Reflections on Chasing Francis

Earlier this week, Pete Wilson posted “Information Does Not Equate Transformation.” It is a great post and you should go read it. It touches on something I have been thinking a lot about lately…


As a child growing up in church, I was force-fed so much “information” about God, about Jesus, about religion. I was taught the books of the Bible, the key Bible verses, the creeds, the prayers, the Christian campfire songs (let’s all join in for one quick round of It Only Take A Spark…), but 9 times out of 10 it was just “information” that could be regurgitated on cue.

For example I don’t remember a time when I couldn’t recite “The Prayer of St. Francis”…

Lord, make me an instrument of your 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;

and 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;

for it is in giving that we receive,

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

But I must confess that prayer never had much of a spiritual impact on me.

Not until I dug deeper and learned more about the man that Francis of Assisi was, a man who deeply and genuinely loved all of God’s creation, a man who fought for peace, a man who lived out the Gospel, and a man who rescued a troubled church.

As I turned the pages of Ian Cron’s Chasing Francis, I found myself on a beautiful pilgrimage learning about God and life from “the first postmodern” saint. And the “information” I’ve always known about St. Francis finally began to take hold, to mean something, and to transform me.

Now when I recite “The Prayer of St. Francis,” I will reflect on the man that Francis of Assisi was and the woman I want to become.

Have you ever had an “aha” moment where some information you’ve always known suddenly began to take hold and transform you?

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Lindsey has a sincere love for her precious dogs Molly and Maisy, a good red wine and the Delta Sky Club.

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  • Hilary

    Thanks so much for sharing this! I just finished reading about St. Francis in my Church History class, and I am so inspired by that prayer. I had an "aha" moment in a way, because I sang an arrangement of that prayer in college choir, but never knew where it came from until tonight. St. Francis is a very inspiring individual indeed.

    • @Hilary, we always sang an arrangement of it at camp. It's a really pretty song. And it has been floating around in my head since I read the book.

  • it's laying by the bed ready for me to read next. since i've had the pleasure of meeting ian on a couple of occasions i can't wait to dig into it, everyone raves about it.

    • @brandiandboys, I would hate to see the stack of books on your bedside table. Bet it is BIG. I think you'd really enjoy Chasing Francis. The story kept me engaged. I don't think I would have been as into it if it was just essays about Saint Francis.

  • I have had aha moments with the Word a great deal over the years. I, like you, remember a lot of information but now it is more than that. Now when I read those verse I memorized as a child I read them differently.

    I am definitely going to have to check out the book Chasing Francis.
    My recent post Caffeinated Randomness :: Bizarre Ornament Edition

  • I'm a strange person….. I remember so much and the scripture I've memorized in the past, I still remember today. I agree that the stuff I've memorized I don't really reflect on, I just recite them.

    What I'm finding for me is that when I allow things "in" I see it in a different way, and the best way to break down that barrier (for me) is through something quite unexpected: Art. Music. Creative words.

    I'm going to have to re-read the book Chasing Francis again….. I don't think I appreciated it as much as i could have the first time.
    My recent post Impossible Union

    • @torybee I am the same way. I think we all are. This was one of my favorite quotes from the book… "There's a distinct relationship between beauty & the heart's search for God."

  • elizabeth jones

    I was force fed lots of information growing up in church and other areas as well. Still trying to get my mind (if that's possible) around God's Grace. I didn't grow up Catholic so I don't know much about the Saints. Thanks for posting this and making me thing about this.

  • "Aha moment" – Psalm 37:4, Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart."
    I think I was taught and most people assume that this is one of those "genie-in-the-bottle-wish-granting verses. But then the true meaning hit me. When we delight in the LORD He actually places His desires into our hearts. Our wants change as we align ourselves with His will. That's true peace. And as result, the desire to write was placed in my heart. I still don't know exactly where it's going and maybe it's not "going" anywhere but is simply a way for me and God to work things out. That's ok with me. I'll go where ever it leads because I know it's from Him.
    I just put Chasing Francis on my Amazon Wish List last week. I may just cave this weekend and put it on my Kindle. But I have a feeling this is one of those books I want to hold and turn actual pages! Plus I LOVE the look of the cover! (yes I do judge books by their covers!)

  • Alece

    i have "aha" moments all the times. sometimes "aha"-ing over something i've already "aha"d.

    i wish i didn't forget so quickly..

  • Love the St. Francis prayer! This was a great follow up to Pete's post on information versus transformation. Growing up as a young girl, I never understood the value behind the Biblical information being fed to me. I was like you, I could recite catechism and give the "right" answers to things, but I never understood what it meant to me personally. It is often when it becomes real and applicable to me in my everyday life that the internal light comes on and the head knowledge finally becomes heart belief.
    My recent post A Grand Experience: The Invisible Hand