by Nikos Kazantzakis
Following is the author’s prologue to this novel, written in 1962.
If I have omitted many of Francis’ sayings and deeds and if I have altered others, and added still others which did not take place but which might have taken place, I have done so not out of ignorance or impudence or irreverence, but from a need to match the Saint’s life with his myth, bringing that life as fully into accord with its essence as possible.
Art has this right, and not only the right but the duty to subject everything to the essence. It feeds upon the story, then assimilates at slowly, cunningly, and turns it into a legend.
While writing this legend which is truer than truth itself, I was overwhelmed by love, reverence and admiration for Francis, the hero and great martyr. Often large teardrops smeared the manuscript; often a hand hovered before me in the air, a hand with an eternally renewed wound: someone seemed to have driven a nail through it, seemed to driving a nail through it for all eternity.
Everywhere about me, as I wrote, I sensed the Saint’s invisible presence; because for me Saint Francis is the model of the dutiful man, the man who by means of ceaseless, supremely cruel struggle succeeds in fulfilling our highest obligation, something higher even than morality or truth or beauty: the obligation to transubstantiate the matter which God entrusted to us, and turn it into spirit. – Nikos Kazantzakis
I enjoyed this book. As noted above, it’s a novel and is creative in many of the conversations that could have taken place. What I enjoyed mostly was that it was written by Leo, who Saint Francis calls Leo the Lion. In his companionship and devotion to Saint Francis Leo suffers deeply. His struggles come across so much more human; whereas, Saint Francis is, well – a saint. I read this while in Italy. While there, we went to the Hermitage of the Carceri, where I saw the cave where Leo stayed, making Leo and his journey come much more to life. An easy read, beautifully written. Peace and enjoy – Ellen
Live Like Francis
Building a Bridge
by James Martin, SJ
This book by Jesuit priest Rev. James Martin focuses on what its subtitle proclaims: ‘How the Catholic Church and the LGBT community can enter into a relationship of respect, compassion and sensitivity.’
The book is an ideal starting point for parishioners, catechist and formators who may be unfamiliar with the concerns facing LGBT Catholics and their families and friends, or for those who are quite familiar but uncertain about how to respond.
Fr. Martin aims to turn down the heat in the culture wars. He turns to a key phrase from the Catechism of the Catholic Church – that LGBT people ‘must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity,’ and asks what it means to do so. With supportive prodding and provocative questioning, he encourages all parties to approach relationships with open minds, ears and hearts.” – Chuck Small, the Community of St. Francis of Assisi. (150 pages)
As an RCIA team member and catechist at St. Francis of Assisi and formator for our fraternity, I was looking for a way to expand my knowledge and sensitivity of the Catholic LGBT community. While this is not a Franciscan book per se, it is “drenched” in Franciscan Spirituality. It deals with a society deemed marginalized group of people who have not been treated as full members of the human race, even by the Church. Remember that it was our Seraphic Father, Francis, who taught us to see the face of God in all people of this earth. – Louis Coker
Padre Pio, A Personal Portrait
I was sharing with my aunt about my secular journey and that I was a member of the Padre Pio Fraternity. She had never heard of Padre Pio. I bought this book for her and decided I would read it before I sent it.
This was a beautiful, easy read. Written by Fr. Francesco, who knew and worked with Padre Pio, it was written just five years after the death of Padre Pio. It was extremely informative and moving. I guess I should have know that Padre Pio had suffered with the stigmata for 50 years, but didn’t. And that he suffered for five years prior to the stigmata manifestation. His suffering was tremendous and he offered it all for those around him and those souls who had no one to pray for them. I enjoyed this personal portrait, I hope you do to. Peace and joy – Ellen