Every person has a story to tell. Some stories and lives provoke deep thought, some serve as a warning to others of behaviors to avoid, some illuminate the greater beauty around us, and some point us to a greater power. The remarkable story of Giovanni "Francesco" Bernadone, who went on to become known as Saint Francis of Assisi, is a fascinating account of a man who gave everything for the love of his Savior, Jesus Christ.
Elizabeth Goudge exquisitely recounts the tale of this 12th century man of God, from his days as a young man gallivanting around the streets of Assisi, to his first calling of God to touch and comfort lepers, to his flinging off of the worldly in his decision to live as Christ did, to starting his brotherhood with his devoted followers, the Order of the Friars Minor. St. Francis' life exemplified a life of prayer first, in all that he did. If a decision was to be made, he first would seek the Lord in prayer. His life took on the pattern "prayer, work, healing, and teaching," and this model he followed throughout his incredible life. The Lord had much work for him as Francis sought the Lord in all - nursing lepers, preaching and teaching the many who flocked to him for guidance and prayer.
This lovely work reads like a poetic novel instead of a traditional biography, and Gouldge brings the life and surroundings of Francis to life with her vivid descriptions. She brings the soul-stirring emotions and convictions of what Francis likely felt to the page as she follows the course God ordained for him. Goudge seasons her work with thought-provoking excerpts at the head of each chapter from the writings of St. Francis.
I recommend this inspiring book to believers in Christ and nonbelievers alike. St. Francis lead a life inspired by Christ to help those around him, especially the extremely poor, the sick, and the suffering. Many can learn by this amazing man's life and devotion of unwavering faith in Christ as he reached out to the humanity around him. I wanted to read this book to learn more about the man who so inspires the city of Santa Fe, New Mexico, near where I live, and whose cathedral I have visited numerous times. Truly his life exemplifies that of a devout follower of Christ who gave everything he had in order to lead a life like that of his beloved Savior.
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