The Benedictine Abbey of San Godenzo (Dennis Aubrey)


Wonderful photographs of well prayed places.

A couple of days ago we headed to Florence to meet PJ’s brother Mark in the Tuscan capital for three days. We decided to take the old road between Ravenna and Firenze through the mountainous Parco Nazionale delle Foreste Casentinesi. This road took us across the Apennines mountains where we came across the Benedictine monastery of San Godenzo.

Nave, Abbazia di San Godenzo, San Godenzo (Toscana)  Photo by Dennis Aubrey Nave, Abbazia di San Godenzo, San Godenzo (Toscana) Photo by Dennis Aubrey

We were desperate to shoot with our full equipment, including tripods, after the restrictions of Ravenna and we found the perfect place at the Abbazia di San Godenzo, a 12th century Benedictine abbey. The church was completely empty during our two hours there and we were delighted to be able to photograph to our hearts’ content. The structure of the church is quite familiar with a nave and two side aisles, but there is no transept. The structure is unvaulted…

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Creativity, Family, Food, generosity, Healing, Health, home, Mental Illness, Ministry, ministry, New Year, poverty, Prayer, purpose, purpose, renewal, Retirement, Spirituality, stewardship, Strength, Stress, Travel, Uncategorized, vision, Work

I’m in this mode or mood today. I have a form of malaise, the kind that comes after pouring out all you have until you are drained. Now my listless is my form of recovery. I have hit the wall and I’m not going on. Did I mention that my community has received 25 inches of rain since the first of the year? Our annual average is a whopping 56 inches! We can get rain in any month, so I have a giant umbrella in case I decide to get off the couch. Other cities thirst for our gift, I know, as the good Lord only spits some 37 annual inches their way. Y’all do get more than our paltry 3 inches of snow, however. Please don’t offer to share it. 

 I’ve been chunking away at my various projects, some of which are pure tedium (bookkeeping) and others which are fulfilling (the creative writing & painting). Then I thought about possibly listing my 1 bedroom condo and moving up to a 2 bedroom unit.  The sympathetic illness of moving day is pretty well Ingrained after all these years of itinerant ministry. This disease was quickly cured when I remembered my vow of voluntary simplicity. 
Living under one’s means frees us to give to the poor as well as lessening our need to worry about how our needs are going to be met. Living under our means gives us the opportunity to explore the world, rather than be house bound. We can eat better food and share our time with others rather than being on call for someone’s else’s time and having to eat some fast meal on the fly. 

If we are fortunate, our lives in “retirement” will be more like those of the Benedictine sisters and brothers. We will have an ordered life of work, worship, prayer, quiet, community, and study. We can enjoy a foretaste of that life to come in brief doses, either in 5 day or 2 year commitments at the Upper Room’s Academy for Spiritual Formation.

This mood, like all feelings, will no doubt pass in a day or two. Rest is good for the body. Taking the time to care for our precious selves is a gift we can give to God and to those who need us most. We will be better able to fulfill God’s call on our lives if we serve from a full heart, rather than an empty spirit.