What is your favorite book on the life of a Saint?

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What is your favorite book on the life of a Saint?

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Set 8, 2019, 1:32am

While this topic/question might not seem to be about apologetics it is about coming to understand the beauty and miraculousness of God through the lives of the Saints.

One of my favorites is:

The Village Priest Who Fought God's Battles
by Leon Cristiani

This is a biography of St. Jean Vianney

Set 8, 2019, 1:37am

>1 campusdan:

Thanks. I love St Jean Vianney, and he is the patron saint of the parish in which I grew up.

I also love St Francis, and probably my favourite book on him is St Francis and the Foolishness of God by Marie Dennis et al.

Editado: Out 28, 2019, 5:28am

A couple of interesting little reflections on St Francis:

God gave St. Francis to history in a pivotal period when Western civilization began to move into rationality, functionality, consumerism, and perpetual war. Francis was himself a soldier, and his father was a tradesman in cloth. Francis came from the very world he was then able to critique, but he offered a positive critique of these very systems at the beginning of their now eight centuries of world dominance. Rather than fighting the systems directly and in so doing becoming a mirror image of them, Francis just did things differently. The best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better...

Francis emerged precisely when we started “putting clocks into church towers.” {Adolf Holl, The Last Christian (Doubleday: 1980), 1.} When Christian leaders started counting, Francis stopped counting. He moved from the common economy of merit to the scary and wondrous economy of grace, where God does not do any counting, but only gives unreservedly.

As Europe began to centralize and organize everything at high levels of control and fashion, Francis, like a divine trickster, said, “Who cares!” When Roman Catholicism under Pope Innocent III reached the height of papal and worldly power, he said in effect, “There is another way that is much better!” Exactly when we began a style of production and consumption that would eventually ravage planet earth, he decided to love the earth and live simply and barefoot upon it...

For the past eight hundred years other men and women, inspired by the simple genius and freshness of Francis and Clare, have been developing and popularizing the original Franciscan revelation. This continual aggiornamento, or updating, has had a profound humanizing effect within Christianity, Western civilization, and other cultures...

It is not easy to put into a capsule the spirit and gifts of Franciscan thinking. Its hallmarks are simplicity, reverence, fraternity, ecumenism, ecology, interdependence, and dialogue. Its motto and salutation is “Peace and All Good!”

Francis believed that God was nonviolent, the God of Peace. This belief may be a simple presupposition for us today, but at the time when the Christian church was waging a Holy Crusade against its enemies, the Saracens {Arab Muslims}, Francis’s interpretation of the gospel life and its demands was revolutionary. Francis saw it from the viewpoint of the poor, especially from the place of the poor, naked, suffering Christ. He had deep devotion to the God who is revealed as nonviolent and poor in the stable of Bethlehem, as abandoned on the cross, and as food in the Eucharist. God’s meekness, humility, and poverty led Francis to become “perfected as his Heavenly Father was perfect.” Francis identified with the “minores,” the lower class within his society. . . And he passionately pointed to the Incarnation {of Jesus} as the living proof of God’s love...

Out 28, 2019, 5:51am

And more:

Francis and Clare of Assisi were not so much prophets by what they said as by the radical, system-critiquing way that they lived their lives. They found both their inner and outer freedom by structurally living on the edge of the inside of both church and society. Too often people seek either inner or outer freedom, but seldom do they find both.

Francis and Clare’s agenda for justice was the most foundational and undercutting of all: a very simple lifestyle outside the system of production and consumption (the real meaning of the vow of poverty) plus a conscious identification with the marginalized of society (the communion of saints pushed to its outer edge). In this position we do not “do” acts of peace and justice as much as our life is itself peace and justice. We take our small and sufficient place in the great and grand scheme of God...

By “living on the edge of the inside” I mean building on the solid Tradition (“from the inside”) but doing it from a new and creative stance (“on the edge”) where we cannot be coopted for purposes of security, possessions, or the illusions of power.

Francis and Clare placed themselves outside the system of not just social production and consumption, but ecclesiastical too! Francis was not a priest, nor were Franciscan men originally priests. Theirs was not a spirituality of earning or seeking worthiness, career, church status, or divine favor (which they knew they already had). They represented in their own unique way the old tradition of “holy fools” among the desert fathers and mothers and the Eastern Church, and offered that notion to the very organized and “efficient” Western Church.

For the most part, the path they offered has been ignored or not understood...

When Jesus and John’s Gospel used the term “the world,” they did not mean the earth, creation, or civilization, which Jesus clearly came to love and save (John 12:47). They were referring to idolatrous systems and institutions that are invariably self-referential and always passing away (1 Corinthians 7:31).

The connection that Francis of Assisi made with “the enemy” in his lifetime may be his most powerful statement to the world about putting together the inner life with the outer, and all of the resulting social, political, and ethnic implications. He also offers an invitation to—and an example for—the kind of interfaith dialogue that provides a much-needed “crossing of borders” so that we can understand people who are different from us. Francis’ kind of border crossing is urgently needed in our own time, when many of the same divisive issues are at still at play between Christians and Muslims and so many other religious, political, national, and racial groups.

Francis made several attempts to visit the troops fighting in the Holy Land, and in September 1219 he met with Sultan Malik al-Kamil in Damietta, Egypt. 1 At the time, in thirteenth-century Europe, there was almost no actual knowledge of Islamic culture or religion, but rather only stereotypes of “the enemy.” The vast majority of voices in the Western Church—popes at their lead—had been swept up in the fervor of the anti-Islamist Crusades which began in 1095. (There were nine Crusades; Francis intervened in the fifth.) Popes repeatedly used promises of eternal life and offered indulgences and total forgiveness of sin for those who would fight these “holy wars” that were then backed up by kings and official Crusade preachers. Hardly anyone objected or recognized that this was a major abuse of power and of the Gospel.

Francis left his own culture at “great cost” to himself to go to the Sultan, to enter the world of another—and one who was considered a public enemy of his world and religion. Francis seems to have tried three times, but only succeeded in getting to his goal on the third try. On this attempt, he went to Egypt primarily to tell the Christian troops that they were wrong in what they were doing.

Francis’ humility and respect for the other, and thus for Islam, gained him what seems to have been an extended time, maybe as much as three weeks, with al-Kamil. The Sultan sent him away with protection and a gift (a horn that was used for the Muslim call to prayer), which suggests they had given and received mutual regard and respect. This horn can still be seen in Assisi.

With great wisdom, Francis was able to distinguish between institutional evil and the individual who is victimized by it. He still felt compassion for the individual Christian soldiers, although he objected to the war itself. He realized the folly and yet the sincerity of their patriotism, which led them, however, to be un-patriotic to the much larger Kingdom of God where Francis placed his first and final loyalty.

Jan 24, 2020, 8:31pm

I deeply regret I missed these posts for so long, they are very interesting and motivating. The question of favorite book is very difficult, because I like bios in general, and the life of each Pope is almost always quite incredible. I think my favorite is John XIII by Francis Murphy, CSSR, perhaps in large part because I had already read much of the Pope's Journal of a Soul, which I had found wonderfully devotional and very interesting. Fr Murphy is a good writer, and I thought it interesting that mostly he seemed to keep his strong liberalism restrained.

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