The people who knew him thought Francis of Assisi was crazy, and he gave them plenty of reasons to think so.
What would people today think if a rich kid who loved to party, suddenly changed his fashionable clothes for beggar's rags, happily renounced his inheritance, and began to kiss lepers? That’s exactly what happened to Francis, and his passion was to preach God's love to the poor. Miracles were common in his ministry, but he didn't seek them. They were merely a side effect.
Once, he met a man whose face was practically eaten away by cancer. When the man tried to bow at Francis' feet, the saint stopped him. Taking the man's hideously deformed face in his hands, he kissed him on both cheeks. Tradition says the man was instantly healed. A later follower of St. Francis admitted not knowing which was more miraculous--the healing or the kiss.
Regardless of what really happened, the message was simply this: I care about you so much that your physical appearance does not matter to me.
Looking around me here on Skid Row, I wonder if we are doing all we can to touch the lives of the lost and hurting. Here at the Mission, we proclaim God’s love in words, and then we show His words with our deeds. Will you help us touch the hurting, and feed the hungry?