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Francis of Assisi : Performing the Gospel Life :  Performing the Gospel Life - Lawrence Cunningham

Francis of Assisi : Performing the Gospel Life

Performing the Gospel Life

Paperback Published: May 2004
ISBN: 9780802827623
Number Of Pages: 172

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Saint Francis of Assisi continues to be counted among the most important personalities of history. The life and ideals of this humble, semiliterate medieval figure have had a shaping influence on the Christian church that has spilled over into Western culture at large. This biography by Lawrence Cunningham looks anew at St. Francis's life and legacy, seeking to counter efforts to romanticize him yet without diminishing his deep piety or abiding significance.

Drawing on peerless scholarship, Cunningham argues against common stereotypes that sentimentalize Francis as a "blesser of animals," as a church rebel, or as the precursor of the "spirituality" movement. According to Cunningham, Francis was a devotedly orthodox Catholic whose life must be understood as a response to reforming elements abroad in the church of his day. Francis's originality derived from his success in articulating the "ideal gospel life": his message and actions were a kind of "acting out" of the scriptures. Really seeing Francis requires the lens of theology rather than the lens of quaint spirituality so often used.

In constructing his portrait of Francis, Cunningham follows the saint's life in chronological order, placing him within his culture, exploring official developments within the Catholic Church, and highlighting the many conversions of Francis as his life played out. Cunningham also reflects on the modern rediscovery of the Franciscan charism, including its relevance to contemporary Christian social action.

America
"Lawrence S. Cunningham's small study of St. Francis demonstrates the value of sound critical judgment and solid theology for grounding healthy devotion to the saints and deepening the faith in the Christian realities to which they dedicated themselves. . . Cunningham's solid historical scholarship is omnipresent, although it is so smoothly and thoroughly integrated that the work is in no way pedantic, nor is there any trace of jargon or obfuscation."First Things
"An engaging and informative contribution to the vast literature on the man commonly described as, next to the Virgin Mother, the most popular of saints. Among the merits of this little book is Cunningham's guide to that literature and his description of the frequently conflicting reasons through history for the celebration of Francis."Catholic Historical Review
"A stimulating account of one of the most attractive figures in the history of Christendom. . . This study is one of the best and most perceptive portraits of the saint in recent years."Wayne Hellmann
"Lawrence Cunningham's years of reflection on the sources of and about St. Francis of Assisi open new doors for understanding his spiritual significance. This book approaches Francis in the context of the Catholic reform tradition that he inherited and embraced. Cunningham demonstrates that this tradition is key to understanding Francis's originality a trait that continues to affirm Christian identity and provokes all toward the solidarity that God intended."Bernard McGinn
"Among the scores of books devoted to Francis of Assisi, Lawrence Cunningham's stands out for its balance and insight. This beautifully written volume argues for a view of Francis as a spiritual classic, a devoted follower of Christ whose greatest joy was performing the gospel through a life of voluntary poverty and service to the poor."Francis of Assisi: Performing the Gospel"is a gem. "Cistercian Studies Quarterly
"This beautifully produced and beautifully written book by a well-known scholar and frequent write on Franciscan spirituality argues against the entirely too familiar sentimental image of Francis that is coterminous with what the author calls 'spirituality lite'? a spirituality disengaged from religion that comforts its practitioners rather than challenging them.""
America
-Lawrence S. Cunningham's small study of St. Francis demonstrates the value of sound critical judgment and solid theology for grounding healthy devotion to the saints and deepening the faith in the Christian realities to which they dedicated themselves. . . Cunningham's solid historical scholarship is omnipresent, although it is so smoothly and thoroughly integrated that the work is in no way pedantic, nor is there any trace of jargon or obfuscation.- First Things
-An engaging and informative contribution to the vast literature on the man commonly described as, next to the Virgin Mother, the most popular of saints. Among the merits of this little book is Cunningham's guide to that literature and his description of the frequently conflicting reasons through history for the celebration of Francis.- Catholic Historical Review
-A stimulating account of one of the most attractive figures in the history of Christendom. . . This study is one of the best and most perceptive portraits of the saint in recent years.- Wayne Hellmann
-Lawrence Cunningham's years of reflection on the sources of and about St. Francis of Assisi open new doors for understanding his spiritual significance. This book approaches Francis in the context of the Catholic reform tradition that he inherited and embraced. Cunningham demonstrates that this tradition is key to understanding Francis's originality -- a trait that continues to affirm Christian identity and provokes all toward the solidarity that God intended.- Bernard McGinn
-Among the scores of books devoted to Francis of Assisi, Lawrence Cunningham's stands out for its balance and insight. This beautifully written volume argues for a view of Francis as a spiritual classic, a devoted follower of Christ whose greatest joy was performing the gospel through a life of voluntary poverty and service to the poor. Francis of Assisi: Performing the Gospel is a gem. - Cistercian Studies Quarterly
-This beautifully produced and beautifully written book by a well-known scholar and frequent write on Franciscan spirituality argues against the entirely too familiar sentimental image of Francis that is coterminous with what the author calls 'spirituality lite'? a spirituality disengaged from religion that comforts its practitioners rather than challenging them.-

Francis of Assisi: A Modest Forewordp. vi
Beginnings at Assisip. 1
Francis and His Companionsp. 30
Rome and Beyond Romep. 48
Francis and the Rule(s) of the Lesser Brothersp. 65
The Stigmata of Saint Francisp. 79
Saint Francis and the Love of Creationp. 92
The Final Yearsp. 108
Francis Reconsideredp. 120
A Reading Essayp. 140
The Prayer of Saint Francisp. 146
Indexp. 150
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780802827623
ISBN-10: 0802827624
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 172
Published: May 2004
Publisher: William B Eerdmans Publishing Co
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.6 x 15.2  x 1.3
Weight (kg): 0.2