THE LESSONS OF ST FRANCIS
Author JOHN MICHAEL TALBOT
Publisher PLUME PENGUIN
First published in 1998 this book remains in print and is available new. This indicates something of its abiding value. The author is a Christian musician and song writer and founded a lay order to encourage the community life embracing the values that characterised the life of St Francis. The book is a good and gentle introduction to this amazing man and the chapters develop, almost in a conversational way, the habits of life that challenged the medieval world in which Francis lived. Thousands joined him in living and preaching Christ.
Bearing in mind the wealth, selfishness and warrior spirit that were among the characteristics of Francis’ earlier life, the transformation that took place and led to these thousands turning their world up and down was surely the work of God. There is a timeless appeal in St Francis, his common sense approach to the Christian life is utterly practical for today. Here is a guidebook leading to the essential spiritual practices and habits that the Lord Jesus desires to see manifested in all His people. There is such need for simplicity to become our established way of life in Christ. Lessons and concrete suggestions abound in this slow paced book. No pressure is applied, the riches of St Francis life and testimony can have their winning way in those who will carefully read these chapters on joy, chastity, humility, community, compassion and creativity to name just a few. As you would expect, there are plenty of quotations from Francis. Lessons from the steps he took as he obeyed the Lord he loved and steadily served for what was in fact quite a short life. His impact was incredible.
Franciscan monasteries and lay orders seeking to put in practice his spiritual legacy are not diminishing in the 21st century, instead, they increase. Many find quietness and solitude and much help from foundations that continue to uphold and promote the teaching of this most lovable man. For those of an evangelical persuasion it is all too easy to turn away from anything that seems to smack of Roman Catholicism. This is a mistake, some have spoken of Francis as the most Christ like of all men and women. Who is to know whether this be so, but it is certain that there is an atmosphere of righteousness, peace and joy breathing through this book as it unfolds something of the treasures of St Francis example and manner of life.