Without the kind of internal conversion of heart that Francis came to in his own life, we can easily find our certainties elsewhere, even from those who have elevated their own opinions and prejudices to the level of truth. And without our own inner certainties we can easily start listening to these false truths of others, often listening to the loudest, most convincing speaker rather than listening to God in the silence in which God speaks to the depths of the soul. And then we begin to imitate others’ words and actions, as if they are our own hard-won truths and ways of living that we have come to after pondering prayerfully and carefully what is said and acted upon by others. So, if we are to learn from St. Francis today and live the words of Christ in the Gospel, we need first of all to ask what part we ourselves may be playing in disseminating lies without considering more carefully whether or not they are the truth they pretend to be, or being silent when we know lies are being proclaimed as the truth. And then, seeking God’s mercy and forgiveness, like St. Francis, we try to begin again, listening to the words of the Gospel to find the truth, praying over them, and living them out in our daily lives, all the while asking God to help us to be people of the truth who try always to speak the truth.
—from Surrounded by Love: Seven Teachings from Saint Francis by Murray Bodo, OFM