In his book “Greccio and the Fruits of the Dark Night of St. Francis” (Messaggero Padova Press), available in Italian and Polish, Friar Zdzisław Józef KIJAS analyzes the event of the first nativity scene from an existential and spiritual perspective. The book has a preface by Pope Francis and a prologue by the Minister General, Friar Carlos A. TROVARELLI.

This is a sui generis book. Many interpretations have already been written about St. Francis’ re-enactment of the nativity of Christ at Greccio in 1223, and new ones are constantly appearing. Was it worth writing yet another one? Is there still something in the re-enactment that has not been addressed or has not been addressed completely? What key should we use to better understand the mystery it hides? How can we describe Francis’ spiritual and existential situation in greater depth? Eight hundred years after the first nativity scene, the author interprets the event as the moment when Francis of Assisi overcame his inner crisis, as it might be for anyone who encounters God in the humanity of Jesus.
The title relies on the metaphor of the “dark night” to look deeper into Francis’ soul as he relives the birth of Jesus at Greccio. However, the author also goes in search of Francis’ other “dark nights,” such as when he revolutionized his life by leaving his father to become a servant of God. These two “dark nights” of Francis’ soul are little investigated by his biographers. They are, according to the author, “the key to unlocking his very essence.”

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