Wednesday, February 9, 2011

St. Francis of A Ninny?

St. Francis of AssisiSt. Francis of Assisi by G.K. Chesterton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have one tremendous criticism to make of this book. If you have some perfectly good, bitter resentment towards the Franciscans (entirely legitimate), or towards St. Francis himself, or even the Jongleurs de Dieu, this book will take that exquisite resentment and turn it into an entirely unsatisfactory mushy benevolent feeling.

Another of Chesterton's brilliant works. Frederick Buechner once fondly criticized Chesterton with the comment that he'd written entirely too much for all of it to be excellent. I can sympathize, so long as I mention the fact that I've not yet found any of his "less than excellent" work. This book was delightful, short, and densely packed--the written version of a small piece of extremely rich cheesecake. One of the lines that stuck with me: "He could only be tempted by a sacrament."

However, being Chesterton, it does have the one typical criticism (other than making other writers boring), that the tremendously fat Catholic lightly leaps from topic to topic like the mountain goat from crag to crag, or the Hollywood star from blonde to blonde, and we end up not really knowing a whole lot more about St. Francis. But who reads books by Chesterton in order to learn about some narrow topic? You might as well hike solely in order to lose weight, or make love to your wife for the sole purpose of manufacturing babies, ignoring all of the pleasure to be gained from how delightful God made the path.

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