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Posted March 26, 2013

Book: Hearts Aflame with Hope: Vol. 1: Augustine of Hippo and Francis of Assisi
Author: Michael Gaudoin-Parker
St. Pauls. Staten Island, NY. 2012. Pp. 144

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

"We had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. . ." (Lk 24:21). This phrase "we had hoped. . ." encompasses the image of human existence in which hope has become difficult, if not impossible. The truth of these words is reflected in the lives of the persons considered here as signs of encouragement to us all to hope. These pages focus on their journey towards greater union with Christ through his gift and mystery of the Eucharist of which they offer an extended catechesis and celebration. This series begins with Augustine of Hippo, whose story of conversion offers a striking example of Christian hope in action. His rigorous and unremitting search for truth led him to delve profoundly into the revealed Word of God. As a result, his fundamental teaching can be summed up as emphasizing the primacy of God's loving outreach to each and every one of us in our hour of need. The chapter on Francis of Assisi presents that much loved saint, whose perspective on living became entirely changed through his encounter with the Crucified Savior. In this memorable meeting he learned to deepen his practical commitment to serving the poor in this world and thus building up the Church as a community of hope oriented towards the future when the Lord will ask every person to give an account of fidelity, not only to his real presence in the Sacrament of the altar, but most strikingly in the needy.

An Excerpt from the Book:

Francis of Assisi
Singer of the Canticle of Hope
Since Christ embraced the cross itself, dare I
His image, the image of His cross deny?
Would I have profit by the sacrifice,
And dare the chosen altar to despise?
It bore all other sins, but is it fit
That it should bear the sin of scorning it?
John Donne, "The Crosse"

I dream of a new St. Francis. . .who will offer us the new type of Christian life (at once more involved in and detached from the world) that we need. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

What does one think of Francis of Assisi, with his renunciation of potential life as a merchant, his austerities, his stigmata? One can be deeply moved by this call to go beyond flourishing, and then one is tempted by the transformation perspective; or one can see him as a paradigm exemplar. . .a practitioner of senseless self-denial. . . What is striking about Francis is that he was seized by a sense of the overpowering force of God's love, and a burning desire to become a channel of this love of God in Nature (brother sun and sister moon); but the salient inspiring feature of his life emerges in the story of his conversion, how he was moved to abandon everything in his life for the love of God. Charles Taylor

Table of Contents:

Foreword (V. Rev. Fr. Norman Pelletier, S.S.S

Preface (Archbishop Piero Marini

Prelude: Raising of Hope Beyond Hope

1. Augustine of Hippo (356-430) Pathfinder of Hope

2. Francis of Assisi (1186-1226): Singer of the Canticle of Hope

Postlude: Hearts Aflame with Hope, Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa