The Red Jacket. October 4,2014. Feast of St Francis of Assisi

Before leaving Chicago , I needed to find just the right jacket: light, zippered pockets, a hood. I went to a number of stores trying to find the perfect jacket off the camimo. I finally found one, made by North Face that fit the bill. Just after landing in Barcelona , my fellow pilgrims and I got a taxi for the eastward trek into France. Of course, I left that “perfect jacket ” in the taxi. Now I had no jacket. Upon arriving in St. Jean Pied de Porte I went looking for a men’s clothing store, which
I immediately found. I entered , found the “perfect jacket” with the zippers in the right place and a hood …and in bright red!! It took less than 10 minutes to find the store, enter and find the right jacket. The only problem: the zipper zips up on the wrong side, maybe for those who are left handed. A minor inconvenience.
This jacket is a great reminder of the waste of time trying to find the right piece of clothing , the right car, the right shoes or stylish eye frames. My new red jacket had done the job and then some. I used it last night to keep warm in a rather cool pension.
On this Feast of St. Francis, I can see how I’m getting by with so few possessions. Francis teaches us wisely that possessions always end up possessing us. In the gospel for the Feast, Jesus teaches that what God has “hidden from the wise and learned he has revealed to the merest of children .” We who are sophisticated
and cultured think that what we wear determines our worth and status.
On this pilgrim journey , we all have just the bare necessity of clothes and they are washed by hand in sinks and tubs usually to dry naturally. Ironing is a luxury, for an iron us too heavy to put in any backpack and one would look ridiculous trying to iron. No one is impressed by anyone’s wardrobe which us so freeing. It is enough to have clean teeth and not smell. Although we all smell just a bit. On second thought , some of us smell worse than the cattle.
Francis walks with all of us, urging us to let go with our preoccupation with buying, buying and buying. It never makes us happy. He is walking with you….
800 years ago, in 1214, Francis walked the camino. I hope to get certificate in honor of the 800th anniversary of his pilgrimage. I’m certain he just walked with what he had on. Meanwhile , I am looking in my backpack deciding what to let go of. The mini I Pad weighs a little over a pound but I’m not yet ready to ship it to santiago. Maybe in Burgos. Maybe not.
One thing’s for sure : the red jacket is staying.
Buen camino. Fr. Frank

8 thoughts on “The Red Jacket. October 4,2014. Feast of St Francis of Assisi

    • Hi tom and Myrna. Thanks for taking time out to send me words if support and encouragement. They are do important. The walk is beautiful but very difficult. One step at a time. I’m praying for You. Peace and love. Frank


  1. Sister Sandra says:

    Buenos dias ,

    I believe that we all have some things that we could remove from our “back packs”…and make the journey lighter. I know that I do !!!

    Blessings ,

    Sister Sandra


  2. Anonymous says:

    A reporter once spoke with one of the oldest living men on the planet. He asked the man, “What is your secret to longevity?” The old man pondered for a second and said, “Keep breathing.” In your case the secret to you success is, “Keep walking.” Sometimes the obvious can be elusive. May Our Lord grant you a safe completion and return, – Bill Ruby

    Liked by 1 person

  3. jeffhesse says:

    Go Father Frank!! The Hesse Family is cheering you on and we said a prayer for you at 12pm mass. Looking forward to reading more about your travels on your blog. The pictures are beautiful! We miss you, and admire your determination!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Julie Turley says:

    Hi Fr. Frank, It is so great to read your postings along the way. I’m going to my closet right now to purge the unnecessary. Take good care of yourself. Peace!


    • Thank you julie. My own closet will be visited upon
      My return. At Sandra contacted me and the parish to pray for a desperate situation: an infant Kevin is in critical condition in a neonatal intensive care unit fighting for his life. His mother Amalia is also not doing well. I will pray for you mark and your two sons. Peace. Frank


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