Franciscan spirituality strives to follow the poor and crucified Christ. We do that by living the Gospel of Jesus Christ in brotherhood.
One famous story of Francis of Assisi tells how as a young man he was always afraid of people with leprosy. During his conversion, he went up to a leper, embraced him, and kissed him. According to Francis, "Then what was bitter became very sweet..." Francis confronted his fear, embraced it and then began a life of penance.
In this life of penance and in this embrace of the leper, Francis was enamored by two dimensions of God's relationship with us. First of all, Francis was struck by the humility of God manifested in the Incarnation. The Eternal Word of God became Flesh and made His dwelling among us. Similarly, Francis was struck by the humility of the risen and glorified Christ who makes Himself present in the bread and wine of the Eucharist. Secondly, Francis was enamored by the great charity of God who gave His only Son for the life of the world; a Son who later gave His life over completely in the incredible charity of saving us from our sins. These dimensions of humility and charity are lived out in our life together in community without anything of our own. In a life of poverty, without anything of our own, we learn again that we need one another. We can only experience humility and charity in relationship with one another as brothers. Francis always said, "And the Lord gave me brothers." Within the context of brotherhood and sisterhood, Franciscan men and women strive to follow the poor and crucified Christ by living the Gospel.
At the time of Francis of Assisi, many religious orders and movements grounded their lives in the experience of the early Christian community in Acts 2. Francis teaches Franciscan men and women to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel is best heard and lived within brotherhood and sisterhood. Join the brotherhood is an invitation to live the Gospel in community as together we follow the poor and crucified Christ.