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Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  958 ratings  ·  101 reviews
Francis of Assisi is one of the most beloved of all saints. Both traditional and entirely revolutionary, he was a paradox. He was at once down to earth and reaching toward heaven, grounded in the rich history of the Church while moving toward a new understanding of the world beyond.
Globally recognized as an ecumenical teacher, Richard Rohr started out—and remains—a Fran
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published July 31st 2014 by Franciscan Media (first published July 3rd 2014)
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Jon Cooper
Aug 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Currently about half way through this book.

As with almost all of Rohr's writings, this one resonates with me, deeply.

But more than anything I've read in a long time, it challenges me in a way that demands a response.

Very enjoyable read so far.

* * * * *

Finished reading Eager to Love, and it was brilliant. As I said above, very challenging, and also honest and raw. As with most of Rohr's work, engaging and readable.

Still, not a volume, I think, for those not familiar with the body of Rohr's w
Larry Smith
Dec 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: adults, college students, interfaith communities
Though author Richard Rohr does not delve into the biographies of Saint Francis of Assisi or of Saint Clare, he is well informed of their lives, and his real gift is understanding their lives and significance. The book's subtitle suggests how radical Francis of Assisi was and remains so in the Catholic Church. He is one of those saints that goes beyond Catholicism to be worshiped and admired in other faiths. Rorh himself is described as "an ecumenical teacher" in the book's cover description and ...more
Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have taken my time over this book because at first I don't think I was ready for it and also I think it starts fairly slowly/seems a bit simple and patronising at first (it develops!). I am so glad that I came back to it, though. Richard Rohr introduced me to the idea of being "on the edge of the inside" which is a perfect description of the place I feel called/drawn to. He talks about growing from a spirituality of the ten commandments into a spirituality of the beatitudes - from dual thinkin ...more
Oct 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: done
By far the best spiritual book i've read in over a decade, out of the 100's i've read. Mind blowing would be an understatement as it changed my emotional base, my attitudes and my relationships with others in a revolutionary way. I was released from the prison of my own limited mind, at least a few prisons or cells to say the least. I am not Catholic in my training nor church setting, nor Franciscan but that does not change the overwhelming effect of the writing and content of the book. If you s ...more
Erin Henry
Jan 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wish I could give it 10 stars!
It's probably best described as a brief over view of modern day Franciscan mysticism. But I found so much that I agreed with or had thought about but couldn't put into words or that challenged me to think further. I already want to read it again.
Still a 5 on the reread
Barbara Ahlquist
I'm a fan of Richard Rohr and this book has a lot of food for thought regarding the "alternative way" that St. Francis chose in following Jesus. It's doubtful that many people today would choose that way, but it would be hard to argue that it's probably not far from the Jesus way.

My problem with the book is that it seems to be written for Franciscans or, perhaps, Catholics. At least it presupposes quite a bit of knowledge about St. Francis and I wasn't expecting that based on it's title, as wel
Jason Lyle
Nov 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What a great book. I always knew Francis was an amazing man, but never fully knew his theology. The new Pope taking the Francis name has huge implications, and he chose a big set of shoes to fill. The book is quite heady. It keeps you thinking. It's pretty well written but overuse of exclamation points is a bit frustrating. But over all I really enjoyed reading this book. It has sparked an interests in Catholicism. ...more
John Hosmer
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is the first book I've ever read from a Richard Rohr and it was absolutely fantastic.

This is not a biography of Francis of Assisi, it's more of an analysis of the way he lived and how radical it was and what we can do to imitate that in our current time.

