A Work of God – Images of Renewal (Franciscan Friars of the Renewal)
A stunning collection of award-worthy photography and soul-stirring essays from the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. Known for their untamed beards and tattered grey habits, the CFR friars have a fierce commitment to gospel poverty and a consuming passion for proclaiming Christ—all of which is honestly depicted in 186 pages of stunning imagery. Witness authentic religious life as lived by one of the fastest-growing religious orders in the world, dramatically portrayed in this large-format pictorial essay.
A Work of God: Images of Renewal
A Photo Book Unlike Any You’ve Ever Seen
Gathering hundreds of exquisite images from 13 professional photographers, this 186-page coffee table book is a window into the life, work, and spirituality of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (CFRs).
Taking its title from the last exhortation of founder Fr. Benedict Groeschel, A Work of God is an honest depiction of religious life lived with humility and passion, revealing the friars at their most relaxed and most intense—both resting in Christ and fighting for the gospel. Talented photographers have captured friars at prayer in their chapels, at work in the streets of New York and Honduras, hiking in the hills of Europe, and sharing authentic Christian fraternity. Each image evokes simplicity, poverty of spirit, and the warmth of divine love.
Evocative, World-Class Photography
The image quality in A Work of God is on par with National Geographic, with shots of such brilliance and clarity they invite silent contemplation—even prayer. Some images spark a smile, others engender stillness of heart. Still others, especially in the Poverty chapter, disturb the soul, awaking a holy desire to amend one’s life—to “go out to all the world” like the friars. In this regard, the book is not just a record of how a few remarkable men live the Christian life; it is proof anyone can become an authentic witness to Christ, not just in words, but in deeds.
High-Quality, Large-Format Printing
A Work of God is a work of art. Gorgeously designed and printed on heavy, photo-quality paper, it measures 10.5”x11.25”, with many images printed in full two-page spreads. It is a beautiful volume worthy of Catholic homes, parish vestibules, and school libraries.
Simple Essays, Piercing Insights
While coffee table books aren’t usually notable for their written content, the book’s six essays are startlingly honest and provocative. In one, a friar recounts a near-death experience. In another, the author feels his grief rising to anger when a poor addict is ignored by nearby churchgoers. In every essay, the common thread is the friars’ disarming admission of their own weaknesses, even as they desire to empty themselves for love of Jesus. In the words of one essayist, reflecting on the reasons for the friars’ poverty:
“We desire to be ‘Cross-eyed’ in a certain sense, by a purposeful lack of decorations and colors in the friary, and ‘Cross-eared’ by times of silence and ‘Cross-touched’ by simple wooden chairs rather than cozy couches. Every time we refrain from buying something we want, rather than something that is truly necessary, it is another little participation in that self-emptying of Christ for our salvation.”
ENGAGING LAYOUT & CONTENT
An Exposition of Franciscan Spirituality
The book is arranged in six sections, each with an introductory essay and two dozen pages of carefully-curated, evocative photography. In addition, many photos are captioned with rarely-quoted passages from the writings of St. Francis and the CFR constitutions. Contents include:
“This is a Work of God!”
By Fr. John Paul Ouellette, CFR General Servant
Beginnings: Where the Holy Spirit Has Led Us
By Fr. Herald Brock, CFR
Fire and Melody: The Heart of Our Life
By Fr. Francesco Mary Gavazzi, CFR
I Will Not Leave You: The Lord Gave Me Brothers
Br. Angelo Marie LeFever, CFR
Perfect Joy: Following Wounded Feet
By Fr. Richard Roemer, CFR
WORK WITH THE POOR
Eyes to See: Humanity and Light on the Streets
By Br. Joseph Michael Fino, CFR
Spent for Souls: Proclaiming Christ In Season and Out
By Fr. Isaac Mary Spinharney, CFR
A BOOK WITH PURPOSE
Evangelization by Beauty
It has been said that the modern world will be converted by beauty. The beauty in A Work of God is not sleek or glamourous, but rather, the splendor of authentic simplicity: of calloused feet, frayed habits, untamed beards, and hearts on fire for Christ.
Photography by Jeff Bruno, Sean Blackwell, Pat Dunford, Diego Esquivel, Sid Hastings, Martin Jernberg, Mike Kearney, Rosann Mucciolo, Jamie Orillion, Br. Rufino Poster, David Sao, Annie Theby, and Spirit Juice Studios.
Compiled and edited by Fr. Mark-Mary Ames, CFR.