Chasing Francis by Ian Morgan Cron–Book Review

Pastor Chase Falson, leader of a large, evangelical church, finds his faith floundering after the death of a young child in his congregation. Suddenly he doesn’t have all the answers — or any answers–and God seems far away. He shares his feelings in a sermon, and is promptly asked by the church elders to “take a break” so that he and they can reassess his ministry.

Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim's Tale by [Ian M Cron]

Chase’s Uncle, a Franciscan priest, convinces him to come to Italy, going on a kind of pilgrimage to the places that were important in the life of St. Francis of Assisi. He gives him a reading list of books about the saint as well. Chase is highly suspicious at first — for one thing, as a Catholic his theology is all wrong, and wasn’t he also a little crazy? Messages from God, giving up everything? It’s far from the logical, reasoned faith that Chase espouses and teaches.

I won’t publish any “spoilers” except to say that Chase recovers his faith, but he has changed and learned many lessons from Francis, who was willing to look foolish in the eyes of the world for the sake of Christ.

The author describes his book as “a genre called wisdom literature, which is a delicate balance of fiction and nonfiction, pilgrimage and teaching.” It’s an easy, engaging read, and I actually thought it was a memoir at first! Since there was so much historical and theological detail that could not be included in the story, Cron has provided a study guide at the end of the book. This could be done alone or with a group.

VERDICT: 5 STARS. I loved it!

For more on pilgrimages see:

And Then There are Pilgrimages …

..And Speaking of Retreats …..

St. Francis Set to Music

If you like the St. Francis Prayer about transforming your environment by starting with yourself, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this musical version even more.  It’s been going around in my mind every since my last post.  Remember, he who sings, prays twice!

A Prayer to Help Change Our Environment

This prayer, attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, reveals one of the first principles of changing an environment:  you must change yourself first.

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace;

where there is hatred, let me sow love;

where there is injury, pardon;

where there is doubt, faith;’

where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light;

where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;  to be understood, as to understand; to be loved as to love;

fir it is in giving that we receive,

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.