Francis believed that without God we are nothing, and his rejection of wealth and power was a statement of his total dependence on God, the giver of all gifts, whose overflowing love is beyond our comprehension and who, as a Provident Father, is lavish in bestowing gifts on his children. Francis identified with the poor because he understood his own poverty, and he knew that without God he was utterly empty and could do nothing without God’s help. In renouncing his father’s wealth and his own patrimony he was free to be truly dependent on God. This was the source of his profound peace and joy. For Franciscans today, material poverty is not the greatest concern but rather an acknowledgment that their “poverty of being” is essential. Poverty exists first in the heart, or it doesn’t exist at all.
—from the book Franciscan Field Guide: People, Places, Practices, and Prayers
by Sister Rosemary Stets, OSF