On our day off we decided to go to the Basilica at the top of the Sacred Mount Ingino. Of course we could have walked it, but it was our day off. They had this funicular-like thing, somewhat like a tiny gondola, called funivia, so we decided to take it.
It was nice to climb, a mountain without any effort for once on this trip. We enjoyed a leisurely pace of the day.
Every year Gubbio has Ceri festival on 15th of May where 3 teams carry these 3 posts weighing 300 kg, each, from the town to the top of the mountain.
Today’s walk for the first 5 km was flat (first time since Florence that we had flat terrain). After that we began our gradual climb.
As we walked, I kept thinking over a few things I learned about St. Francis’s life. After he came back from his captivity, he had a vision to build a church. He took merchandise from his father’s business and sold it so that he could fund his project. His father was not too happy with his choice and took him to a bishop who ordered Francis to pay back his father.
This is when Francis renounced everything and decided to walk to Gubbio to visit his friend who was with him in prison. Once in Gubbio, he helped the lepers and began his life of simplicity and service.
It is amazing to observe how events will propel one’s life in a different direction. Francis choose a life of austerity, compassion and service.
Buddha also renounced his kingly life and lived a life of an ascetic. Although, Buddha eventually brought forth the concept of a middle path devoid of extremes.
There are many people and many paths in life. No single path is better than another. One thing I have learned is, there are no mistakes. We all must follow what path is right for us and allow everyone else to do the same. This is also a form of practicing love and compassion. The world would be so much sweeter and blissful if we all accepted our sameness as well as our differences.