•Why are the weak more necessary than the strong in the body of Christ?
•What was Jesus mission?
•How is the parish the body of Christ?
•How do you participate in the body of Christ?
Because Jesus freely chose to bring good news to the poor and showed a special love for them, Francis wanted to imitate Christ and work with social outcasts and the poor, something he had never imagined himself doing. He had always possessed a generous spirit but struggled to identify with those in need. In fact, he admits in his final testament that the turning point in his conversion was his willingness to serve lepers. The change came when he left behind the security of his social structure and comfortable lifestyle to care for the lepers and the poor, to spend time with them and to eat with them. Living with the poor awakened to him the poverty and suffering of Christ.
Francis response to living the gospel challenges the typical social categories that define our lives and keep us isolated from each other. By living amoung the poor lepers and the sick, and by welcoming everyone whether friend or enemy, he prods us towards a wider understanding of community, one in which no one is excluded. He reminds us that God can be found in the poor, sick, lonely, unemployed and powerless because God is known in vulnerability. This image of the vulnerable poor God is the heart of Francis spirituality. This is what encourage him to seek out the weakest members of society.11
Simsic, Wayne, Living the Wisdom of St. Francis
, Paulist Press; Mahwah, NJ, 2001, p. 3,4.