A theologian once asked St. Francis about this passage from Ezekiel: If you proclaim not to the wicked their wickedness, I will require their soul at your hand (Ezekiel 3:18).
“Good Father,” the theologian said, “I know many who, as far as I can tell, are in the state of mortal sin, and yet I don’t point it out to them. Will then their souls be required at my hand?”
But the Blessed Francis answered that he was unlettered and should be taught by the theologian rather than attempt his own interpretation of Scripture.
In response, the humble master said, “I’ve heard this passage interpreted by the learned, but I would like to hear your understanding of it.”
So, the Blessed Francis said, “If the passage is to be applied to everyone, I would take it to mean that you should be so on fire with life and holiness that the light of your example and the manner of your speaking would be a reproach to the wicked. So, as I understand it, your life shining and your goodness spreading like a sweet odor will proclaim to the wicked their own wickedness.”