Pearls of Wisdom from the pages of "Chasing Francis"

photo by Lawrence OP

Chasing Francis is more than beautiful words and a beautiful story--it is deeper than that (which I shared in a longer review here). Inspired by the teachings and life of St. Francis of Assisi, it is filled with poignant lessons and pearls of wisdom. Even though this is a fiction book, my copy is filled with underlined sentences and marked-up pages.

I wanted to share some of the thought-provoking quotes I found throughout the book:

"'A truly great preacher isn't someone with a seminary degree who explains the gospel. It's someone who is the gospel. Francis gave away every possession he owned because he wanted people to see that it was possible to trust Jesus for everything. He walked barefoot everywhere, kissed the lesions of lepers, and bathed them so they'd know the love of God....He walked the talk, and everyone knew it.'" (page 149)

"'Francis used to say that he was married to Lady Poverty....Poverty was the cornerstone of his ministry."
"Francis loved poverty because it helped him spiritually....There is a law in physics that applies to the soul. No two objects can occupy the same space at the same time; one thing must displace another. If your heart's crammed tight with material things and a thirst for wealth, there's no space left for God. Frances wanted a void in his life that could only be filled with Jesus. Poverty wasn't a burden for him--it was a pathway to spiritual freedom.'" (page 163, 165)

The Dignity of Others
"'We're all broken people who've lost our dignity, in one way or another. Francis's whole life was about giving people their dignity back--poor people, lepers, people who were despised and rejected by society--the very people Jesus sought out to minister to.  His commitment to restoring people's sense of their God-given value thrilled the hearts of cynics who had all but given up on believing that the gospel was good news to anyone. What if we all, as a church, decided to make one of our distinctives being restorers of people's dignity?'" (page 199)

"In the liturgy, every act is a metaphor or symbol. The word liturgy literally means 'the work of the people.' It's an ancient text that helps us reenact the redemption drama. What we're reciting is a compress version of the redemption story." (page 95)

The Arts in Church
"'My parents think the arts are trivial. They say you should go to church to get good teaching, not a sonata,' Carla said.
Cudder politely wiped his mouth. 'That is ironic, really. First, the Bible is a great literary work of art filled with poetry, songs, stories, parables, history, apocalyptic drama, and wisdom literature. Second, the very people who pride themselves on being focused on the Word often come perilously close to practicing a form of Gnosticism that overvalues the spiritual and eschews the material. But the Word became flesh! The Incarnation proves that the divine can be communicated through the material--color, sound, texture, words printed on paper, the movement of the body....Our neglect of the power of beauty and the arts helps explain why so many people have lost interest in church.'" (pages 109-110)

Judging the Church

"'I tried to blame everything on the whole Christian subculture--but that isn't fair. Here, I've learned that no one is my problem but me. Francis never judged the church, even when he didn't like what it was doing. What right do I have to judge it? Spiritually, I just want something more.'" (page 152)

(all quotes from Chasing Francis by Ian Morgan Cron)

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P.S. I did a little tinkering with my lay-out...any thoughts or feedback?


  1. I really like the layout! I have been 'tinkering' with mine as you can tell and can't leave it alone...haha....i consider it 'under construction' :) I like the recommended reading and smaller picture in the top right corner. Very streamlined...whatever that means. :) I'll have to look up the artist you suggested...also, reading a book called "The Art of prayer" by Timothy Jones Seems like something you'd like if you haven't read it already! Love you!

  2. Love the layout!

    This book sounds very good. I'm always unsure about the whole Saints thing (or at least when I ask about them I get told I shouldn't spend my time on them!) but this sounds like a good read :)

  3. Thanks ladies! I appreciate it.

    Holly, I'll have to look into that book...I love reading about prayer!

    FT, I agree. I certainly have no intention to start praying to the Saints, but I do believe that we can learn a lot from them and the way they lived out their faiths. The thing that I liked about this book is that that was exactly how it was presented: Not about becoming Catholic and putting St. Francis on a pedestal, but instead applying lessons from his life to our own faiths.


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