Because he lived in such a perfect state of humble existence among his sisters and brothers, Jesus was able to meet those he encountered as they were and treat them with the inherent dignity rightly deserved by virtue of their humanity. For Francis, this became a major component of his way of life and remains a characteristic of Franciscan ministry today.
~Francis of Assisi and the Future of Faith by Daniel Horan OFM
He plunged after poverty as men have dug madly for gold. And it is precisely the positive and passionate quality of this part of his personality that is a challenge to the modern mind in the whole problem of the pursuit of pleasure. There undeniably is the historical fact; and there attached to it is another moral fact almost as undeniable. It is certain that he held on this heroic or unnatural course from the moment when he went forth in his hair-shirt into the winter woods to the moment when he desired even in his death agony to lie bare upon the bare ground, to prove that he had and that he was nothing. And we can say, with almost as deep a certainty, that the stars which passed above that gaunt and wasted corpse stark upon the rocky floor had for once, in all their shining cycles round the world of labouring humanity, looked down upon a happy man.
~G.K. Chesterton, Saint Francis of Assisi