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Francis of Assisi

The Message in His Writings

by Thaddee Matura, OFM

Publication Year: 2004

Although Francis had no formal training in theology, he has left us a profound yet warmly human vision of the Christian life. In this study, the author breaks with custom and focuses not on the personality of Francis but on his message as we find it in his writings: a rich, balanced message that teaches a vibrant spirituality centered on God and humanity.

Published by: Franciscan Institute Publications

Title Page, Copyright Page

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EDITORS’ NOTE

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p. viii-viii

We are pleased to offer a second edition of this valuable work of Thaddée Matura. In the years since its first printing in English, it has served the Franciscan family well as a basic resource text for those beginning to study the documents associated with Francis of Assisi and his spirituality. A consistent series of requests for a re-printing has brought us to this point...

ABBREVIATIONS

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pp. ix-x

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FOREWORD

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pp. xi-xiv

I have always felt drawn more to Francis’s own writings than to the various biographies of the Saint that have appeared over the centuries, perhaps because the medieval lives are written in the bombastic, turgid style of the thirteenth century, while the modern ones tend to be repetitive and overly dramatic. The purpose of both these types of biography is to depict Francis as a heroic figure; that is, they are principally concerned with the...

PART I

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CHAPTER 1. THE MAN AND HIS MESSAGE

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pp. 3-30

Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) is one of the most thoroughly documented figures in history and, in our ecologically-conscious age, he is one of the best known and perhaps even the most popular of all. His first biography, Thomas...

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CHAPTER 2. KEYS TO READING FRANCIS

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pp. 31-48

In the preceding chapter, we distinguished between Francis and his message and briefly introduced that message, which we showed to be the essence of his spiritual vision. Then we asked if this vision was a unified and coherent one. In fact, Francis does not describe his vision as such in any one text...

PART II

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CHAPTER 3. THE TRINITY

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pp. 51-84

On every page of Francis’s writings, we encounter the omnipresence of God. Whether Francis simply uses the term “God” (219 times) or, more frequently, the title “Lord” (364 times), God is the central Reality from whom everything comes...

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CHAPTER 4. HUMANITY, A VISION OF CONTRASTS

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pp. 85-110

Francis addresses his song of thanksgiving to the Father in particular (RegNB 23:1-6), yet we humans and the creation of which we are a part also figure there prominently. His hymn of thankful praise to God celebrates us, too, since God and we are inseparable and, in a way, interdependent. So far, we...

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CHAPTER 5. THE CHRISTIAN JOURNEY

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pp. 111-141

We humans are a combination of opposites, a mixture of greatness and wretchedness. Although we are made for the fullness of life and happiness in heaven, we can still descend to “delighting in vices and sins” (Adm 5:3) which lead to our damnation. But out of love for us, God freed us from the slavery of sin by the Blood of His Son; and the Son, living now no more to die, draws us after...

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CHAPTER 6. PARTICULAR VOCATIONS

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pp. 143-164

In the preceding chapters, we have dealt with people in general— what they are, what they do, and what they are called to become. We were speaking in generalities, about things that are applicable to all Christians. Although some of the passages we examined were addressed to particular categories of people, they were also applicable to all believers and were presented in that perspective...

PART III

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CHAPTER 7. INTERPRETATION AND RELEVANCE OF FRANCIS’S VISION

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pp. 167-174

Throughout this study, we have tried to be as objective as possible in interpreting Francis’s message as it appears in his writings. But what criterion can we use to judge whether or not we have been successful? Francis’s vision was profoundly influenced by the faith which he had been taught at home, at school...

APPENDIX

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pp. 175-176

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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pp. 203-210


E-ISBN-13: 9781576592625
E-ISBN-10: 1576592626
Print-ISBN-13: 9781576591277
Print-ISBN-10: 1576591271

Page Count: 208
Publication Year: 2004

Edition: First

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Subject Headings

  • Francis, of Assisi, Saint, 1182-1226.
  • Spirituality -- History -- Middle Ages, 600-1500.
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