Francis had great devotion for the poor and made it clear to the brothers how the poor should be treated - with dignity and compassion. Francis says a poor man bears the mark of Christ's nobility, explaining that Jesus 'made Himself poor for us'. By choosing to be poor Christ taught us to look beyond the misery and ugliness of poverty and see Him and His love.
I didn't blame the man for his stench since I knew that he was probably more concerned about food, staying safe and dealing with the mental delusions he suffered than about staying clean. However, battling my nausea was difficult making it hard to focus on him and his needs.
I won't claim that I loved as Jesus loved or that I even did some great lasting good. I know that, to serve this man, I had to 'die to self' (not ever fun!). However, this experience definitely made me feel closer to Jesus who had placed everyone else before Himself during His earthly life. The greatest gift God gave me was the realization that Jesus truly was in this man and that, even though I am spiritually blind, I could see Jesus in Him. This man, my brother, left me feeling good about himself and I could tell that, at least in some small measure, he had felt Jesus' gentle touch.