I want to share with you this week the spiritual genius of St. Francis and how severely, seriously, and wonderfully he wanted to imitate Jesus. That is why so many commentators have called Francis “a Second Christ,” because he tried in so many ways to be exactly like Jesus. Jesus, and what Jesus loved, was his only love and his only concern.
Both Jesus and Francis, by their lifestyles and by their words, expose and undercut the superficial “honor/shame systems” that define most human cultures. They both refuse to live inside of such a falsely constructed world, where the private ego is the primary reference point for what is called morality.
Almost all of the unwritten rules of behavior in any honor/shame- based society are meant to protect and enforce social class and social order, and to properly humiliate and exclude those who do not conform. It is much more about love of self-image than love of God. Both Jesus and Francis are about inclusion and not exclusion, about protecting the indwelling divine image more than any superior self-image.
Richard Rohr, adapted from Francis: Subverting the Honor/Shame System