Tag: Franciscan Spirituality

Il Poverello Library

THE POVERELLO | HERMITAGE LIBRARY OF SAINT FRANCIS

As many of you know, this past summer I began a new leg of my spiritual journey with God –a pilgrimage that continues to follow the steps and gospel trail of Jesus, but now also includes St. Francis as my walking companion. An announcement about this new direction and my advocacy work will be made here very soon, but today I’m pleased to introduce The Poverello Library at Humble Hermitage.

THE POVERELLO | HERMITAGE LIBRARY OF SAINT FRANCIS
The Poverello Lending Library was launched last July (July 12, 2018 to be precise) with a gift of four books on the life of Saint Francis of Assisi from my good friend and brother in the Lord, Fr. Randall Trego. Since that short time, more than twenty books about “the little poor man” ¹ have been added, with new volumes on St. Francis arriving every month.

Now keep in mind, this humble library (it seemed only apropos that in the spirit of St. Francis my little library have humble beginnings) is no Lanier Theological Library. Yet. Truth is, at the moment, the entire library fits comfortably on a single shelf in my prayer closet. (Yes, I actually have a literal prayer closet.)

All of the books in The Poverello Library are exclusively written about Saint Francis of Assisi or Franciscan spirituality and include biographies, non-fiction, and fictional works. These hardback, paperback, or occasional leather-bound books may be new, used, or even ex-library, but all are clean with no markings, notes, or underlining. Some are First Editions, and many are out-of-print. All are in very good or new condition.

LENDING LIBRARY?
But this is no ordinary private library where I plan to hoard books on the life of St. Francis for my own use, benefit, and pleasure. Rather, my sincere desire is to share these books and the spiritual lessons they convey about St. Francis with you, dear reader.

HOW IT WORKS
The system is simple (that’s Saint Francis looking over my shoulder with a smile of approval) and easy to use. The Poverello Library is offered as a ministry and gift to anyone with a sincere desire to learn more about Saint Francis and Franciscan spirituality and is offered completely FREE of charge on the honor system. (The library mails you a book and you return it in the same condition within 30 days.) Here’s how it works:

  1. Look at the list of books in the current library catalog that are sorted alphabetically by title.
  2. Select one book that you would like to borrow (check out) for up to one month.
  3. Contact Me to verify current availability.
  4. Register yourself with the librarian (that’s me) by providing your full name, mailing address, phone number, and email. (Sorry, residents of USA only.)
  5. Accept the library book loan agreement. (Books are free to borrow, but you pay the return postage.)
  6. Your selected book on St. Francis will be carefully packed and mailed to you via U.S.P.S. free of charge.
  7. When finished, you return the book to the library at your personal expense. (First Class mail is recommended, but Book Rate is acceptable.)
  8. Time to check out and read another book about St. Francis!

GIFTS & DONATIONS
All books listed in the library catalogue were either purchased out of my own pocket or gifted to the library. Use of the library system is 100% FREE of charge (other than return shipping), but your financial offerings, purchase of a book, or books on Saint Francis gifted to the library from your own personal collection are all welcome and appreciated. To purchase a book for the library as a gift, please refer to the suggested titles below:


THE POVERELLO LIBRARY WISH LIST

  1. St. Francis of Assisi: Omnibus of Sources
    St. Francis of Assisi
    Publisher: Franciscan Herald Press January 1973
    Date published: 1973
    Format: Hardcover
  2.  (To be decided.)
  3. (To be decided.)

NOTES & REFERENCES:

1 Il Poverello (The Poverello) | Francis of Assisi was commonly known as “Il Poverello” (the little poor man) due primarily to his personal embracing of the virtues of poverty, charity, humility, and simplicity in his life.

2 Photo Credit: The Poverello Bookshelf | Copyright © 2018 Allen Aaron White. Used by permission. | Nexus Prayer International.

St. Francis joins Nexus Prayer

St. Francis of Assisi (1182-​1226)

JESUS, SAINT FRANCIS, & NEXUS PRAYER
A WINNING COMBINATION

So, today, Saint Francis joined Nexus Prayer. (Or did Nexus Prayer join St. Francis?) You decide. Either way, our mission is the same – trying to authentically live out the Gospel in our daily lives while sharing the love of Jesus with our generation.

