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Posted March 9, 2005

Book: The Life of St. Francis
Author: Bonaventure
HarperSanFrancisco, NY, pp.165

An Excerpt from the Book:

Bonaventure (1221-1274), an Italian theologian and monk, is widely considered the greatest Franciscan mystic after St. Francis himself. Commissioned by the Franciscan Order, Bonaventure wrote this official biography of St. Francis of Assisi in 1260 — his riveting account is simple, yet inspiring, and essential reading for those looking to understand the remarkable life and spirituality of this revered saint.

“One day while he was riding on horseback through the plain that lies below the town of Assisi, he came upon a leper. This unforeseen encounter struck him with horror. But he recalled his resolution to be perfect and remembered that he must first conquer himself if he wanted to become a knight of Christ. He slipped off his horse and ran to kiss the man. When the leper put out his hand as if to receive some alms, Francis gave him money and a kiss. Immediately mounting his horse, Francis looked all around . . .he could not see the leper anywhere. Filled with wonder and joy, he . . .resolved from this always to strive to do greater things in the future.” — Bonaventure

An Excerpt from the Book:

Francis’s humility, therefore,
is worthy of imitation.
It merited such marvelous honor
even on earth
that it inclined God to his wishes
and changed the attitude of me,
repulsed the obstinacy of demons
at his command,
and held in check voracious flames
at his mere nod.
Truly this is the humility
which exalts those who possess it,
while it shows reverence to all
and deserves honor from all.

Table of Contents:

1. On St. Francis’s manner of life while in secular attire

2. On his perfect conversion to God and his restoration of three churches

3. On the foundation of the order and the approval of the rule

4. On the progress of the order under his hand and the confirmation of the rule

5. On the austerity of his life and how creatures provided him comfort

6. On his humility and obedience and God’s condescension to his slightest wish

7. On his love of poverty and the miraculous fulfillment of his needs

8. On his affectionate piety and how irrational creatures were affectionate toward him

9. On the fervor of his charity and his desire for martyrdom

10. On his zeal for prayer and the power of his prayer

11. On his understanding of scripture and his spirit of prophecy

12. On the efficacy of his preaching and is grace of healing

13. On his sacred stigmata

14. On his patience and his passing in death

15. On his canonization and the solemn transferal of his body