Review: Franciscan Prayer

Franciscan PrayerFranciscan Prayer by Ilia Delio
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is an accessible and easily digested introduction to the nature of prayer that draws on the example of St Francis of Assisi. Providing the opportunity for meditation and reflection through the provision of questions at the end of each chapter, the book has proven to be a very good read for me, more at home in the Benedictine tradition, as I am called to minister to those who are very firmly in the Franciscan camp.

From the blurb on the back page:

With exquisite execution, Franciscan theologian Ilia Delio clearly outlines what it means to pray as a Franciscan. Through her experience as a discalced Carmelite nun and then her transformation into Franciscan scholar, Sister Delio brings to light the “contemplative,” “cosmic” and “evangelizing” aspects of Franciscan prayer.

Everyone, says Delio, seems to know about Francis’ life, his miracles, his devotion to evangelization and his dedication to living a simple and humble life, yet few know about his prayer life, which seemed, over the centuries, to get lost in the paper shuffle between theologians, followers and historical biographers.

It is through Clare of Assisi, Delio asserts, that we have insights into the Franciscan path of prayer. “[Clare] provides the ‘road-map’ of prayer for evangelical life…she was able to do this because she lived under monastic rule while ardently desiring evangelical life.” Through Clare’s letters and actions, we find the rudiments of Franciscan prayer: “Gaze-Consider-Contemplate-Imitate.”

Delio also uses the insights of Saint Bonaventure as well as Saint Francis to fully show the meaning and purpose of prayer in the Franciscan tradition.

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Article by Andrew Doohan

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