God always saves the best for us. But He asks us to let ourselves be surprised by His love, to accept His surprises.” – Pope Francis, July 24, 2013
I know some people who are “One Book People” – they read only one book at a time and read it at a steady rate, say maybe 20 pages a day…NO MATTER WHAT! Steady, focused, systematic, determined…that’s how I would describe those “One Book People”.
However, I am not a “One Book Person”, I’m more of a “Four Book Person”…
I like reading one heavy book, one poetry book, one fiction book, and one light read! Regarding the light read, I affectionately call this my “flipper book”. Granted, some light books I read cover to cover, but others I enjoy flipping here and there, gleaning bits of wisdom here and there. Just something to read and ruminate on, something light before bed, something to help keep my mind on The Lord.
The book I want to review in this blog is just such a light (and delightful) read! I am speaking of Andrea Tornielli’s Fioretti, the Little Flowers of POPE Francis (not to be confused with the Fioretti – the Little Flowers of SAINT Francis).
As a little prelude: For the last week or so, I’ve been under the weather. And the first thing to go when I am sick is my ability to focus: blow nose, take medicine, pray Office, take nap, pray Rosary, have a coughing fit, blow nose, take some more medicine, pray Office, take longer nap, repeat. Ugh. Reading a super heavy spiritual book that requires mega-concentration is just not in the cards when I am sick.
Soooooo….I was in just such a cycle (sneeze, medicine, cough, pray, nap, repeat), when I picked up the Fioretti book. And when I flipped it open my eyes came to rest on this chapter heading: The Confessional is Not a Dry Cleaner’s Shop. I read that short 4 page chapter in no time at all, and was touched by our Holy Father’s simplicity. The confessional is not just somewhere we go to get our sins washed away, like a dry cleaner’s shop. Confession is a place of encountering Jesus, “Who waits for us as we are.” Yes!!!
Other chapter headings include: We will see each other again in Purgatory (can’t help but smile at that one!), The Black Bag…of Normality, A Pope with a Bus Pass, The Pope Who Smiles, I need a community, Security and Madness, and To Pray with the flesh.
The book highlights the first year of Pope Francis’ Pontificate: featuring snippets from Wednesday audiences, homilies, and other talks, as well as highlighting his ‘tweets’ and interactions with a variety of little people. Though I had read some of this content before, I find it to be a true gift to have it so brilliantly condensed and organized in this short volume. It all seemed new!…and inspiring! I also found the author’s remarks, the pleasant flow of the book, and the general layout altogether delightful! Admittedly, I laughed out loud several times!
Chapter after chapter, my heart beheld Pope Francis as he truly is (with a twinkle in his eye). And being a fan of the original Fioretti – the Little Flowers of SAINT Francis, I experienced a similar sense when reading this new Fioretti. Each Francis, in his own right, is a lover of Jesus Christ and His Church, simple, direct, humorous, loving, thoughtful, and real….very real.
This book was so heartwarming and delightful, I almost forgot I was sick…until an irksome sneeze reminded me!