Whenever I am presented the opportunity to read about a person who had an affect on the era in which they lived, I jump at the chance to read about them. I love to learn about their culture, the time they lived in, the traditions they were accustomed to, and the impact they had on their society. This was the case when I was asked to read and review My God and My All. Learning more about Saint Francis of Assisi seemed like an intriguing subject, mostly because it was a rounded tale about his life, which began in his childhood. Having little knowledge of the twelfth century, I knew learning about this time period and the man who became a Saint would be fascinating.
My God and My All, The Life of Saint Francis of Assisi, shares the drastic decision Francis of Assisi made when he declared he would dedicate his life to Christ and forsake a life of leisure and family fortune. It takes you on the road Saint Francis traveled as he discovered his purpose in Christ and as he realized what living in His image meant. The author, Elizabeth Goudge, shares the struggles Saint Francis endured as he searched for his calling and how, through his desire to do good in the name of Christ, became a man of faith who inspired multitudes of people. It was not only his sermons that brought people to Christ, but the love and humility he showed while chasing after his heart’s passion.
When reading My God and My All, I found I had to be ready to focus on the story. This wasn’t a book I could read right before bed, or when I was tired from a hard day’s work. Due to the vocabulary and the writing style of Elizabeth Goudge, reading My God and My All took concentration on my part, but when I began to read I was drawn into Saint Francis’s world and I really enjoyed learning about him and the time he lived in. Maybe part of what made it more difficult to read was the era in which Saint Francis lived. Whatever the reason, it took me a bit longer than normal to read through the book since I had to read it when I was wide awake and ready to dig in!
Reading about the life of Saint Francis Assisi was very inspiring to me. To know how he lived before his bold decision and then to see how he was treated when he first announced his spiritual intentions gave the reader a deeper understanding of what Saint Francis sacrificed when he took this new direction in his life. Not many were supportive or understanding; however, through his dedication to Christ, the latter part of his life shows the fruits of his endeavors.
Saint Francis had a different way of thinking and through all the trials he went through, he kept his eye on the goal before him, which was Christ. He embodied the attributes he later wrote about:
“Where there is charity and wisdom there is neither fear nor ignorance. Where there is patience and humility there is neither anger nor worry. Where there is poverty and joy there is neither cupidity nor avarice. Where there is quiet and meditation there is neither solicitude nor dissipation. Where there is fear of the Lord to guard the house the enemy cannot find a way to enter.” –writings of Saint Francis (pg 95)
As an adult reader who loves to read but who also had trouble reading this book (a very hard confession), I think those who are older, college level or above, will have an easier time reading this book. I also think the younger audience can gain some inspiration from the life of Saint Francis, so although it might be more of a challenge to read, those in high school should also consider learning more about this saint by picking up My God and My All. And this book would be a great choice for any book club because there is so much information inside this book that can be discussed or even debated. Anyone considering the ministry might want to pick this book up too and learn from this humble saint.
My God and My All is a remarkable and inspirational story that will encourage anyone who picks up this book and reads it.
“Seeking thy honor in all things and with all our strength, by spending all the powers and senses of body and soul in the service of thy love and not in anything else; and that we may love our neighbors even as ourselves, drawing to the best of our power all to thy love.” –writings of Saint Francis (pg 143)
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”