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St Francis: Falling Through the Cracks

As we continue to wait, watching the story of Coronavirus unfold around us day by day, affecting each of us in different ways, as we also evaluate decisions made by political and medical leaders there’s an increasing sense of being worn down and of carrying a great weight. When I travel to pick up food supplies or work I’m noticing now more people out and about on the roads and in the city. This is despite the Government lockdown still being in place.

That human longing, almost at any cost, to be out moving amongst others in community is very strong. Financial hardship, stress, uncertainty about the future, increase in domestic violence makes it very difficult to be still. Our rapidly changing global and local terrain makes us restless.

However, this time also continues to also be a landscape that is marked by many spontaneous unexpected acts of kindness. Unlooked for, gratuitous but powerfully felt acts of goodness continue to be shown by all sorts of people towards all sorts of other people, strangers and friends, in need and distress.

But despite all this, and despite the Government assistance at this time, there are those who in their heightened sense of isolation, loneliness and helplessness - fall through the cracks.

A saint whose story, in more recent years, for me has broken free from being cliche is St Francis. He is a saint who fell through the cracks. And despite all improbability, found the God of Love right there in that dark deep crevice.

We can interpret the life of St Francis in many different ways - depending on the lens we look through. The story of St Francis, who lived at the turn of the 13th century, on one level makes a rollicking good read. His father was a wealthy merchant. Francis was well educated, loved fine clothes and the high life. He was a romantic figure who, as young man, became a knight fighting for Perugia in its town’s warfare with Assisi.

Locked up