Francis of Assisi grasped something of the mystery of God and, in a particular way, the mystery of God’s humility. Although he was simple and not well educated, he had an insight into God that I can only say was profound. Francis did not study theology. He did not try to figure out what God is through reason. He simply spent long hours in prayer, often in caves, mountains or places of solitude, places where he could distance himself from the busy everyday world. Thomas of Celano, the first biographer of Francis, wrote: “Where the knowledge of teachers is outside, the passion of the lover entered.” What Thomas perceived is that love, not knowledge, allowed Francis to enter into the great mystery we call “God.” As he entered into this mystery he discovered two principle features of God—the overflowing goodness of God and the humility of God. That is why a Franciscan approach to God’s humility must begin with Francis. For he was so impressed by God’s humility that he spent his entire life striving to live humbly in imitation of God.
—from the book The Humility of God: A Franciscan Perspective by Ilia Delio, OSF