"Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible".
~St. Francis of Assisi~
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This week saw the culmination of a long cherished dream to make a pilgrimage to Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis, a saint who celebrated the values of simplicity, humility and chastity and had a deep reverence for all life. As I walked about in his sacred playground of Assisi where he spent most of his life, I kept getting this message ''walk freely and carry nothing for the inner journey. Divine love is so infinite, that in order to enter your heart it needs you to be shunya, empty''.
As I sat in silent receptivity at the Porziuncola of Saint Francis, a gentle voice said "become childlike if you wish to enter the Kingdom of Heaven". Reflecting on the deeper meaning of this message, I realised that being childlike (not childish) meant carrying a heart of innocence, trust and faith in the providence of God. Felt a deep peace descending on me with this message and I sat with gratitude for a long time.
When I finally opened my eyes, at that very moment, a nun walked in with lots of young children and they sat down in silent prayer. The lightness and innocence of these children filled the little chapel with a beautiful vibration of peace and forgiveness. After about ten minutes the children opened their eyes, and received a small piece of paper with something written that looked like a prayer from the nun. Feeling called to be childlike, I too stretched out my hand along with all the kids around me to receive a prayer. The nun looked pleasantly surprised, and with a gentle smile gave me a prayer.
The prayer is from Psalm 130, 7 and translated means: "Have faith in the Divine; for he is full of loving kindness and infinite forgiveness"
As soon as we stepped out of the church, the first thing to greet us was a super cute poster of four Franciscan friars in a state of deep joy, glee and abandon. What a wonderful validation from the Universe, a constant reminder to become a child again.
Aad Sach, Jugaad Sach (True in the beginning, True thoughout the ages)
Haibhay Sach, Nanak Hosee Bhay Sach (True here and now, O Nanak, God shall forever be True)
Prayer of St Francis of Assisi:
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy Peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
Oh Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
It is in dying that we are born into eternal life.