The Middle Ages were not so very dark, as the old textbooks say. As you will discover in this intriguing portrait of the first Franciscans, we live in "dark ages" whenever we become preoccupied with power. In this popular history, Jon Sweeney reveals the timeless temptations that come with being human---greed, competition, ego, and selfishness---as well as the many ways that Francis and Clare of Assisi inspired change and brought light into darkness.
Discover how Francis was first found by God and then joined by Clare despite the violent objections of her family. Explore a variety of issues that they faced, including the treatment of lepers in medieval society, corruption in the Church, and attitudes toward the created world. You will also learn how Clare's spirituality influenced that of other prominent women, how St. Francis lost control of his own movement, and why Francis's body was secretly buried upon his death.
The examples of early Franciscan spirituality challenge any of us who would follow Christ today. How would we view a young person today who rejected family for spiritual reasons? Is it possible for men and women to have deep friendship and remain true to a call to chastity? Is intentional poverty of any value? Have we sentimentalized family to the point of ignoring what Jesus taught his disciples on the subject?
Visit Jon Sweeney's blog at www.jonmsweeney.wordpress.com.