St. Francis of Assisi

( 13 )

Overview


The patron saint of animals, birds, and the environment, Francis of Assisi led the rediscovery of nature in the Christian West. This magnificent spiritual biography by the phenomenally popular G. K. Chesterton — a convert to Catholicism — chronicles the beloved saint's calling, his extraordinary life, and his influence in the Church. Its charm and wit will appeal to even the most secular-minded readers.
How fitting that Francesco Bernardone was born just after the Dark Ages ...
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St. Francis of Assisi

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Overview


The patron saint of animals, birds, and the environment, Francis of Assisi led the rediscovery of nature in the Christian West. This magnificent spiritual biography by the phenomenally popular G. K. Chesterton — a convert to Catholicism — chronicles the beloved saint's calling, his extraordinary life, and his influence in the Church. Its charm and wit will appeal to even the most secular-minded readers.
How fitting that Francesco Bernardone was born just after the Dark Ages when the world was awakening. He started out as a colorful troubadour with a fondness for French poetry, extravagant with money . . . until the sight of a beggar seeking alms opened his eyes to a world beyond himself. The scene so moved him, he vowed to God that he would devote his life to the poor and embrace a life of simplicity. This sense of humility and generosity continues to call to each of us today. With great affection, Chesterton explores the life and times of St. Francis — his joyous devotion, his sense of compassion and love for all creation, his visions and miracles, his stigmata, and his band of followers that became the Franciscan Order. Praising this great and original man who became one of the most popular figures in Christendom, the author calls him "a poet whose whole life was a poem." Here is a stimulating read for Chesterton fans, Christian readers, and anyone looking for a burst of pure inspiration.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780486469232
  • Publisher: Dover Publications
  • Publication date: 11/24/2008
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 188,730
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (29 May 1874 – 14 June 1936) was one of the most influential English writers of the 20th century. His prolific and diverse output included journalism, philosophy, poetry, biography, Christian apologetics, fantasy and detective fiction. Chesterton has been called the "prince of paradox." Time magazine, in a review of a biography of Chesterton, observed of his writing style: "Whenever possible Chesterton made his points with popular sayings, proverbs, allegories—first carefully turning them inside out." For example, Chesterton wrote the following: Thieves respect property. They merely wish the property to become their property that they may more perfectly respect it. Chesterton is well known for his reasoned apologetics and even those who disagree with him have recognized the universal appeal of such works as Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man. Chesterton, as political thinker, cast aspersions on both Liberalism and Conservatism, saying: The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected. Chesterton routinely referred to himself as an "orthodox" Christian, and came to identify such a position with Catholicism more and more, eventually converting to Roman Catholicism. George Bernard Shaw, Chesterton's "friendly enemy" according to Time, said of him, "He was a man of colossal genius".
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Table of Contents

I.  The Problem of St. Francis
II.  The World St. Francis Found
III.  Francis the Fighter
IV.  Francis the Builder
V.  Le Jongleur de Dieu
VI.  The Little Poor Man
VII. The Three Orders
VIII. The Mirror of Christ
IX.  Miracles and Death
X.  The Testament of St. Francis

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 13 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    A thing of beauty...

    G.K. Chesterton is one of the best Christian writers of the twentieth century. Prolific and artistic, he had the knack for combining a classic British commentary sense to any historical Christian subject, making it both the object of cultural interest and often historic reverence. As St. Francis of Assisi was one of the primary influences on Chesterton's decision to convert to Roman Catholicism (Chesterton once described his conversion as being largely due to wanting to belong to the same institution that had produced St. Francis), it makes sense that Chesterton would devote considerable energies toward this biography.

    Chesterton said that there are essentially three ways to approach a biography of a figure such as St. Francis - one can be dispassionately objective (or at least as much as can pass for such a stance), looking at things from a 'purely' historical standpoint; one can go to the opposite extreme and treat the figure as an object of devotion and worship; or one can take a third path (and you've guessed correctly if you assumed this was Chesterton's route) of looking at the character as an interested outsider, someone in the modern world but still one involved in the same kinds of structures and virtues as the one being studied.

    Chesterton's prose is snappy and lively, witty and bit sardonic at times. Chesterton is not afraid to digress to make his own points, and like the intellectual critic who cannot contain the myriad of responses to particular points, Chesterton treats us to a generous collection of tangential observations. One discovers, for instance, Chesterton's opinion of modern British history (that it reads more like journalism than like a developed narrative) - he makes the observation that journalists rarely think to publish a 'life' until the death of the subject; this of course cannot be helped in the case of Francis of Assisi, but the method of the media serves to highlight the difference in world-view between then and now.

    This is a spiritual biography - it does not simply go from event to event in Francis' life, but rather looks as the development of his spirituality, his calling, his order and his influence in later church (and more general) history. In his discussion, he looks at miracles and poetic production, political realities and logical fallacies, ancient sentiments and present-day practices. Francis is seen in many ways as the Mirror of Christ (not quite the same thing as the WWJD fad of the current day, but approximating the sense in some regards), but this sets up an interesting logical situation - if Francis is like Christ, then Christ is in some ways like Francis. Chesterton points out the importance of the difference, likening it to the difference between creator and creature, but there is still the interesting development in history where some tried to make Francis a second Christ (something Francis himself would have opposed bitterly).

    Fun, fascinating, spiritual without succumbing to kitsch, intellectual without being overblown, this book is a classic on Francis, and a classic by Chesterton, a small miracle of Francis (in the many sense of the term).

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2011

    Interesting more than I thought

    Wow, this perspective is great. It tells the life and history of the times that Frncis was growing up in and coming to his place through real like lens.

    It is gree so the typos and errors of the scan are acceptable, not too many to be a hinderance to understanding. Definite great read for growing in God.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 14, 2014

    Excellent Biography - I recommend it

    This is a must read for anyone studying the saints. However, Chesterton is not easy to read. Chesterton's works require thoughtful attention or the reader will soon get lost in a maze of complex thoughts that may cause one to put the work aside. In other words, it takes an active reading style to read this author.

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  • Posted April 12, 2013

    A worthy read!!

    Chesterton brings such a breadth and depth of knowledge and connections that his writings are always a bit hard to read. Through all of that, his depiction of Francis is wonderful, illuminating and inspiring. I learned some facts, like Francis has his eyeballs cauterized to overcome a growing blindness!! His trust that God would provide is very challenging for me; I could never do it the way he did it. Chesterton tells that little story well.

    This read is timely in view of the new Pope, Francis I. How like Francis is the Pope going to be??

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2013

    St. Francis of Assisi

    Good background to the times and era of
    St. Francis. Not as many details about his life. I would have liked more information on the Franciscan movement. This is a good beginning biography about Francis.



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