The Lessons of St. Francis

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The Lessons of St. Francis by John Michael Talbot

This was a very simple and easy to read book by a musician and Franciscan monk. The subtitle touted it as “How to Bring Simplicity and Spirituality Into Your Daily Life." And that is exactly what the book did.

Mr. Talbot divided the book into 13 chapters on virtues such as Humility, Simplicity, and Solitude that St. Francis had practiced in his day and age. Mr. Talbot then ended each chapter with practical applications that the present day Christian could do to emulate St. Francis. For example, in the chapter on Solitude, Mr. Talbot suggested some very simple things to do to gain serenity and stillness in our lives: find a secluded place in a nearby park, create a special corner in a room, get some compact discs of calm, meditative music to help you to still yourself.

I had a chapter that really spoke to me, the one on Service. St. Francis stated, "God in His mercy has called us unto the salvation not only of our souls but of many." Mr. Talbot gave some great suggestions on how to practice Service that I could still apply to my life in here. He stated, “Go through your house, dig out things you don't use, give them to someone who needs them." Over the years, I have accumulated stuff that I still have but rarely, if ever, use. After reading that chapter, I had went through all my clothes and found some shorts and sweatshirts that I felt would be more appreciated by someone else. And I blessed a couple people with them. It made me realize that I did not have to do something grand and magnanimous, but it was more the small little acts of kindness that I do on a daily basis that shows a lifestyle of Service. It can come in the form of patience and kind words to all those I come into contact with, listening actively to someone else's problem for that day, or something as simple as a smile for everyone around me. My lifelong pursuit of salvation will be accomplished by an attitude of Service. I believe I have begun on that path through some of the programs that I am involved in, such as the Legion of Mary, Alternatives to Violence, and Peer Health. But more importantly, I believe I have begun on the path because I am trying to adopt service and giving back as a way of life for me. 

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