Pray for Me: The Life and Spiritual Vision of Pope Francis, First Pope of the Americas by Robert Moynihan

Pray for Me: The Life and Spiritual Vision of Pope Francis, First Pope of the Americas by Robert Moynihan

This book was provided to me free of charge as part of the Blogging for Books program.

When I started this book back in November, I was eager to learn more about our new pope. Unfortunately, the book (through no fault of its own!) somehow ended up at the bottom of my reading pile. Now, a year after Pope Francis’ historic election, I have picked it up again.

Pray for Me has three distinct parts. The first part delves deeply into the first few days of Francis’ papacy, from his election to his Palm Sunday Mass. The second reveals some of the elements that have had a deep impact on him and have formed him into the man he is. The third is a collection of his own writings, revealing even more about the man who has succeeded Peter.

The first part goes deeply into those first few days, all the more important to me because during the first five days of Francis’ papacy, I was on mission without access to technology or information about what was going on in Rome. Even now, one year later, these events feel new and eye-opening to a traditional Roman Catholic. In reading this book, have been reminded again and again of the novelty of Francis and of the gift that the Holy Spirit has given our Church.

In the first part, Moynihan’s writing is clear and authentic. He gives us his own take on those first few days and lets us experience with him all that we, on the other side of the world, missed out on. Hearing his experiences talking with other reporters and journalists is also intriguing, it gives us an honest and unique vision of what was going on in Rome at that time.

Part two goes into his family background and his spiritual background, explaining events of his childhood, his calling, and listing five of his “spiritual guides,” (Jonah, Mary, Ignatius of Loyola, Don Luigi Guissani, and, of course, Francis of Assisi). I think that the range of these guides can tell us a lot about the dynamic spiritual life that Francis lives and encourages us to be less narrow-minded in our vision of Heaven. The Catholic Church is supposed to be “universal,” after all.

Part three is illuminating in the writings of Pope Francis, helping us to know him better and understand more fully the remarks he has made since those early days of his papacy.

While I am sure that there are many books out now about Pope Francis, I think that Pray for Me can give a unique perspective on the beginning of this papacy, important now and possibly, more important in the future. I give this book a solid 4/5.