It is Sunday afternoon as I write this. It is the first truly warm day of the year: birds are chirping, bees are a buzzing and neighbors work in their yards. I sit on my back porch listening to Bach as I finish reading the biography of Saint Frances.

There were two parts of his life that amazed me. The first one being the early stage of his calling to God. Frances needed to leave the city and go to a land that was untouched by man to pray. The year was 1202. How often in today's world do we need to get away from it all? Even in Saint Frances' time he suffered from the noise of the city.

On September 14, 1224 Saint Frances prayed to God to experience the suffering of Christ’s Passion and to feel the very love that caused Christ to undergo such a sacrifice for mankind. Brother Leo, who was with Frances, at the time wrote these words:

”Suddenly he saw a vision of a seraph, a six-winged angel on a cross. This angel gave him the gift of the five wounds of Christ.”

This is the only case of a recorded stigmata ever. In faith much of what we learn is based on a mythic belief structure. We believe it because we want to believe it. That's OK as long as we do not push these beliefs on others. Did a flood happen? I don’t know, but I get the lesson.

I have always been attracted to the monks' way of life. Being that I am a father and husband I would make out to be a bad monk. Also getting up at dawn does not cut it for me either, nonetheless I am continually inspired by the ascetic life.

Years ago I read “A Monk in the World: Cultivating a Spiritual Life” by Brother Wayne Teasdale, great book for all faiths. His writing has stayed with me.

If I was to ever to walk off to the monastery I would need to find an order that has a Christian-Buddhist blend. Let me not conform to the conformist's life but let me experience the divine on my own terms. See I would be a bad Monk.

Next book on deck: Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist by Stephen Batchelor.