On February 15, 2023, an afternoon continuing formation was held for all of the friars of the General Custody of the Sacred Convent of St. Francis in Italy (Assisi). The meeting took place in the Sacred Convent, in the Sala della Pace [Hall of Peace—formerly the Dono Doni Hall (a Renaissance painter)].
Friar Guglielmo SPIRITO gave a lecture on spiritual discernment found in the writings of St. Francis, other saints, the Franciscan Masters and in the Conventual Franciscan tradition.
In particular, Friar Guglielmo pointed out how Francis’ conversion experience with the leper, where what had once tasted bitter was turned into sweetness, was primarily a spiritual experience in which he discerned God’s presence and action in reality.
Next, Friar Guglielmo spoke about spiritual discernment in the teachings of the Franciscan Masters, namely, St. Bonaventure and St. Bernardine of Siena. Finally, he talked about spiritual discernment in the Constitutions of Orvieto (17th century), which prescribed that each friar undertake an annual spiritual retreat lasting fifteen days, a period to include daily individual interviews with the retreat director, so that each friar might refine the art and experience of spiritual discernment in his daily life.
The meeting concluded with a brief discussion conducted in groups. Each friar was invited to talk about a spiritual change of taste that occurred in his own conversion, which reflected what Francis experienced in his encounter with the leper.
Friar Giulio CESAREO