“If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31–32).
In modeling his life on the Gospels, Francis hoped that people would see in him and in the Lesser Brothers an example of what they, too, could achieve if they would only follow Jesus. Francis had a profound ability to translate what many saw as only sacred words to be read at Mass into a way of life that could be adapted to any place and time.
People now saw how the brothers rejoiced in the midst of trials and tribulation; how zealous they were in prayer; and how they did not accept money like other people, nor keep it when it was given them; and how they really loved one another. Seeing all this, many became convinced that the brothers were true disciples of Jesus Christ; and with remorse in their hearts they came to ask the brothers pardon for having previously injured and insulted them. The brothers forgave them gladly, saying: “The Lord forgive you,” and gently admonished them concerning their salvation…. When they were all together, joy filled their hearts, and they no longer remembered past injuries.
How do we, in our own lives, set an example for the people around us? This will always be a more powerful way of sharing the good news than anything we could say.
—from the book Lent with St. Francis: Daily Reflections
by Diane M. Houdek