Clare and Francis both embraced the proposition of Gregory the Great that we are saved by those we despise.
-from “The Great Catholic Reformers…”, by Dr. C. Colt Anderson, USML
“The idea that God uses people we regard as unimportant or as offensive to save us by teaching us humility, which Gregory saw revealed in Christ’s life and in the stories of the Old Testament saints, had become quite commonplace (by Clare and Francis’ time).
Rather than demanding the recognition of rights, Franciscan reform demanded a willingness to be despised in order to save others…this idea makes Franciscan thought and reform largely inaccessible to people who privilege current categories of thought…Ideas such as inherent rights and modern notions of freedom would not begin to appear until roughly five hundred years later.
Both Clare and Francis subscribed to the idea that the path to peace was poverty. They would not have understood contemporary ideas that there will be no peace until there is justice. Instead, Clare and Francis believed it was necessary to give others more than they deserved to establish peace.
By calling Christians to actively embrace and steadfastly love evil people, Franciscan reform went beyond passive resistance. Based on the belief that the only way to overcome fear is through love,…Francis forbid his brothers from growing angry, from gossiping, from revilement, detraction, judging, and condemning those who were corrupt…
In fact, there is something radically, and Clare said ‘wonderfully’, subversive about Francis & Clare’s desires and actions to give those who are corrupt more respect than they deserve. By giving the corrupt more respect than they deserve, Francis and Clare were imitating the way Christ desires to give to sinners the grace they do not deserve. Franciscan reform hopes to compunct the sinner into reform.
Franciscan reform is absolutely nonsensical to those who do not possess the fear of God. It is the fear of God, the recognition that God is just and that people are not, which moves the sinner to seek reconciliation. Grateful for the gift of salvation, the sinner learns to be gracious with others. Fear of God also allows people to let go of their anger and desire for vengeance. In this sense, the fear of God is a mercy for those who have suffered real oppression or evil. Filled with this gift, the only pious or appropriate response to sinners, even clerical sinners, is to feel pity for them.”
Summa Catechetica, "Neque enim quaero intelligere ut credam, sed credo ut intelligam." – St Anselm, "Let your religion be less of a theory, and more of a love affair." -G.K. Chesterton, "I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men and women who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, and who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it."- Bl John Henry Newman, Cong. Orat., "Encounter, not confrontation; attraction, not promotion; dialogue, not debate." -cf Pope Francis, “You will not see anyone who is really striving after his advancement who is not given to spiritual reading. And as to him who neglects it, the fact will soon be observed by his progress.” -St Athanasius, "To convert someone, go and take them by the hand and guide them." -St Thomas Aquinas, OP. 1 saint ruins ALL the cynicism in Hell & on Earth. “When we pray we talk to God; when we read God talks to us…All spiritual growth comes from reading and reflection.” -St Isidore of Seville, “Also in some meditations today I earnestly asked our Lord to watch over my compositions that they might do me no harm through the enmity or imprudence of any man or my own; that He would have them as His own and employ or not employ them as He should see fit. And this I believe is heard.” -GM Hopkins, SJ, "Only God knows the good that can come about by reading one good Catholic book." — St. John Bosco, "Why don't you try explaining it to them?" – cf St Peter Canisius, SJ, Doctor of the Church, Doctor of the Catechism, "Already I was coming to appreciate that often apologetics consists of offering theological eye glasses of varying prescriptions to an inquirer. Only one prescription will give him clear sight; all the others will give him at best indistinct sight. What you want him to see—some particular truth of the Faith—will remain fuzzy to him until you come across theological eye glasses that precisely compensate for his particular defect of vision." -Karl Keating, "The more perfectly we know God, the more perfectly we love Him." -St Thomas Aquinas, OP, ST, I-II,67,6 ad 3, “But always when I was without a book, my soul would at once become disturbed, and my thoughts wandered." —St. Teresa of Avila, "Let those who think I have said too little and those who think I have said too much, forgive me; and let those who think I have said just enough thank God with me." –St. Augustine