Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Lessons of St Francis

The Lessons of St Francis: How to Bring Simplicity and Spirituality Into Your Daily Life

The author of the book is John Michael Talbot, who is a Catholic composer and singer and retreat director as well as an author. 

So from all that you can see this is a well-respected book -- available on Kindle and as a Google E-Book too, even though it was written over a decade ago.     Since there is so much out there in the way of reviews and previews, I won't go into a lot of detail about the book.   It basically discusses the life and thinking of St Francis in various aspects -- Service, Chastity, Humility, Compassion, and so on -- and brings in stories and thoughts that apply the teachings to modern life. 

It's another one I am regretfully going to give away before finishing.   I don't seem to be able to totally get on the same page as any of the simplicity books I bought.   This seems to be something about me, not the books.    St Francis of Assisi was actually my confirmation patron and perhaps I have just read enough about him and his work so that there is not much that seems really new in the book.  So when I start reading it, I don't seem to focus well on it, and I think someone else could get more out of it than I could. 

Talbot writes ecumenically -- so the quotes which are nicely inset on the pages, in a special font and textbox so they are easy to see -- are from Scripture, Catholics like St Francis de Sales, and many, many other sources.   He certainly doesn't hide his Catholicism, but he tries to find the broad commonalities between his faith and those of others.   This seems to suit the topic of St Francis, who is one of those saints loved and quoted by non-Catholics, even by non-religious types.    I certainly loved him when I first heard about him when I was thinking of becoming a Catholic.  Not only is he my confirmation patron, but one of my children is named after him and another also chose him as his confirmation patron.  There is something very universally appealing about him, and Talbot's book seems to portray and continue that appeal.    It is obvious that Talbot's affection and admiration for him is part of his life, not just an organizing theme for a book.  So I think it is a good book, even though I am not keeping it or even reading it all the way through. 

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