Tuesday, June 28, 2005
"The Lessons of St. Francis" by John Michael Talbot

 Well, I just finished “The Lessons of St. Francis” by John Michael Talbot. I had just written a very long and informative review, but my computer suddenly froze and I lost everything.

I don’t have the time to write the review in such detail again, but I will say how great the book was. It talked about St. Francis’ life in a way that separated it into a chapter on a certain aspect including one on humility, creativity, chastity, community, peace, prayer, et cetera. Each chapter offered examples of Francis’ life, quotation from other individuals, and good insight from the author, who is a Franciscan in Arkansas.

My favorite chapter was the chapter on creation, where Francis shows his love of all life because everything is a creation from the Divine and deserving of respect. Francis however wouldn’t agree with Pantheists, pagan nature worshipers, or Gaia theorists because God isn’t nature and nothing is greater than God. But, Francis did love everything that came as God’s gift and refused to eat certain animals such as lambs because Christ humbly identified himself with lambs. For this reason I have amended my life and will no longer eat the meat of lambs either. During the life of St. Francis, he even negotiated with a wolf attacking a town and found peace, while the greatest memory of Francis is probably his sermon to a group of birds that listened attentively.

The book was very straight-forward with good advice after every chapter on how to incorporate the highlight of that chapter in your life. For example, the end of the chapter on joy talked about being forgiving and thankful while not worrying about tomorrow. The chapter on creation urged recycling and a renewed commitment to respect all forms of living life as a gift from God.

The first page of the book began with a quotation by Francis: “Preach always, when necessary use words.” This is very true on how this man lived his life (after his conversion) by showing God’s mercy and love showing others the faith such as when he created the first nativity scene. We, as Catholics, believe we are saved only through grace, and we believe in faith and works. Look at James 2:26: “For just as a body without a spirit is dead so if faith without deeds.” (Read more)

For, what if Christ only had faith and no works? Would there have been the cross?

I recommend the book and give it a 8.5/10.

Prayer of St. Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;where there is hatred, let me sow love;when there is injury, pardon;where there is doubt, faith;where there is despair, hope;where there is darkness, light;and where there is sadness, joy.Grant that I may not so much seekto be consoled as to console;to be understood, as to understand,to be loved as to love;for it is in giving that we receive,it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

Read my post on St. Francis of Assisi

8 comment(s):

del_button June 28, 2005 at 1:59 PM
Anonymous said...

Hoo hah. St. Francis was my Confirmation saint, so he's definitely on my favorites list (beaten out by Mary and St. John the Baptist).

Francis was the ultimate pro-lifer. He really knew what it meant to treat all life as sacred. All of us can follow his example.

~ AleX

del_button June 28, 2005 at 2:18 PM
Anonymous said...

preach always, and when necessary, use words.

Ouch. A lot to live up to.


del_button June 28, 2005 at 2:20 PM
billathts said...

Like 'anonymous', I too was bowled over by the enormity of the implications of "Preach always..."

Thanks, Moneybags. PS, do you have a real name?


del_button June 28, 2005 at 4:06 PM
Matthew said...

I agree that "Preach always, when necessary use words" was probably great and probably one of the best openings I've read.

Billathts, I do have a real names but I prefer not to use it online.

del_button June 28, 2005 at 8:10 PM
billathts said...

I understand perfectly, moneybags. ok to call you mb for short?

del_button June 28, 2005 at 8:17 PM
Matthew said...

That's fine. Can I call you bill for short? :)

del_button June 29, 2005 at 8:02 PM
Tom.... said...

St. Francis certainly is an interesting guy...in another time he probably would be declared incompetent and someone would undoubtedly try to put him behind lock and key.
His prayer is a model for all of us, and a real challenge to me.
I would like to invite you to look at my blog at "tomsboomertimes".
I too am trying to live the Catholic life. take care.

del_button August 18, 2009 at 9:06 PM
Fernando said...

I just start reading the book and I got confused when JMT mentions "James the brother of Jesus." Would you please explain why many times in the book JMT says James the brother of Jesus?
Thank you!

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