I talk about my visit to the Chiesa di San Francesco in Fiesole in my cottagebythesea.net blog (posted below). Here I want to add some thoughts about faith.
I am especially drawn to this little monastery. If I were a monk it is where I’d want to live. But then, when I ask myself, “What if you had to stay here for three months (don’t even consider your whole life) and follow the same daily office and routine every day?” my fantasies disappear. I like routine, but I also thrive on variety and on anticipating future plans, my plans. As a monk, all I’d have would be routine.
The routine life of the monk is being in God’s presence and anticipating a future in the life to come, in life after death. Variety would only detract from this holy commitment. When I think of being a monk in these terms, I am humbled. Silence, solitude and simplicity, yes, but not all the time and not without variety and future plans in here and now.
"One of my favorite day trips from Florence is to Fiesole. Hop on Bus #7 at Piazza San Marco and twenty-five minutes later there you are at the top of the hill overlooking Firenze. The Duomo looms large.
There is much to see in Fiesole but I usually pass by the Roman forum, the local museums and cathedral, and climb the hill to the Chiesa di San Francesco. I can never resist talking pictures, and of course, blogging about it again.
On this early spring day, all was silent. I was in solitude, and yet the few visitors who came along offered a comforting sense of community to this miniature monastic complex. After all, those of us who had ventured to this out-of-the-way place must be kindred spirits in some way!
Every time I climb the stairs to gaze into the fourteenth century monks cells, I picture myself living in one of them. My AR (angel room) at home is not much bigger, but the comparison stops there. These cells are sparse—board for a bed, a desk and chair, Bible and cross. I won’t even begin to describe the AR! I will say, however, that these cells encourage me to simplify, to get rid of things, mainly books that are from another stage of life, books that I will never read again."