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- Publié sur Amazon.com
St. Francis, preaching to animals, dressed in rags and sharing his message of peace through his life of simplicity is one of the best known of the medieval saints. Without possessions nothing could be taken from him and he was in a state of freedom. In the simplicity of his message peasants, nobles, kings and the pope were transformed in his presence. If we are looking for a role model, even though we have no ambitions to be saints, St. Francis must surely be a good place to start. It was a pleasant surprise therefore, to find that James Twyman had not only chosen to write about St. Francis but to give the book the title "Portrait of the Master". I had also been struck by the fact that Mother Teresa had adopted St. Francis' Prayer of Peace as part of her daily prayer routine, suggesting that St. Francis holds a particular place in her heart.
It was clear to some, even in his early days, that Francis was destined for sainthood. "' The founder of our order is about to leave on one of his famous journeys,' the brother superior had told him days earlier, 'and I want you, Brother Leo, to accompany him, and in doing so to capture his likeness on your pad. No one knows where he is off to, but there is seriousness in his eye that I have never seen before. That is what I want you to capture in your drawing, the deep penetration of his gaze when he considers what only a saint can perceive. The portrait you produce will be the official representation of the future saint, so pray to the Blessed Mother that she may guide your hand.'"
Before setting out on their journey Brother Leo said to Francis "The second thing I ask is that you teach me the true meaning of peace and prayer. I have listened to you for years, all the ways you honor and express the holy teachings, but it is so hard for me to understand. I ask that, as we travel forward on this path, you take the time to explain your deeper understanding of the 'peace that surpasseth understanding.' If you will do these things I will be so very grateful, and will follow you anywhere. I will also draw a portrait that will rival the works of the masters." And that is what this book is all about - the journey from Assisi to Syria, the lessons learned along the way and how the prayer "Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace" evolves and develops through their conversation during their journey carrying the message of peace to the infidel.
I share with you some snippets which are representative of the book and which made an impression on me. Perhaps they will help you to decide whether this book is for you.
"You see, Brother Leo, before we can accept the true meaning of peace, a transformation is required which shakes the very foundation of our lives. This transformation requires that we lay aside all the concepts and beliefs we presently hold, and accept a new vision offered by the Mind of the Beloved. If we think we already have the answer, if we are hard in our ways and closed in our thoughts, then we cannot hear the Voice for God which whispers its secrets softly into our ear. For most it is a confronting task they will never face. But it is in truth the greatest victory one can achieve as we ascend toward the throne of the Beloved."
"'Each one of us enters a world fertile with possibilities,' Francis explained. 'When we are born, we are like a rich piece of land which has the potential to produce an enormous harvest, or become a parched desert through misuse. And since we are new to this venture, we search for someone to guide us and help us use our inheritance wisely. It is critical that we chose a guide who is looking out for our best interest, otherwise we will be robbed and have to wait for the next season.'"
"Just as you said, Brother Leo, each one of us receives from our Divine Parent gifts that are bestowed freely and with joy. But if we do not use those gifts wisely, they grow old and dry, as if they were dead. But no matter how much time goes by, no matter how much we neglect the seed of our Divinity, there is a magical secret which has the power to bring it back to life, unleashing its power. When we discover that secret, then apply it, we begin to grow spiritually, and we achieve Divine riches beyond imagination."
"Prayer is surrender, Brother Leo. It is stepping back into the arms of the Divine and melting into the embrace of the Beloved. There are so many ways to pray, but it is this merging that is important. To ask God to provide something you think you do not have is the lowest level of prayer. To open the soul to the brilliance of eternity, drinking in the light of God as if it were a fountain, this is the highest. It is the wordless prayer that God cannot ignore, because it unites the soul with the Divine current from which all life flows. There are also prayers that use words and concepts, and they are not less than wordless prayer. The power of our prayer is born upon the wings of our intent, and nothing else. It is there we must turn if we are to judge the worth of our song to God. When our intention is love, then prayer is the path that leads us to the throne of our true home."
Yes, I think Mother Teresa was right when she held St. Francis in such high esteem.