The Wisdom of the Poor One of Assisi Review

The Wisdom of the Poor One of Assisi
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The Wisdom of the Poor One of Assisi ReviewToward 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.The Wisdom of the Poor One of Assisi OverviewThis inspirational classic, translated from the French, tells of St. Francis' darkest hour when his original vision was rejected by the thriving community of friars he founded. Describing how he faced heartache and despondency, this tale brings comfort and inspiration to all who confront failure or loss. After a winter in a lonely hermitage, St. Francis emerges into the springtime sunshine realizing the only important thing in life is that "God is God," not that his own hopes and dreams are realized, nor that his own ideas prevail. A wise book for all seasons--especially for those dealing with disappointments or heartbreak.

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