Francis of Assisi Rule and Life

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Francis of Assisi, Rule and Life by David Flood, OFM

238 page perfect bound edition

Out of the discussions within a small group around Francis of Assisi there resulted in 1209 a piece of writing. When Francis and his brothers showed it to church authorities, they called it their rule. And so it was. Among themselves they called it their vita: it was their way of life. It developed into an emergent manifesto. It even survived a canonical version. Soon, from the 1220s to 1260, it was absorbed and undone into a traditional form of religious life (as Lateran IV, Canon 13, wanted). Rule and Life follows its sad fate through one last argument for its revival. No go. All the same, it’s still there for the living.

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    "Francis of Assisi's Rule and Life' by David Flood, OFM

    Posted by Sr. Agnes Marie Regan, OSF on Jul 23rd 2017

    The longer I am a Franciscan, the more deeply I’m convinced of the magnificent wisdom handed to St. Francis and his early companions in the experience of opening the Gospels at San Nicolo in Assisi to the three Spirit-sent passages which formed the primitive way of life for them. The writer of the back cover reference adds some telling words about the vitality of those original Gospel words: namely, “ . . . it (their vita) was absorbed and undone . . .” and “ . . . follows its sad fate . . .” How so?
    In our contemporary world, we are deluged with words, words, words through our various and never-ending electronic devices: computers, word processors, hand held devices, smart phones, etc. etc.. We hear so much, so often, and in so many ways and places that words seem to have lost their meanings.
    But obviously the time after Francis presented these words to the Holy Father, that approval was not immune from the need to multiply words of explanation, as the above quoted words suggest. But since Vatican II we’ve all been seriously invited to “return to the sources” of our spiritualties and delve more deeply into their meaning for us in the contemporary world of never-ending word bombardment. Where does that lead for us Franciscans?
    As someone who works with the Secular Franciscan fraternities of Our Lady of Indiana Secular Franciscan Region, I’m delighted with this work by David Flood, OFM, in understanding the development of the “Rule of 1221” and the “Rule of 1223” and how they flowed from and brought to life — though sometimes by means of wordy detours, the three Gospel statements given to Francis and his early fraternity. The author defines how the subsequent Rules attempted to give expression to the communal experience of living out what the original band of friars, and they, were experiencing. But after all is said and done, the words of St. Matthew and St. Luke still form the bedrock of our Gospel call.
    Thus I’m heartened by the following words, also found on the back of this edition: “All the same [that small writing] is still there for the living”. And no number of words can take that joy from a Franciscan sincerely wishing to follow in the footsteps of St. Francis. Thus, I would highly recommend this book for anyone, especially my Franciscan brothers and sisters, as a serious contribution to understanding our call to “ . . . live the Gospel life of our Lord Jesus Christ”.

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