Why we should remember Francis every daydi Silvia Ceccarelli
The value of history is invaluably enshrined in the memory of the deeds of men whose high moral, human, and physical virtues have distinguished them from a small minority of individuals who, on the contrary, have abused their power over the centuries to exterminate entire populations, trampling on their dignity, infringing on their fundamental rights and destroying their cultural (as well as political) identity, which represents the particular trait of the city or nation to which they belong. Consider freedom, which was long unknown not only to women but also to a multitude of men forced to emigrate by coercion to distant places because they held beliefs different from those commonly held in the epoch in which they lived or for reasons based on a mutual desire for truth and justice. Whether saint, politician, or artist, it is clear that some individuals of past eras were able to transmit – on the strength of their example and their words – meaningful values and teachings to the subsequent generations, who followed in their footsteps, adapting the ancient ways to the current needs and to the new models of life. Looking back at history means retracing what has been in light of the present day, taking note of the mistakes made in order to avoid the same dramatic and unjust actions perpetrated on the ancient peoples or those who are closer to being our contemporaries. Because history represents a phase of growth and formation, as well as reflection, since a historical fact carries with it not only the objective event that took place at a precise moment in time but also what it represented in terms of ideals and rights that were suppressed, lost, or acquired. In the history of our beautiful Italy, for years in the grip of bloody wars, strife, and misery, there is no one who could gaze at the green hills of Umbria, where the city of Assisi stands with its characteristic walls above which a light of perpetual beatitude seems to shine year round, and not cherish the memory of Francis. Of our Francis. His history is a milestone, a memorable fact, we could even say a miracle, because St. Francis was a living model of mercy, of unconditional love for all the creatures that populate the world, of deep respect towards all human conditions, and of heart-felt gratitude towards Mother Nature, with whom he established a unique and impassioned dialogue In each blade of grass, in each stream that flows downward, softly furrowing the ground, in the clouds of the sky, in the rays of sunlight, in the enchantment of the moon and of all the stars, he saw the living breath of God, creator of such rare beauties. No stranger himself to suffering and imprisonment, Francis was able to maintain, especially in the most adverse and painful circumstances, the joy of a smile and the strength of spirit that can unbendingly withstand the myriad hardships of everyday life. If people did not speak about him, perhaps the trees would, and the leaves, and all the living beings with which he conversed in brotherhood and that he tirelessly protected from human violence and malice.