Franciscans face the task of linking scripture and the life and Words of Jesus to their own lives. Moreover, we rely on the Holy Spirit to continue to teach us what we need to know. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth… (John 16:13). We cannot escape the message of scripture nor the model that Jesus gives. Francis understood the primacy of Jesus and sought to imitate what he saw in and heard from Jesus.
What does Francis’ experience say to us today? What can we all imitate of him right now? Be it those that God calls to reform the Church by the way of holiness, be it those who feel called to renew her by way of criticism, be it those who he himself calls to reform her by way of the office that they hold? The same thing from which Francis’ spiritual adventure began: his conversion from the I to God, his denial of self. It is thus that true reformers are born, those who really change something in the Church, people who are dead to themselves. Better still, those who decide seriously to die to themselves, because it is an enterprise that lasts the whole of life and also beyond, if, as Saint Teresa of Avila said jokingly, our self-love dies 20 minutes after us.
~ Father Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M. Cap (preacher of the pontifical household), 1st Advent Homily 2013: “To prepare ourselves for Christmas in the company of Francis of Assisi” via ZENIT
In all your affairs rely wholly on divine Providence, through which alone you must look for success; labor, nevertheless, quietly on your part to cooperate with its designs, and then you may be assured, if you trust as you ought in God; the success which shall come to you shall be always that which is the most profitable for you, whether it appear good or bad according to your private judgment. Imitate little children who, as they with one hand hold fast by their father, and with the other gather strawberries or blackberries along the hedges; so you, gathering and handling the goods of this world with one hand, must with the other always hold fast the hand of your heavenly Father, turning yourself towards him from time to time to see if your actions or occupations be pleasing to him; but above all things take heed that you never leave his protecting hand nor think to gather more, for should he forsake you, you will not be able to go a step further without falling to the ground.
~Saint Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life