The Wisdom of the Poor One of Assisi

The Wisdom of the Poor One of Assisi

by Eloi Leclerc, M.D. Johnson
     
 

Returning from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, St. Francis finds the order of humble friars, which he had founded, has grown so tremendously that now over 6,000 monks consider themselves "Franciscans."

But St. Francis is appalled to find that with this apparent success came a total rejection of his original vision which this thriving community of friars regarded

Overview

Returning from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, St. Francis finds the order of humble friars, which he had founded, has grown so tremendously that now over 6,000 monks consider themselves "Franciscans."

But St. Francis is appalled to find that with this apparent success came a total rejection of his original vision which this thriving community of friars regarded as outmoded and unsuited for their current needs. When he remonstrates, they suggest that if Francis cannot adapt to the new rules and regulations, perhaps he should go elsewhere.

Rejected by the order which he founded and despondent that the vision he felt God gave him is being scorned, Francis withdraws to a mountain hermitage with his beloved Brother Leo. There in a Spartan cave during a long winter of the soul Francis arrives at new insights into what God requires of those who would follow Christ.

This heartening story brings comfort to all who have faced loss or failure and feel that God is no longer smiling with favor on them. Trudging the paths with St. Francis, one comes to a flowering spring filled with new insights on what is required of those who would call themselves "Christians."

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Toward the end of his life, Francis of Assisi endured what can only be described as a time of great desolation and despair. His physical health was failing; the Order he had founded was moving away from his original ideals of simplicity and poverty; his mission to the Muslims had fizzled out; and several of his oldest and dearest companions had deserted him. It's not unreasonable to suppose that Francis also felt himself deserted by God. This sense of utter abandonment may not fit the hagiographies, but it sure makes psychological sense.

Franciscan Eloi Leclerc takes this time of abandonment as his starting place for this elegant and insightful meditation. The book is an imaginative reconstruction but one that's based on contemporary texts, of the struggles that Francis went through during his years of doubt and despair. Leclerc doesn't offer ready-made solutions or sweetly pious recipes. One of the great merits of this book is that he takes Francis' despair seriously. Ultimately, however, he also takes Francis' breakthrough moment seriously: the moment when Francis has the revelatory realization that, bad as life can get, "Deus est."

I've thought about this simple claim—"God is"—many times since reading this little book. On the surface, it may seem anti-climactic. But as Leclerc presents it, there's a great deal of wisdom in being able to make and live the assertion. It may be that there's more theology embedded in the simple affirmation "Deus est" than in all the world's books.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780932727459
Publisher:
Hope Publishing House
Publication date:
09/28/1991
Pages:
116
Product dimensions:
5.52(w) x 8.51(h) x 0.30(d)

Read an Excerpt

Leaving the dusty road and the broiling sun under which they had trudged for hours, Brother Francis and Brother Leo followed a narrow path which led through the woods toward the mountain. They proceeded painfully for both were weary. Their heavy robes of brown sackcloth had been unbearably warm in the full sun and now—how they did welcome the shadows which fell from the beech trees and the oaks!

The narrow ravine rose sharply and their awareness of every step was intensified by the rough pebbles under their bare feet.

At one point where the slope became quite steep, Francis stopped and sighed. His companion, a few feet ahead, stopped too, and turning toward him asked in a voice filled with respect and affection, "Shall we rest here for a moment, Father?"

Meet the Author

A Franciscan historian who has written extensively about St. Francis and the Franciscan movement.

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