An Excerpt from The Prayer of Saint Francis: A Message of Peace for the World Today by Leonardo Boff

Leonardo Boff, a Catholic theologian in Brazil, meditates upon the prayer of Saint Francis and finds within its verses a cornucopia of spiritual insights and practices. Here is an excerpt on love.

"The economy of spiritual goods is different from the economy of material goods. The more you give away material goods — money, land, houses, clothing, and food — the less you have. You become poorer and poorer until you end up in want. When very rich people spend lavishly and wastefully, they come to a miserable end.

"The economy of spiritual goods is quite the reverse. The more we give, the more we receive; the more we surrender, the more we have. The more we love, show solidarity, spread good will, and practice forgiveness, the more we gain as human persons and the greater the esteem we receive. Spiritual goods are like love: they multiply by dividing; like fire, they increase by spreading."