“The Gospel was his daily bread. He did not confine…

“The Gospel was his daily bread. He did not confine himself to reading its words, but through the expressions of the revealed text he set out to discover the One who is the Gospel itself. In fact, in Christ the divine economy is revealed in full: ‘losing’ and ‘gaining’ in their definitive, absolute sense. By his life Francis proclaimed and continues to proclaim today the saving word of the Gospel. It is difficult to find a saint whose message could withstand so deeply ‘the test of time.’” -St. John Paul II
“St. Francis’ sole boast was the cross” -Pope John Paul II
“St. Francis of Assisi raised the standard of the Cross anew in a world grown cold.” (Gueranger)
“Thenceforth, amidst the effeminacy and over-fastidiousness of the time, he is seen to go about careless and roughly clad, begging his food from door to door, not only enduring what is generally deemed most hard to bear, the senseless ridicule of the crowd, but even to welcome it with a wondrous readiness and pleasure. And this because he had embraced the folly of the cross of Jesus Christ, and because he deemed it the highest wisdom. Having penetrated and understood its awful mysteries, he plainly saw that nowhere else could his glory be better placed.” -Pope Leo XIII, “Auspicato Concessum”, 1882
“See, we are presented with him who authentically and profoundly ‘boasted…of the cross of Christ’. Not of anything else; solely ‘of the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (cf. Gal 6:14). A sign of likeness in virtue of love. The Apostle Paul says this and Francis of Assisi repeats it: through Christ’s cross and the power of love ‘the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world’ (Gal 6:14). The world does not want to be crucified: it flees the cross. People run away from being ‘crucified to the world’. That is how it was in Francis’ day, and it still is today. The struggle between the ‘world’ and the cross goes on forever; it is a battle with the cross of salvation!” -St. Pope John Paul II