St. Francis of Assisi
Publisher: Martino Fine Books
Publication Date: December 27, 2010
G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936) was a prolific English journalist and author best known for his mystery series featuring the priest-detective Father Brown and for the metaphysical thriller The Man Who Was Thursday. Baptized into the Church of England, Chesterton underwent a crisis of faith as a young man and became fascinated with the occult. He eventually converted to Roman Catholicism and published some of Christianity's most influential apologetics, including Heretics and Orthodoxy.
I'll be honest, I only knew Saint Francis of Assisi as the saint who cared about animals. Boy was there more to it than meets the eye. In this short intro into St. Francis, Chesterton's approach was simple, to reveal who Francis was as any person would have seen him. You don't have to be necessarily Catholic or Christian, or a contemporary scholar to view Francis as we could've viewed him: a man. While Chesterton's language maybe dated and it does take time to read and appreciate his work, nonetheless Francis's sainthood became more apparent than ever before. In only 10 chapters, 180-ish pages, I feel as if i was there with Francis through his trials here on earth.
I will say that it does take time to really get the points Chesterton makes, so don't expect to crank this out in a couple o' days without missing key details. Otherwise, definitely a worthwhile read into what God does to help people become saints, as seen through our own lenses.
This by far is the most wonderfully written and thought-provoking of the biographies I've read on St. Francis. This book is by no means comprehensive. Chesterton focuses on the aspects that interests him the most. One of the areas that was particularly interesting is the speculation of St. Francis's conversion. What was it about him that brought about such a massive transformation? When did it happen? Chesterton tries to get at what is at the core of St. Francis, and what makes St. Francis so extraordinary and unique. I hugely recommend this book!