Monday, August 19, 2013

"The Road to Assisi" - Sabatier's biography of St. Francis

While reading books for school, I have also been doing some spiritual reading. I just finished The Road to Assisi: The Essential Biography of St. Francis by Paul Sabatier.

Essential? Well, maybe not, but certainly an important biography, the first modern biography of St. Francis, as the book cover notes. It was first published in French in 1894; the version I read was  edited by Jon Sweeney using the 1906 English translation. Sweeney abridged the book, used a different Bible translation for Bible verses, and corrected a few factual errors.

Still, the book is Sabatier's and a sense of him and his focus comes through. It was interesting to get a Protestant perspective on St. Francis, and seeing some familiar stories reported through different eyes. Sabatier also raised the idea that Francis was sometimes in conflict with the institutional church. I have to read more about that - including claims that some of Francis's earliest followers who tried to remain true to his vision were persecuted by the Church. To be honest, I don't know enough to address those claims intelligently.

Still, the book has me thinking, and gave me a greater appreciation of the mystical Francis.

Definitely worth reading for those who are drawn to Francis and Franciscan spirituality.

I also read a very short poetry collection: Grooks 2 by Piet Hein. I'd read his first collection of short, whimsical, and sometimes pointed poems. This book is more of the same.

A favorite:

That's Why

Why to bad writers
     win the fight?
Why do good writers
     die in need?
Because the writers
     who can't write
are read by readers
     who can't read.

For fans of short verse that sometimes make you smile - or think - Hein is fine!

Pax et bonum

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