Francis was born to a wealthy family, but found his life increasingly meaningless. Against their protests he renounced his wealth and his family. He took to heart Christ’s command to the rich, young ruler, “Go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor” (Matthew 19:21). He sought “to live for God alone by imitating Christ alone.”

Beebe and Foster write, “The central theme for Francis was imitation of Jesus. Our attempts to imitate Christ connect us with the expression of God in the world. We must be obedient to God in everything, which means following the life and spirit of Jesus always.”
Francis developed a great appreciation for God’s creation. He sought to live out his life in “passionate devotion,” “radical simplicity,” and “joyful humility.”