Review: The Message of Assisi - CTS Shrines Series

Review: The Message of Assisi - CTS Shrines Series

Frances Dodd

The Message of Assisi is a compact guide to the life and work of St Francis, written by a member of the Franciscan Third Order. It has brief outlines of the main sites to see in and around the town. As such it would be a handy light companion for the visitor to Assisi. The booklet contains mini walking tour guides with interesting background information, practical advice and scriptural reference. It has a number of Franciscan prayers and readings with advice for further reading about St Francis.

The author suggests that the reader uses their imagination to appreciate Assisi as it was in St Francis' time, rising above the scenes of tourists and their souvenir shops. The main aims are to allow the reader to experience St Francis as he lived, through the history of his life, and the buildings and countryside of Assisi, and to communicate the living message that is the legacy of St Francis today.

The example of Franciscans are drawn upon, such as St Maximilian Kolbe who prayed with the prisoners of Auschwitz, and Father Mychal Judge who was the Franciscan friar and chaplain to the New York Fire Department who was the first victim to be recovered from the Twin Towers wreckage. Ordinary and extraordinary lives inspired by the radical message of being dedicated to the life of Christ.

The booklet is particularly effective in talking about the popularity and influence of St Francis, in a section called A Life of Simplicity. His inspiring approach to life is unified in three themes. Seeing Christ in nature, a love of poverty to be closer to Christ and the poor, and a striving for interpersonal and international peace.

The message of St Francis is alive today in the people who visit Assisi, the international peace meetings held by the Pope in Assisi, and in the lives of people across the world who want to live a Franciscan life or strive in any way to live up to the example of St Francis.

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