Review of William Cook's Francis of Assisi

Topics: Francis of Assisi, Thomas of Celano, The Glamorous Life Pages: 3 (1292 words) Published: January 7, 2002
In his book, Francis of Assisi, William R. Cook seeks to provide a better understanding of St. Francis of Assisi as an individual rather than in conjunction with the order he founded. Cook divides the book into six sections, each section concentrating on an important aspect or experience in Francis= life and spirituality. The six sections focus on his conversion; his relationship to the created world; the creation of the Christmas crib at Greccio; the role of learning; the relationship between the active and contemplative life; and his stigmatization at LaVerna in 1224.(pg. 18) In order to provide a general understanding I believe that these six sections can be narrowed down into three major themes that Cook sets forth; full surrender to God, a balance between world and self through an understanding of God=s will, and the importance of experiencing scripture over studying it. To support these themes Cook utilizes a number of reliable resources, both written and visual. In looking at the first and last of Cook=s six sections, Francis= conversion and his stigmatization at LaVerna, the theme of a full surrender to God can be seen. For a clearer understanding of Francis= conversion a brief look at his history is important. Francis was the son of a rich business man. In his youth, he spent time drinking with his friends and lived an entertaining life thanks to the pocket of his father. He dreamed, as did many of the teenage boys of his time, of becoming a soldier. It was seen as the glamorous life of heroes, who fought for their country as well as won the favor of beautiful women. What more could a boy want? So Francis headed off to war. Unfortunately his image of the glories of war was soon shattered. He was taken as a prisoner of war by Perugia, Assisi=s warring neighbor. After his release, Francis became very ill. For a boy of Francis= age, the sights of battle and prison are sobering experiences. Disillusioned with his previously held beliefs,...
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