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The Lessons of Saint Francis: How to Bring Simplicity and Spirituality into Your Daily Life
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The Lessons of Saint Francis: How to Bring Simplicity and Spirituality into Your Daily Life

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  511 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
Combining deep spiritual insight with the offer of a saner, less complicated way of living, this beautifully designed treasury of fundamental wisdom provides gentle guidance on the path to peacefulness and joy in a hectic age. 20 photos.
Hardcover, 255 pages
Published September 1st 1997 by Dutton Adult
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Mar 31, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read "The Lessons of Saint Francis" with my 20s/30s Sunday school class at, of all places, St. Francis UMC in Cary, NC, so unlike many of the other books I have read on here, I had a purpose other than just enjoyment in reading it.

Let me start off by saying this is not a bad book. I didn't hate it. But it did leave me personally a little flat. The author, John Michael Talbot, is an ex-hippie, ex-evangelical, Franciscan devotee (for lack of a better description). He follows the teachings of Fra
Erica Gaussa
May 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the title line of this book, it reads, "A Monk's Guide to Daily Life". That is exactly what i was able to take away from this book... a guide to daily life. I am not a religious, nor am i considering a vocation to the religious life ; nevertheless , this book spoke to me. It gave insight on the ways of a simple monk and how his humble life of simplicity , quiet meditation , prayer, and service achieved for him lasting joy. After all, isn't everyone's goal in life to achieve peace for themselv ...more
Feb 07, 2013 rated it it was ok
I was a bit disappointed by this book. I really didn't learn anything I hadn't known before. It annoyed me that Talbot would begin to discuss a "Franciscan" ideal and then back it up with a quotation from a different saint or religious figure. I understand the presented idea, just not what makes that particularly Franciscan.

We learned a lot about the author's life and how the friars of his community practice, but frankly that doesn't interest me as much as the Franciscan philosophy does and how
Peter Davids
Aug 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
John Michael Talbot helps one read St. Francis and then think through what he means for today. Since JMT is a goldmine of information on the various saints and monastics, he has the background needed to understand Francis in his own situation and then translating that to what it might mean in our situation. This is not a book you read right through, but a book you read slowly and then think about. Yet it is also an easy read in terms of language, although challenging in terms of ideas.
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is DANGEROUS...

Best book I've read on St. Francis so far, and I've read a few. Although I've been a JMT fan for many years, even if I didn't know him I'd still rate this book the same. It gives many insights about St. Francis' life and spiritual walk with God in an easy-to-read condensed form, unlike the overly complicated and archaic writings of some of the others I've read. However, this isn't so much a biography as it is the Franciscan way of life, which is genuinely Christian. Joh
Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic. Only goes a couple inches deep, but was just what I needed, some common sense gleaning of the principles Francis lived his life by. Easy to read and with lots of practical advice that can easily be put into practice, I really enjoyed this book. As I said, a bit shallow and so not quite five stars, but still well worth a read. True, reinforced a lot of what I had been feeling lately anyway, but I would hope that I could have appreciated this in most of the stages of my life.
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faith
This is an important book that I stumbled upon at an important season of my life. The topical organization of the book chapters on simplicity, joy, solitude, humility, creativity, chastity, community, compassion, creation, service, peace, and prayer has me thinking in different ways. I am looking forward to where this leads. (less)
Feb 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spirituality
I did not know much about St Francis, so this book was a gentle introduction for me. I have listened to the author's music for years and therefore appreciated the personal notes on how his life has been changed by following the teachings of St Francis. The suggestions on how to incorporate these same lessons into one's life were practical, even though one does not live in a Franciscan community.
Ted Hinkle
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have kept JMT's "The Lessons of St. Francis" nearby as a source of meditation since procuring a copy in 1999.
Clint Roberts
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
With my head being in a number of these spaces already, the book was a very easy read. A lot of the content seems like common sense, but it takes a conscious effort to put it into practice.
Dawn Meyers
Dec 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed learning more about the life of St. Francis by reading this book.
Amy Moritz
Oct 10, 2016 rated it liked it
With the Feat of St. Francis in early October and this book on my shelf for years, I decided it was time to read it. It was a good read and if you're new to Francis it's a nice introduction. I didn't learn anything new, but it did reinforce some of the things which naturally drew me to the Franciscans. (I ended up at St. Bonaventure for a reason!) At times it feels like the author is rather conservative in his Catholicism and some of his personal stories about being a musician don't resonate wit ...more
Pam I.
Jul 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This very readable and practical approach to the spiritual practices of St. Francis of Assisi seems almost like a guidebook for authentic life in this modern world. The pages encourage the reader to reject consumerism for simplicity and generosity; refuse sexual promiscuity to observe chastity or celibacy; strive for downward mobility - humbleness, obedience and service - over self-centered individualism; cultivate joy, creativity and compassion; show respect and practice reverence for creation. ...more
Tina Lawton
Dec 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 30, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While this book does have a strong Catholic bent (which is not unreasonable since it is written by a Brother), Talbot did a very good job writing it in a way to be used by people of all faiths - or anyone who is looking for a deeper connection to the Universe and a less frenetic life. He quotes everyone - musicians, Jesus, Saints, Gandhi, the Bagavad Gita, and St. Francis himself. He tells stories of Francis and himself without being too preachy. I got the feeling from reading this book that he ...more
Aunt Edie
Apr 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, faith
What a wonderful little book! Talbot shares a bit about his life and personal journey while discussing St. Francis' life and teachings. I found the insights both informative and inspirational. The lessons can be applied to a variety of situations and translated into various faith traditions. St. Francis is a role model for more than just practicing Franciscans. Some could argue that it is perhaps a little light but I prefer to think of it as more devotional rather than doctrinal. This is more sp ...more
Apr 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
this is not a history or biography of st. francis, but each chapter is a meditation on a highpoint of his life/practice. i found it to be well thought out and thoroughly illustrated with examples from the saint's life. i especially enjoyed the chapters on simplicity, joy, and humility. every chapter had some thought-starters / jumping off points at the end to encourage integration of these concepts into one's own life.

