This is Pope Francis’ manifesto for divine transformation in a world that he suggests is in crisis. The tone is like that of a devoted but concerned father, passing on some of the wisdom and insights he has gathered over a long life, well lived.

From the beginning, Pope Francis addresses many of the most difficult and challenging issues of our time. In the opening chapter, he calls for the eradication of the culture of abuse that exists in the world, and in the Church. He asks for forgiveness for the unspeakable damage that the Church has caused as a consequence of clerical abuse, for so long denied and covered up.

Thereafter, he asks us to prayerfully engage with environmental challenges, examine the role of the media in truth-telling within society, and intercede for those in politics, leadership and government.

The issues of immigration, poverty and world peace are also addressed with a sense of realism, as well as a holy desire to see enduring change for the most vulnerable in society. The papal punches are not pulled.

For those seeking a well-seasoned spiritual guide on life’s journey – particularly in light of recent events in the Middle East – Pope Francis’ text will be a help and encouragement. It offers light in the darkness and hope to those of us whose spirits are increasingly weary.

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