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Time Away
Diane M. Houdek
Source: Bringing Home the Word
Published: Sunday, August 4, 2013

Francis understood the need to retreat from the hustle and bustle of an itinerant life with a varied group of followers. Whether he went to his hermitage on the slope of Mount Subasio or undertook the longer journey to Mount La Verna in Tuscany, Francis would take a few companions and go apart for several days at a time.

His biographers tell us that he struggled with depression and uncertainty, perhaps as a result of what he suffered as a young man in the military. Throughout his life, he placed heavier expectations on himself than he did on his followers. And time and again he believed he was failing to live up to those expectations.

Toward the end of his life, he learned to have more compassion toward his own failings and bodily weakness, perhaps as a result of the time he spent in prayer. He came to realize, as the great saints always do, as we all must, that God’s grace calls us to let go of even our desire for great feats of spiritual discipline.

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