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As Pope Francis continues to call for the rebuilding of the Church, Msgr. Charles M. Murphy, author of The Spirituality of Fasting and Eucharistic Adoration, offers a timely look at what today’s Church can learn from St. Francis of Assisi about evangelization and renewal. In this timely book, Msgr. Charles M. Murphy examines the correlations between the two Francises and shows why St. Francis is an ideal model for today. Just as in St. Francis’s time, today’s Church can only be rebuilt and reinforced by a spiritual renewal that comes from within itself, a vision that Pope Francis carries forward in the New Evangelization.
Key Quotes from Reclaiming Francis:
The ultimate reason for Francis's appeal is that he resembles Christ. Francis fascinates because Christ is fascinating. (p. 4) [Tweet This]
Embracing the Cross of Christ is the central key of Franciscan spirituality. The cross is the road to charity and the source of peace and joy. . . The cross then, of necessity and in fidelity to the Gospel itself, must be the focus of preaching and of evangelization. (p. 54) (As illustrated in his two well-known prayers: Anima Christi and the Prayer Before the Crucifix) [Tweet This]
Our economic life will not serve the common good unless we give recognition to the fact that most of what we have and are is pure gift. [Tweet This] (p. 69)
According to St. Francis, the practice of personal poverty is how we can imitate in our own way of the Son of God, who impoverished himself to be born in Bethlehem of the Virgin Mary. (p. 71) [Tweet This]
For Francis, a life of voluntary poverty was a necessary part of carrying Jesus’ cross and denying himself. For Francis, the Lord Jesus Christ was truly born in poverty, lived in poverty, taught poverty, and died in poverty. (p.75) [Tweet This]
My prayer and hope, my reason for writing this book, is to help others to explore St. Francis’s life and see its real connection with their own. (p.133) [Tweet This]
Multimedia Resources for Reclaiming Francis
The Reclaiming Francis Webinar
Msgr. Murphy Presents His Book to Pope Francis
Here is Msgr. Murphy's recounting of this event:
"After the Wednesday public audience I presented my book to Pope Francis. He had already been driven around St. Peter's Square 45 minutes before the audience began greeting people. He shook every bishop's hand. At the end he greeted the sick, then married couples (in their wedding attire). Then, though he seemed tired, he gladly received my book and thanked me for it. We spoke in English."
Msgr. Charles Murphy Book Signing
A Few Brief Words with Msgr. Murphy
1. What inspired you to write Reclaiming Francis?
I was inspired to write this book in response to Pope Benedict's call for a new evangelization. St. Francis led the greatest religious revival in the history of the church. What can we learn from him for today?
2. What has the response been from readers of the book so far?
Everyone loves St. Francis but few know much about him. Some readers have commented "I love St. Francis but he is not for everyone". I disagree. He followed the Gospel with great literalness as we all must do.
3. If you had to pick one characteristic of St. Francis that could best help us carry out the new evangelization today, what would it be? Why?
Perfect joy. Pope Francis has reiterated this in his apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium.
4. Same question, but for Pope Francis. If you had to pick one characteristic of Pope Francis that could best help us carry out the new evangelization today, what would it be? Why?
Witness. When you encounter Pope Francis you are meeting someone who witnesses to Jesus.
5. A few weeks ago, you presented Pope Francis with a copy of your book. What was that experience like?
After the Wednesday public audience I presented my book to Pope Francis. He had already been driven around St. Peter's Square 45 minutes before the audience began greeting people. He shook every bishop's hand. At the end he greeted the sick, then married couples (in their wedding attire). Then, though he seemed tired, he gladly received my book and thanked me for it. We spoke in English.
6. How has your ministry changed as a result of writing this book?
I find myself challenging people more to practice evangelical simplicity of life, not buying into consumerism, and being more mindful of the poor in our midst.