When we go into the inner desert, we appreciate for the first time just how much unnecessary baggage we carry around. We see and gasp at the incredible artificiality of our old way of life, the flimsiness of our old values, the duplicity of our old self. The process is harrowing because it rips away everything by which we’ve defined ourselves. But this desert dying, this going under, is a necessary condition for the kind of “ineffable joy” and “wonderful light” that suffused Francis at the end of his time in the pit.
—from the book Perfect Joy: 30 Days with Francis of Assisi by Kerry Walters