Last year, my son-in-law, Joshua Rowe, and I visited Assisi, Italy, to study the life of Francis. While there, I picked up a local biography of the famous saint, and here’s a story culled from its pages:
One day a man named Masseo asked St. Francis of Assisi, “I wonder why the whole world runs after you more than others, and everyone wants to see and hear and obey you? You are not fair of body, or deeply learned, or of noble birth. Why does the whole world run after you?”
When Frances heard this, he rejoiced and turned his eyes toward heaven and stood a long time with his soul lifted up to God. When he had come to himself, he knelt down and gave thanks and praise to God. Then turning to Brother Masseo, he said:
“Do you want to know why this happens to me? I know it from the all-highest God who sees the good and bad in all the earth. His most holy eyes have nowhere seen a greater, a more miserable, poorer sinner than I. Because in the whole world He found no more wretched being to do the wonderful work He wishes to done, therefore He has chosen me, so as to put to shame the noble and the great, strength and beauty and worldly wisdom; that all may know that power and virtue come from Him alone, and not from any creature, and that no one can exalt themselves before His face.”
[Adapted from the Life of St. Francis of Assisi by Nesta De Robeck (Assisi, Italy: Casa Editrice Francescana Frati Minori Conventuali, 2000), 56].