He lived at a time of great controversy and falling away in the Church. Rather than leave, as so many were doing, God asked Francis to stay within the Church and reform it from within. When Jesus spoke to him from the cross at San Damiano (pictured here) He said, "Francis, rebuild my church, for you see, it is falling into ruins." Francis at once began collecting rocks to literally rebuild the church building at San Damiano, but he soon realized Christ was calling him to a radical lifestyle of poverty.
St. Francis speaks especially to us today who are going through world wide economic difficulties and asks us to re-prioritize our lives to be more in line with Christ's.
St. Francis, pray for us!