Francis was becoming a happy man, not giddy, but a man whose whole being radiated joy. He had endured hatred and abuse in patience for two years already, and yet his spirit seemed more steadfast with the passing weeks and months and years – and Bernard looked and listened, and then one day he saw. He saw that what was happening to Francis was not madness but a great grace of God—a grace that had begun to draw Bernard himself. He began to see that what was happening was the religious conversion of Francis Bernardone. Bernard remembered the words of the Gospel he’d heard at Mass. The priest said that they were the first words of Jesus. “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news” (Mark 1:15).
—from the book Surrounded by Love: Seven Teachings from Saint Francis