“Which commandment is the first of all?” (Mark 12 :28).
One of the best stories about St. Francis is his explanation to Brother Leo about “perfect joy.”
“When we come to St. Mary of the Angels, soaked by the rain and frozen by the cold, all soiled with mud and suffering from hunger, and we ring at the gate of the place and the brother porter comes and says angrily: ‘Who are you?’ And we say: ‘We are two of your brothers.’ And he contradicts us, saying: ‘You are not telling the truth. Rather you are two rascals who go around deceiving people and stealing what they give to the poor. Go away!’…and if we can bear it patiently and take the insults with joy and love in our hearts, oh, Brother Leo, write that perfect joy is there!”
Francis discovered the hidden secret to inner peace: Don’t react. It doesn’t make the insults OK. But it does keep us from being consumed by our own anger.
—from the book Lent with St. Francis: Daily Reflections
by Diane M. Houdek