i liked the author's modern voice, but be warned: he talks a bit about his ow
Jun 21, 2015 rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this book. It was easy to read, yet still boring at times. I found myself agreeing and disagreeing with various of the author's quotes. Also, the author was slightly unrealistic to the everyday person (like me) and some of the stuff he said was contradictory. On the educational factor, it really wasn't very informational. Most of the information about St. Francis I already knew. If someone who didn't know that much about him, they might have gotten more out of this bo ...more
Nov 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
The book takes themes from the life of St. Francis and attempts to explain and teach the concepts in a approachable way. What one gets from the book is a basic explanation of what are supposed to be deep penetrating concepts. The radical nature of St. Francis' life is dawdled down to simple life applications like wear earth tones to promote modesty. I was left wanting more of the writings, teachings, and prayers of St. Francis and less of the author talking about his commune in the Ozarks. If yo ...more
Feb 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
The Lessons of St. Francis tells the basic biography of St. Francis and draws from the books written about him to teach modern believers lessons about spiritual disciplines, including, but not limited to simplicity, prayer, and solitude.
I enjoyed this book. It certainly helped me to look at my life, evaluate what is important, and to step back and slow down. I especially appreciated the biographical information on St. Francis. The first person in history known to have received the stigmata was a
Tim Gannon
Aug 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
A very enjoyable book about St Francis - it talks briefly about the key points in his life but focuses mainly on his views on life and living that became the basis for the Franciscan order of monks - the main topics are simplicity, joy, solitude, humility, creativity, chastity, community, compassion, creation, service, peace and prayer - trying to incorporate any of these areas into your life would seem to be a wonderful way towards bettering our world
Frederick Lucies
Aug 10, 2013 added it
Shelves: jesus
While the author clearly has an ovrrly laudatory vision of St Francis, he does offer some simple and practical suggestions for living a more simple life in our society that is dominated by greed and consumerism. The suggestions, if everyone took them to heart, would dramatically improve the fabric of our society, and the sense of meaning and purpose in our individual lives.
Apr 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
A book about simplifying your life and enhancing your faith. I found it to be a very thought provoking book. Using the life and teachings of St.Francis, a modern day Franciscan brother teaches us about simplicity, joy, solitude, humility, creativity, chastity, community, compassion, creation, peace, service, and prayer and how to use these as a way to come closer to God.
Jan 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
On my third reading of this... I get something new each time! Powerful lessons from a flawed but passionate man who lived hundreds of years ago, but whose life was a manifestation of the fundamental elements of "walking the walk" that are still relevant today. Well-written, honest, and relatable (even for a non-Catholic such as myself).
May 31, 2012 rated it liked it
I learned a lot about St. Franncis which was the intent. I found the writing to be good but not striking, organized but occasionally prone to wandering and not powerful. I'm glad I read it but not sure I'll read more on the subject.
Dale Klein
Sep 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
St. Francis of Assisi was a minimalist

Excellent read, very thought-provoking summary of St. Francis of Assisi's life. He was one of the first minimalist, loved Jesus and God's creation, would literally give you the coat off his back!
Nov 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Simply stated, good practical advice.
Dec 04, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to incorporate Franciscan values into their current lives.
Talbot has some excellent suggestions for living a more Franciscan life although I good have done without some of the self-glorification.
Feb 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
It was good, but I'd give it more like 3.5 stars if I could work out how to do a half star!
Dec 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Although a little disjointed in places, this is an excellent spiritual life resource.
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Talbot was born into a Methodist family with a musical background in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and started learning to play the guitar at an early age. At age 15 he dropped out of school and was performing as a guitarist for Mason Proffit, a country folk-rock band formed with his older brother Terry.

Talbot embarked on a spiritual journey that led him through Native American religion and Buddhism to
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“God, you made me. You love me. What would you have me do? Where would you have me go? Who would you have me serve? Show me how I can be your eyes of compassion, your heart of love, and your hands reaching out to this world. Amen.” 2 likes
“Christ has no body now but yours No hands, no feet on earth but yours Yours are the eyes through which he looks Compassion on this world Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good Yours are the hands with which he blesses all the world.” 0 likes
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