Every once in a while a book comes along that takes your breath away, leaving you dizzy and delirious. The Very Lowly by Christian Bobin is one of those books. It is a lyrical and deeply mystical celebration of the 13th century "servant and friend of the Most Low." The French author imagines Francis as a baby and as a child buoyed by the love of God: "I loved you before you were born. I will love you well after the end of time. I love you in all the eternities." Bobin puts himself in the psyche of Francis the merchant's son and is there when he walks away from a pampered life: "He is seeing the abundance that no amount of money can provide."
Francis the useless one becomes Francis the saint when he drinks deep from the well of joy and begins to see God in everything. He's a madman who kisses lepers, communes with birds, talks with trees, and befriends death as a sister. Bobin pays tribute to the feminine spirit of Francis that mothers and nurtures the unlovable, the lost, and the left out. The author characterizes Francis and his monastic sister Clare as "two nomads on the invisible estates of God."
Read this book and you'll see why mothers "hold the eternal element that holds the world and man." Read this book and you'll understand the importance of paying humble attention to humble things. And finally, read this book because it will teach your soul to sing!