Freedom means the ability to live the fullness of life, an inward liberation from the chains of the mind and heart that weigh us down. It means being able to love someone more than one’s own life, for the sake of the other. I once heard of a woman in prison who became so deeply contemplative in prayer that when the time of her release came, she did not want to leave. She had found God in the walls of a prison and in that discovery she had become free. Francis of Assisi also was a free man. Poverty emancipated Francis from the need to possess so that he could be free for God, free to follow the footprints of Jesus and to accept suffering as a way of uniting with Jesus on the cross. “As followers of most holy poverty,” Celano wrote, “since they had nothing, they loved nothing; so they feared losing nothing.” Francis and his early followers remind us that it is not place or circumstances that make us free, it is the heart that makes us free when it is turned toward God. Bonaventure once wrote: “You truly exist where you love not merely where you live.” It is love that makes us free. And where you truly love, you are free.
— from the book The Humility of God: A Franciscan Perspective, by Ilia Delio, OSF