People are fond of St. Francis for a number of reasons. For some it is Francis' "humble faith" in his God, for others it is his love of nature and animals. For still others it was the great Saint's commitment to love and peace. All of this is true to the man, and all of it meaningful.
But I want to focus on something else about Saint Francis: his vision of unity. Francis believed in a world where all things were united. All things, for him, were part of the same eternal reality to which they were forever linked. This "unity" is what inspired Francis' empathy and compassion for the sufferings others: for the lepers whom he strove to nurture, the poor whom he tried to comfort and even the wealthy and powerful from whose ranks he departed with joy.
One simply cannot live and love as deeply as Francis of Assisi unless one grasps the underlying unity of all creation. Too often we see divisions, separations, conflicts. Saint Francis saw past all of this, past the absurd and often tragic ways we break ourselves apart from each other. He was a man who saw all things as one, and who saw in everything the stamp of its Divine Creator.
Let us remember Saint Francis of Assisi; let us try to see something of the unity that he devoted himself to.