods, but this particular walk to La Verna will stand out as a horizon-expanding experience. It was like a living meditation of The Canticle of Creatures, seeing the Beauty of God in His creation and experiencing its profound depth in the mystery of creation.
Our day usually began early in the morning while the cool night air seemed to be lingering on as long as possible before being warmed up by Brother Sun. When I gazed at the streams, I became lost in the journey of the water and its parallel in my life. There were places where the water seemed to be motionless, yet just a bit further downstream it began to rush and flow over the rocks, then suddenly a huge waterfall. I recalled times when things were going my way and all was calm, and then other times that were a bit more turbulent.
We sometimes entered a city for food and lodging. The noise of city living was a challenge to maintaining the quiet meditative mind found deep in the woods – similar to the challenge of maintaining focus on God and service to our brothers and sisters, while resisting the distractions life presents.
Signs on the path were difficult to find at times: was this the intended path or not?
Similarly, I seek help from God on my spiritual path, but signs might not show up as often as I would like. Yet, when I was able to suspend thought and just be, signs would appear and seem to answer the very question I had been pondering.
The road I travel in religious life, as in nature, is one being guided by God. I need only to make space with an open heart and listen for the whisper or subtle signs along the way.
Pace e Bene,
– friar Don Bassana OFM Conv.