Francis' extraordinary gift was his humility. I believe it was this gift which made him such an effective peacemaker. Francis fearlessly preached without compromise, but he preached with humility. Beginning with himself, he simply tried to bring the love and the forgiveness of Jesus back to its rightful place in the daily lives of the ordinary people within the existing society and church of his day.
Within a few years this simple little man from Assisi had become God's instrument to accomplish great things. Literally hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life had formed into Christian communities inspired by the example of Francis. These communities were for single people or for married family members, they were for the rich or the poor, they were for all who wanted to radically respond to Christ's call and begin a new life of love and forgiveness so that all the world could be renewed in the peace of God.
Through the centuries, we Franciscans have often lived up to our call; sometimes we have failed miserably. Yet there have always been those among us working faithfully in the little things of life to try to touch those in need with God's love. No social reforms, no great campaigns, just a simple love touch from God for the children God loves so much. This is what we are called to instill within all the peoples and systems of this world. This is when we are true to our call as Franciscans.
John Michael Talbot, a musician and songwriter, was a lay brother in a Franciscan house of prayer when this article appeared.