Very approachable with heavy emphasis on mysticism (which is new to me) and incredibly well-balanced. I found it inspiring, convicting, and encouraging.
Margie Dorn
Jun 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Just finished reading this with centering prayer group. Really excellent; we were wishing that many people would read it; it is so illuminating and expressed so well. Rohr takes the life of St. Francis and his followers and translates it to a spirituality for today that manages to combine heart and mind with an openness that is sorely needed.
I love St. Francis but Richard Rohr is very hot or miss for me. Thankfully this book is all about Francis, and Rohr's description of the significance of St. Francis is both beautiful and compelling. 5 stars for the book and 3 stars for the appendices where Rohr talks about his own theological program. ...more
Susan Bell
Dec 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting read! Helped me to understand why Pope Francis seems so different from his predecessors. The Franciscan view seems to be much more welcoming.
May 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was my first time to read cover to cover a book by Richard Rohr. He is an almost patron saint of the Episcopal Church, and I admit, I was surprised to learn he was not an Episcopalian but a Catholic. The book was not what I was looking for--which is not to say it wasn't a fantastic book. But I had hoped for a book on Saint Francis and his theology. This book was not that. As a Franciscan, Rohr is obviously very knowledgeable about the biography and philosophy of Saint Francis--and more, he ...more
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spirituality
Richard Rohr outlines the basic tenets of Franciscan Spirituality in this book, beginning with a description of the life and spirituality of Francis and Clare of Assisi , the Bonaventure and finally Duns Scotus. However there is an undertone of criticism in the book for what the Franciscan Order and the Roman Catholic Church have become. And so a subtext seems to be a call to renewal in the spirit of St. Francis. Rohr sees the current pope, Pope Francis, as a sign that the renewal has begun and ...more
Tara Bartal
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
First, I would suggest to anyone who thinks they know of St. Francis to preface this book with a good biography of St. Francis. I thought I knew about this saint but, as I delved into reading this book, I realized I did not know of him well enough.
This is a wonderfully intricate book of good theology. Richard Rohr expounds much of the typical views of Christianity and goes deeper. It is not a fast read. It wasn't for me, anyway. This is a book to take time with and read again and again. So often
Joy Lenton
May 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirituality
Richard Rohr is one of my favourite authors. I love his slant way of seeing, his perceptions of faith and its working out in our daily lives. Here he takes an in-depth view of a well known, beloved Christian saint and brings him to life in a refreshing way. Francis of Assisi is not only associated with a truly practical theology and a mystical way of relating to God's creation, he is also Founder-friar of the Franciscan movement to which Richard Rohr himself belongs.
Therefore it is with an insid
Richard Rohr was introduced to me by a Twitter friend of mine, @calvinjburke. Here are just a few of the positive endorsements that have come across my feed:
For some reason, I didn't start with Falling Upward, instead serendipitously picking Eager to Love, which deals with the life of Francis of Assisi. If
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Richard Rohr’s Eager to Love, is a deep look at the Franciscan charism. It is good read for any time of the year but especially for Advent. The subtitle: the alternative way of Francis of Assisi briefly sums up Rohr’s experience of having tried it and found it to work. Even though he would be the first to admit he is still trying it. Nonetheless is a way of being in the world that is very attractive to many. I have long felt that we are still a pre-Christian people. We are attracted to Jesus’ wa ...more
Jean Doane
Dec 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I am inspired by Richard Rohr's clear description of the pathway to nondual, mature Christianity. His style is conversational and down to earth, as befits a follower of Francis of Assisi. Friar (Father) Richard makes the revolutionary ways of Francis and Clare accessible for the modern reader. I am struck by the fact that "third tier" contemplative faith is the same for all faith traditions. It involves realizing the sacredness of all creation, including one's own self, and seeking reunion with ...more
Jul 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book really resonated with me. I've read about St. Francis...know a bit about St. Clare but this book really refreshed my understanding of them both. In addition, it gave me some insight into what is behind the thinking and actions of Pope Francis.

Father Rohr connects so many holy people in this book...saints and biblical figures that I've seen as a direct line of individuals who demonstrated faith in their time for those of us who came later. Rohr affirmed my thinking.

There is a clear affi
Ashley Nichols
There is so much that I like, respect, and appreciate about Richard Rohr. I am extremely thankful for his insight and loved a lot of what he shares and explains here. However, it took me almost two months to read this because it never struck me as a book I could just curl up with for a weekend. I sometimes struggle with Rohr's readability. BUT I wanted to finish this book and now hope to dive into the actual writings of St Francis and Clare. There is a lot that Rohr touches on in this book and I ...more
Circle of Hope Pastors
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: relating-to-god, fire
I think this is Richard Rohr's best book. In it he brings all his Franciscan passion and his great capacity to integrate into an inspiring call to live out the faith with integrity in today's world -- mindful of the past, respectful of the Bible, careful to assess one's psychology but alive in the Spirit -- and brave! This is Franciscan contemplation and action at its best -- and you don't need to know much about Francis of Assisi to get it. I have been reading Richard Rohr since he was just a f ...more
Dec 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: heresy