Nexus prayer has been a part of my daily spiritual activities for more than three years now. During that time, God has been ever-so-slowly transforming me from the inside out as I’ve spent quality one-on-one time just listening to him in prayer. As a result, I believe I’m a kinder, gentler, and wiser version (he said humbly) of my former self. That’s not so surprising since I’m convinced that the more time we spend with Jesus, the more we become like Jesus.

But what has been surprising this year is my increased awareness of and interest in all things Franciscan. Perhaps I should not be so shocked by my attraction to Saint Francis as I’ve worn a San Damiano cross for over twenty years and, as mentioned elsewhere on this site, most of the spiritual mentors who have been busy planting seeds in my soul for years are all Franciscans – John Michael Talbot, Richard Rohr, and Murray Bodo to name just a few. I just never thought of myself actually becoming a Franciscan. Until now.

“The more time we spend with Jesus, the more we become like Jesus.”

The Franciscan vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, along with their companion values of simplicity, humility, harmony, compassion, service, and prayer all resonate with me, albeit with a modern-day twist. Those admirable qualities notwithstanding, there are several important reasons why I am compelled to embrace a Franciscan lifestyle today, and why since the middle of July I have been prayerfully discerning a call to a Franciscan vocation (Anglican or Secular Order) in the near future.

All of these Franciscan virtues (Jesus’ virtues really) will be explored in future posts to my journal. For now, however, suffice it to say that there are several important reasons I feel compelled by God to continue my walk with Jesus, but now have St. Francis as my traveling companion:

THE DIVIDED STATES OF AMERICA
First, because perhaps like no other time in the history of our country (at least during my lifetime), many of the government leaders and people in our society (including Christians) seem to reflect the divided states, rather than the United States of America. Whether the issue is immigration, race, gun control, religion, gay rights, women’s rights, or the plethora of other human issues and societal ills, the current social and political climate have never been more polarizing. Us versus them. Still not convinced? You need look no further than the current controversy surrounding the Supreme Court to know that what I am saying is true.

THE NEED TO DO SOMETHING
Second, thanks to nexus prayer, I believe I am closer to God than ever before in my life and clearly hear His call to be obedient to step forward as an advocate for all the disenfranchised and most vulnerable members of our society wherever I am able. I desire to be a voice of love, peace, compassion, and reconciliation in contrast to so many who are stoking the coals of hatred and the flames of bigotry and racism. I can’t do everything, but I can do something and believe it is my Christian responsibility to do so. James 4:17 This is just one reason why my wife works in the mission field of sex and human trafficking at Redeemed Ministries and why I’ve recently begun volunteering and teaching at the Hope Center – a ministry that serves the homeless men and women in the North Houston Area.

THE IMITATION OF CHRIST
Finally,  although I will never measure up to the examples of Jesus, Thomas á Kempis, and Saint Francis, I feel led to walk this path today because I believe as Christians we are called…

  • To recognize the human dignity of every person as created in the image of God. Genesis 1:26-27 | Genesis 2:7
  • To be good stewards of our planet and take good care of God’s creation. Genesis 1:1-31
  • To share God’s unconditional love for all, and be a light in the darkness. John 3:16 | Matthew 22:36-40 | I John 4:7-12
  • To live the Gospel radically for “the least of these” Matthew 25:34-45 | Matthew 5:16
  • To be advocates for justice for the most vulnerable in our society: the poor, aged, sick, homeless, refugees, immigrants, and victims of sex and human trafficking. Isaiah 61:1 | Matthew 25:34-40
  • To be peacemakers. Matthew 5:9 | Matthew 5:11-17

Prayer is good. Nexus prayer is great. But as the Apostle James reminds us, “Faith without works is dead.” James 2:14-17 To this end, I’ve already taken baby steps in my life to be the hands, feet, and voice of Christ to my generation (more on this later), just as I believe Saint Francis did for his. In other words, the prayer not written by, but usually attributed to Saint Francis has also become my prayer:

Lord Make Me an Instrument
Lord make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
O divine master grant that I may
not so much seek to be consoled as to console
to be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to eternal life
Amen

Image Credit | Saint Francis of Assisi
The oldest surviving depiction of Saint Francis is a fresco near the entrance of the Benedictine abbey of Subiaco, painted between March 1228 and March 1229. | In Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons and License Art Libre.

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