Catholic Review of: The Secular Franciscan Companion
Orthodoxy: Completely orthodox.
Reading Level: Intermediate
By Joshua (NM) - See all my reviews
A Faithful Companion for Any Catholic
The Secular Franciscan Companion, published by St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2009, is a handbook on Franciscan spirituality as practiced by the Secular Franciscan Order. Though published specifically for Secular Franciscans, this book is invaluable for any lay Catholic who is interested in practicing Franciscan spirituality in his or her daily life. It includes a short history of the Secular Franciscan Order as well as the full text of the Secular Franciscan Rule at the front for easy reference. The rest of the book is comprised of two sections; the Secular Franciscan at Prayer, which makes up most of the book and includes several subsections, and a Calendar of Franciscan Saints. The primary subject of the book, and indeed of Franciscan spirituality, is that of prayer. First come the daily prayers, many of which are familiar to every Catholic, such as acts of contrition, the Creed, morning and night prayers, etc., but also includes uniquely Franciscan prayers, such as the Franciscan morning prayer, the Crown Rosary, and many other prayers penned by Saint Francis himself, on a variety of subjects. There follow prayers to Saint Francis, such as a prayer for fidelity to the Rule, and those of devotion and perseverance, and a selection of prayers to Franciscan Saints, including St. Bonaventure and St. Elizabeth of Hungary.
Next come meditations. There are beautiful meditations for before Holy Mass, meditations of adoration and praise, of thanksgiving and penance, and the Creed of Pope Paul VI. Following is a section on liturgical prayer, with many familiar prayers like the sacrament of penance and the Office of the Passion, yet, again, enriched by many specifically Franciscan prayers, such as the Liturgical Office of the Twelve Our Fathers. This section also features the entire text of the ordinary parts of the Mass. Seriously! Even if you can't make daily Mass, you can follow along in spirit. Non-liturgical prayers such as the Seraphic Office, the Office of Praise, and, of course, the Office Prayed with St. Francis, follow. The next section is devoted to devotions; prayers before the Blessed Sacrament, the Stations of the Cross, and the Mysteries of the Rosary included, as well as many novenas and litanies, like the Chair of Unity Octave and Novena to Saint Francis, as well as the Litany to Saint Francis and many other litanies. Finally, there is the Calendar of Franciscan Saints, with the feast days of very many Franciscan Saints for every month of the year. Franciscans will have no lack of reasons to celebrate when consulting this calendar.
This small book, which can easily be carried in a pocket or purse, is absolutely packed with everything one needs to put the faith of Saint Francis to work in their daily lives. Incredibly, the print is large and easily readable on the almost three hundred pages in this little book. For those Catholics who love prayer and devotions, the Secular Franciscan Companion is an invaluable resource that is sure to bring many graces to the reader. It is hard to get across just how much is packed into this small book, so I recommend that you get your own copy today and see for yourself. You won't be disappointed!
You can purchase this book here.