The problem? He probably never said it.
Even Catholic Scholars agree, you can’t find it in his writings or any of the biographies written about him up to 200 years after his death. In fact, Francis was particularly known for his passionate words. He sometimes preached in 5 different villages a day. And he spoke with such animation that some said his feet moved while he was speaking as though he were dancing!
Why is this important?
First, let me say clearly: showing the love of Jesus with our actions is absolutely important. The Bible could not be more pointed, “Faith without works is dead.” James 2:17
But this is also absolutely true: The Gospel is verbal. “How are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” Rom. 10:14
Our primary role as followers of Jesus Christ is to be witnesses of His Gospel. To be a witness is not just being able to share our testimony of how we came to faith in Christ, it is to share the truth of God’s redemptive storyline from creation to the cross to His return and then the age to come.
People won’t spend eternity separated from Christ because they did not receive compassionate action from Christ-followers, they will spend an eternity separated from Christ because they did not respond to the truth of God’s message. And Christians will not have their love for Christ grow cold (see Mt. 24) because they didn’t receive an act of kindness, but because they did not hear a truthful account of God’s activity at the end of this age and grew offended.
It’s time for believers to clear their throats and be a witness of the Gospel. It’s OK if you get so excited that your feet move as though you are dancing!