Robert Ellsberg, author ofThe Franciscan Saints, reads the chapter of his book devoted to Saint Francis of Assisi.
What was Saint Francis of Assisi’s appeal? Even his follower, Brother Masseo, asked this question, only half in jest: “Why you?” he asked Francis.“Why does all the world seem to be running after you, and everyone seems to want to see you and hear you and obey you? You are not a handsome man. You do not have great learning or wisdom. You are not a nobleman. So why is all the world running after you?”
Saint Francis, with characteristic humility, explained that God’s glory shone all the brighter for the weakness of such an obviously “miserable servant.” Nevertheless, at least part of the answer had to do with his evident authenticity. Those who encountered Francis could no longer maintain that Christ’s teachings were wonderful in theory but impossible to put into practice.