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Following up on Francis: The Journey and the Dream, Murray Bodo offers a maturing of his own friar's spirituality in this dramatic storytelling of Francis' close connection and relationship with Jesus. Here we see a multi-dimensional, yet internal ...
Following up on Francis: The Journey and the Dream, Murray Bodo offers a maturing of his own friar's spirituality in this dramatic storytelling of Francis' close connection and relationship with Jesus. Here we see a multi-dimensional, yet internal Francis as the ultimate disciple of Jesus: Francis as sufferer, in the wilderness, as itinerant, as misunderstood, in prayer, as teacher, as lover and protector of the poor, in authority while subject to God's authority, in community, as healer, as wounded.
Posted January 21, 2013
In talking about the writing process underlying Francis and Jesus, Fr. Murray Bodo says the controlling metaphor is Francis as Christ’s “Lovescape Crucified,” a description taken from the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins. Bodo came upon the theme as he searched for the “voice” that inspired him to write Francis: the Journey and the Dream forty years earlier. This time, the voice “pressed upon my consciousness to record the words and to shape them into some kind of coherent narrative,” he writes.
The emphasis here is on “narrative,” for Bodo applies dialogue and description to the basic biographical information, bringing the facts to life. For example, Bodo writes of Francis’s father Pietro’s reaction to the news that his son was leaving home to restore the chapel of San Damiano. “The more he thought about what Francis was doing, the angrier he became until his rage moved him to throw Francis into the small prison within the family home and lock him in.” And a couple paragraphs later, Bodo writes, “His poor mother...could only stammer that she loved him and wished he could at least live at home while he worked on the church.”
This narrative style applied to the “transfiguration” chapter brings the reader into the middle of the experience surrounding Francis’s receiving the stigmata and the aftermath. We see, for example, Francis giving a special blessing to Brother Leo, the one who cared for him and dressed his wounds. Taking the scarp of parchment, Leo kissed it reverently, Bodo writes, “and all his inner turmoil seemed as nothing...he kept it to the end of his life—not as a possession, but as Francis’s words made real on paper as God’s words are made real in bread and wine.”
The book is rounded out with a detailed chronology of the life of St. Francis and list of sources.