This slideshow was put together by Tammy for the Assisi 2021 online reunion, but please enjoy some images of Assisi even if you were not with us!
This short video, below, is from our Assisi Retreat in June 2019 that we did in collaboration with Dr. Edward Viljoen, Senior Minister at the Center of Spiritual Living in Santa Rosa. What a blessed experience!
Divine Presence Within – Edward Viljoen and Mirka Kraftsow
A Prayer Inspired by St. Francis
Listen to Mirka reciting a Prayer inspired by St. Francis, which is known around the world:
Click this play button to listen:
Lord, make me an instrument of your 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.
O 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, and It is in Dying that we are Born to Eternal Life. Amen.
From Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations – Center for Action and Contemplation
The Spirit of Francis
Most High, Glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart, and give me true faith, certain hope, and perfect charity, sense and knowledge, Lord, that I may carry out Your holy and true command.
– Francis, “A Prayer before the Crucifix”
Theologian and minister Bruce Epperly writes of the timely importance of the Franciscan commitment to both contemplation and action:
I believe that Francis’s message is even more important in light of this most recent pandemic. Francis—and his spiritual sister, Clare—remind us we are all connected. The paths of greed, consumerism, individualism, and nationalism endanger the planet and its peoples. In the spirit of Francis, we need to break down barriers of friend and stranger, citizen and immigrant, rich and poor, if we are to survive in this increasingly interdependent world. Nations need to see patriotism in terms of world loyalty as well as self-affirmation. We need the Franciscan vision of all creation singing praises to the Creator if we are to flourish in the years and centuries to come. Like Francis and Clare, we need to become earth-loving saints, committed to our planet and its peoples—in our time and our children’s and grandchildren’s time.
On a visit to Assisi, with Francis as a model, Epperly considers how we might participate in healing the world:
As I walked the streets of Assisi, I realized I needed the wisdom of this saint who sought to reform the church based on his experience of the Living God. I recognized that the church always needs reformation, but this reformation needs to be grounded in inner spiritual experience. . . .
Francis discovered that, despite being a military prisoner recovering from the trauma of battle, the everyday world whose values he took for granted was not his only option. His life could be different. The world could be a very different place than he had imagined. It dawned on him that his destiny might involve becoming one of God’s messengers, midwifing in time and space the Reality that beckoned him. He realized he had the freedom to become a citizen of a world not yet born, living by a different set of values than his parents and peers, and inviting them to see life from a new perspective: God’s vision rather [than] thirteenth-century consumerism, parochialism, and status-seeking.
Francis was on the edge of an adventure in spiritual transformation that would take him from privilege to prayer and from self-interest to world loyalty. His journey would inspire future adventurers to follow the path of spiritual activism, imagining a transformed church responding to a transformed world. . . .
God calls us to mystical activism, a deep-rooted spirituality inspired by our encounters with God and commitment to our spiritual practices, to bring beauty and healing to the world. Walking in the footsteps of Francis and Clare, we are called to be mystics of the here and now, not some distant age. . . . Within the concrete limitations of our life, our gifts are lived out and expand as we devote ourselves to prayerful activism.
Bruce Epperly, Walking with Francis of Assisi: From Privilege to Activism (Cincinnati, OH: Franciscan Media, 2021), ix, 8–9, 4–5, 12.
“This retreat confirmed that yoga is the most amazing tool I have found for allowing one to get in touch with our true self, our spiritual essence, regardless of what religious or spiritual path one is on, and that the physical health benefits are just one of yoga’s small, yet important, tools/benefit. Mirka and Tammy were gifted guides on this quest, bringing wisdom, history, nature, beauty, spirituality, humility, and perhaps most importantly, a sense of reverence and awe to our sangha’s individual and collective presence in Assisi.” – Craig, April 2019
“My experience at the yoga retreat in Assisi rose above all expectations. I came away feeling it to be a spiritual, cultural, introspective retreat with gentle physical awareness, all through the experienced, loving hands and heart of Mirka.” – Cheryl, April 2019