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Gospel Living

St. Francis of Assisi Yesterday and Today

By Anton Rotzetter

Publication Year: 1994

Presented in three parts, this book offers an understanding of the life of Francis and the roots of the Franciscan movement, a concise and insightful overview of the evolution of the Franciscan movement in the three Orders, and a reflection on the challenges of contemporary Franciscan life.

Published by: Franciscan Institute Publications


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5

Table of Contents

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pp. v-viii

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pp. ix-x

An inter–Franciscan group from the countries of Europe gathered in 1978 to prepare for the celebration of the 800th anniversary of the birth of St. Francis of Assisi in 1982. In addition to planning a number of gatherings and celebrations, the group proposed a variety of literary and artistic initiatives. ...


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pp. xi-xii

Part I. Francis of Assisi

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pp. 3-8

That is the case with Assisi. When you hear the name, an image appears: a town on a mountain, fixed—according to one background of its name, assiso, "situated"—in the light of the rising sun. A haze shrouds the roofs, the towers, the whole of Mount Subasio, as if a mystery were kept there. ...

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Chapter 1. The Life of Francis

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pp. 9-36

At first, Francis is more an object of history, driven, fashioned, created by it. Only gradually and through a long process of transformation, was he able to detach himself from its forces and become free, a subject and agent of history. Ultimately he stands as someone who opens up a new history. ...

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Chapter 2. The Franciscan Vocation

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pp. 37-114

Those who wish to speak of Francis of Assisi must have a clear understanding of the powerful vectors and the program that gave direction to his life. They must be able to translate his form of life into thought, into concepts and propositions, into speech, and to a certain measure into a theory. ...

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Chapter 3. The Basic Experience

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pp. 115-146

The presentation of the five-point program is like a panorama or overview of the basic principles of Saint Francis. But we cannot stop with them. No matter how keen the eyesight of the eagle or the airman as they fly over the landscape, they still enjoy only a superficial view. ...

Part II. The Franciscan Spirit Through The Ages

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pp. 149-152

The Franciscan Roger Bacon (d. 1292) wrote: "To discover the shape of the earth, one must set sail toward the west to reach the east."1 Here we have an eminently Franciscan insight: it went against everything one could imagine, but it led to the discovery of America. ...

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Chapter 1. Shadows and Lights

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pp. 153-162

Francis was certainly the very opposite of a businessman; no organizational chart hung on the mud partitions of Rivo Torto, but only the names scrawled in chalk on the beams: Fra Francesco, Fra Leone, Fra Ruffino. What drew people to him, men and women, clerics and lay, old and young, was his Gospel conviction ...

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Chapter 2. The Franciscan Saints

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pp. 163-174

If there are any followers of Francis who have lived his spirituality fully to the point of being held up to the entire Church as models of the Christian life, it is the saints of the Franciscan Order. The Franciscan family as a whole counts five hundred saints and two hundred thirty-three blessed, ...

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Chapter 3. Spiritual Writings and Exercises

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pp. 175-186

Ever since its beginnings, the Franciscan movement has produced writings on spirituality. At the very outset Francis himself composed or dictated short texts which grew ever more widely known and which have even become the subject of doctoral dissertations and learned treatises throughout the world. ...

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Chapter 4. Art and Franciscanism

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pp. 187-194

Francis was a poet, not only in composing his Canticle of Brother Sun, but also in so many of his gentle words and gracious attitudes. It was he who started in Italy the "giulleria sacra," holy buffoonery, with his brothers, of whom he said, "We are the troubadours of God" (LP 43). ...

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Chapter 5. Popular Devotions

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pp. 195-200

In many countries and in many ages, Franciscans have taught the people of God to pray in their own languages and with succinct yet doctrinally rich formulas. Was it not Franciscans who, in 1250, introduced the custom of reciting the evening Angelus with the words of the second half of the Ave Maria: ...

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Chapter 6. Apostolic Activities

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pp. 201-216

Franciscanism has left its mark on the holiness, spiritual writings, arts and popular religion of the late Middle Ages and of modern times. We shall meet the same phenomenon again when we consider the intellectual and social life of the period. But from where do popular religion and forms of holiness come, ...

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Chapter 7. Knowledge which Leads to Love

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pp. 217-226

St. Francis distrusted that ignorant and vain knowledge which does not lead to love of God and neighbor. But he wanted his friars to possess a deep knowledge of God's Word so that they could communicate it to both believers and unbelievers. He himself evinces, in his writings, his sayings and his attitudes, ...

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Chapter 8. Charity, Social Involvement, Politics of Peace

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pp. 227-234

Franciscan spirituality, more than any other, avoids verbal conflict and affirms itself in action. Francis placed himself at the service of the forsaken lepers and wrote in his Rule that the friars should care for the sick among them, that they should show their needs to one another and provide for them. ...

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Chapter 9. Poor Clares and Tertiaries

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pp. 235-244

Too extensive a role may have been attributed, in the foregoing pages, to the Friars Minor, who certainly have no monopoly on the spirituality of St. Francis. That spirituality is, on the contrary, shared and spread also by the other two Orders rooted in the Gospel experience of Francis: ...

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Chapter 10. Tradition and Renewal

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pp. 245-250

In its philosophical or theological doctrine, in the forms of its apostolate, in the aspects of its holiness, in the currents of its spirituality, Franciscanism is not uniform, monolithic, devoid of contrast, precisely because Francis himself was not a monolith. A poet, he was also firm in his ascetical demands; ...

Part III. Francis of Assisi and His Posterity Today

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pp. 253-254

A theologian has presented the spiritual richness of Francis' evangelical mission as that mission is expressed in the historical sources: the saint's writings and the first biographies (Part One). A historian has given us a panoramic view of the richly varied adventure, with its grandeur's and its weaknesses, ...

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Chapter 1. Francis' Presence Today

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pp. 255-268

Francis is not as "popular" a saint as Thérèse of Lisieux, Anthony of Padua or St. Rita. His statue is not found in every church, and yet where Christian history and spirituality are concerned, his name is always among the first that come to mind. Especially in the modern era (since the end of the nineteenth century), ...

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Chapter 2. Francis' Posterity In the Last Quarter of the Twentieth Century

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pp. 269-298

Even as we spoke in the foregoing pages about the person of Francis and his presence today, it was evident that one of the significant aspects of that presence is the group of men and women who make up his spiritual family. Francis is certainly known in many circles, and many people accord him their respect and approval. ...

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Conclusion: It Is Time To Begin

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pp. 299-300

Anyone who has read Part Three of this volume might get the impression that too much attention has been paid to Francis and his spiritual family. But what is important, more than a historical and spiritual description of the former or a sweeping survey of the latter, is the dynamic presence of the Franciscan spirit in our day. ...

Index, Part I

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pp. 301-304

Index, Part II

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pp. 305-307

Index, Part III

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pp. 308-319

E-ISBN-13: 9781576592595
E-ISBN-10: 1576592596
Print-ISBN-13: 9781576590614
Print-ISBN-10: 1576590615

Page Count: 308
Publication Year: 1994

Edition: First