Dan Burke is an award-winning author, writer, and speaker on Catholic spirituality. He has written and/or edited nine books on faithful Catholic spirituality and is the President and Chief Operating Officer of EWTN News, Inc. Dan is the president of the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, and the creator of Divine Intimacy Radio and SpiritualDirection.com.
Francis, Pope of a New World, by Andrea Tornielli (Ignatius Press, 2013), 200 pages
In the first book to be released in a flurry of new releases and looks at our current pope, Francis, formerly Jorge Bergoglio, Andrea Tornielli presents an insider's view with a soft touch.
"Today's world requires the Church to witness to the Gospel more by her life than by her words," he writes. "Pope Francis, by being himself through and through, attracts."
This book is a look at Bergoglio from a viewpoint that feels both intimate and journalistic, which is to say, a bit jarring. Maybe that's what made it such a fast read.
Bergoglio is someone so many seem fascinated by and intrigued with, and with good reason: in some ways he's an unknown. He's in an international spotlight with his role as pope.
Pope of a New World isn't a bad place to start. If you don't like biographies, you may find this less biography-feeling. If you long to hear the voice of Papa, you'll find it throughout, in passages like this:
For Bergoglio, "Christian life is giving witness with joy, as Jesus did. Saint Teresa used to say that a sad saint is a sad excuse for a saint.”
Returning to the topic of sorrow, the future pope says that what a person who is suffering needs "is to know that there is someone with him, who wishes him well, who respects his silence and prays that God may enter into this space that is sheer solitude."
The story of Jorge Bergoglio's journey to Rome is remarkable, but not because it involves treachery and conspiracy (it doesn't). Rather, it's a story so many of us can nod as we read. It's a journey that speaks to each of us where we are, who we are. It's a path that we could follow, couldn't we?
We learn about Pope Francis's devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux and the battle he fought within his family in choosing the priesthood. We realize that, at the heart of it, Francis is a priest. He is a man. He is characterized best by among the first words we heard him say, "I ask you to pray for me…"
You can purchase this book HERE from EWTN's religious catalogue.