Francis recognized that there are two moments in our life with God. There is the moment when we are passive, when God’s grace overwhelms us, when we are forgiven, when we receive our new life in Christ. At this moment God is active; God does for us what we could never do for ourselves. But there is another moment when we become active, when we respond to God’s grace, when we become sources of blessing in the lives of others, when we share the new life we have received, namely, Christ. We are then the Mothers of Christ. We receive Christ as Mary did, by God’s grace, but then like Mary we are to bring Christ forth, to present Christ to a world in need. Francis’ Marian spirituality was not limited to singing Mary’s praises. It moved Francis to action, to share with those in need. Our shrines to Mary ought to be the shelters for the homeless who share her poverty. Our words in praise of Mary ought to be the words and deeds we say and do to bring an end to war and terrorism in the name of the Queen of Peace. Our pilgrimages in her honor might be a walk for the poor. And although Francis’ words about Mary are steeped in the sentiment characteristic of the church of his day, his piety went far beyond mere sentiment.
—from the book In the Footsteps of Francis and Clare by Roch Niemier, OFM