I must know that I am, at least in part, the very thing I am seeking. In fact that is what makes me seek it! But most do not know this good news yet. God cannot be found “out there” until God is first found “in here,” within ourselves, as Augustine had profoundly expressed in his Confessions in many ways. Then we can almost naturally see God in others and in all of creation too. What you seek is what you are. The search for God and the search for our True Self are finally the same search…
Elizabeth Andrew
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spirituality
I have become a student of St. Francis and St. Clare through the transmission of Richard Rohr--all wise ones. EAGER TO LOVE is a sweeping introduction to Franciscan spirituality, theology, and practice. As with all of Rohr's books, it is a clear and easy read with truths profoundly difficult to grow into. A sample:

“We must bear patiently not being good…and not being thought good.” --Francis

“You only know as much as you do.” —Francis

"First learn to love your life then allow yourself to fully die
Jackie St Hilaire
"You only know as much as you do"" Francis

Francis lived on the "edge" of the church position. He didn't go against any of the teachings but lived and spoke in the poverty of the spirit. Francis was a mystic not a moralist. He lived poverty of spirit and not private perfection.

Francis had a Christo Centric World View. He was a non-dual thinker, no proving who or what he stood for.

The Church was his primary arena in which the good news could be protected and disseminated.

The living body of Chris
Matt Nixon
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Richard Rohr does it again. As someone who is tired of the polarizing, dualistic religious landscape of today, Eager to Love offers hope, offers life. Rohr beautifully shares on what it means to follow after Saint Francis. Every chapter brought new, groundbreaking ideas on how to be to connected to God, myself and the other in everyday life. If you are ready for a new kind of religion that moves beyond judgement and atonement, read this.
Joy Matteson
There are multiple Francis of Assisi biographies out there--not many who glance at his spiritual life as a practical 21st century approach to living. I was pleased to discover that Francis was one of the sole friars of the time that spoke out against the Crusades that were being waged during his lifetime. Incredibly useful, challenging, and timely.
Matt Mcmanus
Feb 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is profound and perspective altering. It's also a hard book to read at times. I'd give it 3 stars for that reason, but when it's good, it's so good.

The appendices are my favorite part of the book (they're like 30% of it). I plan on reading them another couple times so they can sink in a little more. I especially enjoyed the thoughts on the personhood of God and the cosmic Christ.
Dec 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some weeks ago I listened to an audio version of this book. It is not just about St. Francis of Assisi but also about the whole Franciscan history, vision and main characters who have carried and lived it. Clare, Bonaventure, John Scotus all play a part. In the end, it is about how it has been lived, and is being lived today.
Aug 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book expanded my knowledge of St Francis of Assisi. It also helped me to understand the author Fr Richard Rohr. I liked learning the social justice side of St Francis and saw more depth in St Francis that appeals to me.
Pamela Harstad
May 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Classic Rohr. Don't let the subtitle fool you into thinking this is a factual, boring account of St. Francis' life because it's not. Lots of good insights that make you think. One has to savor each chapter to get the most out of it. His writing style is also engaging. ...more
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Fr. Richard Rohr is a globally recognized ecumenical teacher bearing witness to the universal awakening within Christian mysticism and the Perennial Tradition. He is a Franciscan priest of the New Mexico Province and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Fr. Richard's teaching is grounded in the Franciscan alternative orthodoxy—practices of contemplat ...more

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“Thérèse (of Lisieux) told her sister, Celine, who was upset with her own faults, "If you are willing to bear serenely the trial of being displeasing to yourself, then you will be a pleasant place of shelter for Jesus." If you observe yourself, you will see how hard it is to be "displeasing" to yourself, and that this is the initial emotional snag that sends you into terribly bad moods without even realizing the origins of these moods. So to resolve this common problem, both Francis and Thérèse teach you to let go of the very need to "think well of yourself" to begin with! That is your ego talking, not God, they would say. Only those who have surrendered their foundational egocentricity can do this, of course. Psychiatrist and writer Scott Peck once told me that Thérèse's quote was "sheer religious genius" because it made the usual posturing of religion well-nigh impossible.” 7 likes
“Salvation is not a divine transaction that takes place because you are morally perfect, but much more it is an organic unfolding, a becoming who you already are, an inborn sympathy with and capacity for, the very One who created you.” 4 likes
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