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To Live As Francis Lived: A Guide for…

To Live As Francis Lived: A Guide for Secular Franciscans (The Path of…

by Leonard Foley

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The book is divided into different sections consisting of “reflections”, which are what normal people call “chapters”.
The first section is called the “Foundation” which is, as the authors put it, “Jesus Christ and no other.” That says it all, doesn’t it? Each reflection, such as “The Grace of Christ”, “The Real Christ”, “Jesus Visible Today”, “Mary, Our Mother and Model”, explains the different roles Christ plays in the Franciscan life.
The second section covers “Conversion”, the painful process we must endure if we are to throw away our old ways and adopt a new attitude. This is explored in reflections such as “Penance: Turning to God and Away from Sin”, “The Poverty of Christ”, “The Poverty for the Kingdom” (easily the hardest part of the conversion process), “Humility Toward Others”, “A Life of Chastity” (possibly the second hardest), and “Youth, Hope for the Future”.
The third section is a group of reflections on prayer. I found information here that hasn’t been explained by anybody else as plainly before. You get into what is prayer, what’s it for, what are the ingredients? Then it goes into what I call the “Catholic elements” of liturgy and Eucharist.
The fourth set of reflections teaches the role of those who call themselves apostles, which we can do if we follow Jesus and help others do so as well. You learn how to see Christ in others, how to represent Christ to others (a personal Jesus, if you will), how to love ALL people, what is the role of family (however defined), what’s really involved in forgiveness, what exactly do we mean by “justice” (important this day and age), how to be a peacemaker, what is consumerism doing to the environment we are charged with caring for, what is the role of work, how are we to regard those with illnesses, and what perfect joy is all about.
At the end of each reflection, there are instruments for further study. You find questions for reflection” to see if you understood the chapter, important “applications to daily life”, a prayer that’s relevant to the discussion, and you are also given scriptural and other references for each “reflection”.
By the end of the book you will have enough basic knowledge of what it’s like to truly live as Francis lived to be able to decide whether to study further or abandon it. It’s a small book that can be covered in two afternoons. It’s a very plain-spoken book that opened my eyes about what devout religious life is all about.
As for me, I would have liked to have seen more mentioned about the other woman in Francis’ life, Clare of Assisi, and the roles of women in general in Franciscan life. Also, the book calls itself a guide to secular Franciscans, and that membership in the Catholic Church is required for Secular Franciscan Order. I take exception to that.
After all, what is being a Franciscan is all about? On the outset it means patterning your beliefs after those of the legendary Francis of Assisi, but in reality you are simply patterning your life after Christ. And you shouldn’t have to join the Catholic Church or any other form of organized religion to do that.
So, to live as Francis lived is to live as Christ lived. CHRIST, not the hateful, misogynist, homophobic, and full-of-himself self-appointed apostle Paul. If I may paraphrase from the first chapter, as a friend of Francis your purpose is to respond to God’s love with TOTAL love of your own. This book puts you well on the path of doing just that, if you open your mind to what it has to say. Highly recommended.
(Amazon.com reviewer, By I. Gross Georg on June 1, 2003) ( )
  societystf | Mar 11, 2016 |
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