We all know that Jolly Old Saint Francis preached to the birds. But do we ever ask what he preached to them?
It was the natural virtue of gratitude:
My little sisters the birds, ye owe much to God, your Creator, and ye ought to sing his praise at all times and in all places, because he has given you liberty to fly about into all places; and though ye neither spin nor sew, he has given you a twofold and a threefold clothing for yourselves and for your offspring. Two of all your species he sent into the Ark with Noe that you might not be lost to the world; besides which, he feeds you, though ye neither sow nor reap. He has given you fountains and rivers to quench your thirst, mountains and valleys in which to take refuge, and trees in which to build your nests; so that your Creator loves you much, having thus favoured you with such bounties.
Beware, my little sisters, of the sin of ingratitude, and study always to give praise to God.
St. Francis may have been God's Fool, but he was not so foolish as to think there can be virtue without risk of vice. That's the part the pagan cult of the mythical St. Francis the Garden Gnome never quite gets around to acknowledging.