Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Francis: The Journey and the Dream - 40th Anniversary Edition

Francis the Journey and the Dream

Francis: The Journey and the Dream is a book that was written 40 years ago by Franciscan Priest Father Murray Bodo.  Since its first publishing, over 200,000 copies have been sold.  It has withstood the test of time and remains a perennial favorite.

This new, 40th anniversary edition includes a forward by John Michael Talbot, a reader's guide to help with discussion groups, and a new preface by the author written in January, 2011.  In the preface he tells the story behind the story.  He was actually hesitant to write this book!  The offer came at a time in his life when he was feeling burnt out and little overwhelmed.  When he realized it was a book about Saint Francis, and that he would be sent to Assisi as part of the assignment, he quickly changed his mind!  The experience renewed him, and he has gone on to write many more works.

Saint Francis is well known as the patron saint of animals and the environment.  He also shares duty as a patron saint of Italy.  The statues of his likeness with animals around him can be easily spotted.

Saint Francis

He is also the founder of the Franciscan Order, the Order of Saint Clare and the lay person's Third Order.

Although he was brought up wealthy, Saint Francis gave up all of his worldly possessions to live among beggars, working as a street preacher.  He had only eleven men with him when he sought to be recognized by the church.  The order grew rapidly, spanning the globe.   It has produced many Saints, including Saint Bonaventure and Saint John of Capistrano.  Today, the Franciscans are still doing their good works, living by the Rule of Saint Francis.

The beauty of this book is that it takes small bits and pieces from the life of this wonderful and great man, and breaks them down into short passages.  Each is only a couple of pages long.   There are stories of his relationships, and his visions, his sad and lonely periods, and some of his triumphs and joys.  It is not an in depth biography of Saint Francis, but it makes him so human!  I loved reading each little vignette.  It only took a few minutes to read a chapter, but I would enjoy the power of it for the rest of the day.

John Michael Talbot expresses a similar feeling:
"Francis: The Journey and the Dream depicted a Francis who 'sang' to me. I felt that I had found a teacher to lead me home. I had no idea where this was going to lead, but I was ready to follow."—John Michael Talbot
This 258 page hardcover volume was released on July 1st of this year by St. Anthony Messenger press. I recommend it with this caveat.   A person unfamiliar with Saint Francis and his works should read some sort of biography before choosing this book.  It makes reference to things that might not be known to a casual reader.
One of the most influential saints' books, with over 200,000 copies sold, Francis: The Journey and the Dream continues to inspire people of all ages with its lyrical prose and depth of love for the Poor Man of Assisi. This beautiful anniversary edition includes Fr. Bodo's story of writing the book and its worldwide influence, a reader's guide for book clubs and discussion groups, and a list of Fr. Bodo's favorite Franciscan resources, culled over three decades of research on Francis and his followers.
You can purchase this book from The Catholic Company for $24.99.

Father Bodo has a beautiful style of writing.  He captures emotions very well, and you can almost tell that he is also a poet by his lovely word choices.  Here is a little bit of information about the author.
MURRAY BODO, O.F.M., is a Franciscan priest and a member of the Franciscan Academy. An award-winning author of many books, including Landscape of Prayer and The Simple Way of Saint Francis, he writes and lectures on Franciscan spirituality. As an internationally known poet, Fr. Bodo has participated in poetry readings in Europe, and the United States. His latest books of poetry are Wounded Angels and Visions and Revisions. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, and travels yearly to Rome and Assisi, Italy, where he leads Franciscan pilgrimages.
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**This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Francis - The Journey and the Dream. They are also a great source for a Catechism of the Catholic Church or a Catholic Bible.