Today is the feast day of Francis of Assisi (1181-1226). Known as a man who expressed deep reverence for nature and who encouraged simple living, Francis is a beloved role model for people beyond the boundaries of the Christian church. We are fortunate that Francis left behind writings that can help us understand his ways of thinking and living.
Paraclete Press has published a lovely collection, Francis of Assisi in His Own Words: The essential writings. Translated, introduced, and annotated by Jon M. Sweeney, these writings are accessible to casual readers while also helpful to religion students. There are many books available on the life and writings of Francis, but this volume truly is a gem.
Several songs and prayers are included in this collection. Among these, I particularly appreciated Francis’ canticle for the women at the convent of San Damiano, the Poor Clares, which expresses simple beauty and heartfelt gratitude. When reading the rule, I appreciated Sweeney’s scripture citations in the margins. The language of the Bible was woven into the thinking of Francis and his contemporaries, while modern readers benefit from this extra help.
It can be easy to romanticize Francis of Assisi, but spending time with his writings provides a glimpse of the prayerful thinking at the foundation of his ministry. Through these writings, Francis continues to offer inspiration and practical advice for spiritual living. Within his words we can see evidence that Francis aimed to live his life in imitation of the gospel ways of Jesus of Nazareth.
I encourage you to support small publishers, and to explore the other titles about Francis of Assisi available from Paraclete Press.
Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided for review purposes. No fee was received.