“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17).
Francis holds his followers to the highest standards of the Gospel. Like the great St. Augustine, who said, “Love and do what you will,” Francis knows that if the Lesser Brothers strive for the ideal, they will be unlikely to break the more basic commandments.
And this is my advice, my counsel, and my earnest plea to my friars in our Lord Jesus Christ that, when they travel about the world, they should not be quarrelsome or take part in disputes with words (see 2 Timothy 2:14) or criticize others; but they should be gentle, peaceful, and unassuming, courteous and humble, speaking respectfully to everyone, as is expected of them…. Whatever house they enter, they should first say, “Peace to this house” (Luke 10:5), and in the words of the Gospel they may eat what is set before them (Luke 10:8).
A peaceful attitude can go a long way toward living the message of the Gospel. If we think (and pray) before we speak or act, we will save ourselves and others a great deal of misunderstanding and heartache.
—from the book Lent with St. Francis: Daily Reflections
by Diane M. Houdek