A Sermon on Saint Francis, 1266 - 731 

Sermon on Saint Francis

Preached at Paris , October 4, 1266

Three opinions exist regarding the date of this sermon. John F. Quinn maintains that it was delivered as early as October 4, 1254.a Sophronius Clasen, on the other hand, maintains that it was delivered after the composition of the Major Legend.b While sympathetic to an early date, Ignatius C. Brady concurs with Clasen and offers as his proof the text of Revelation 7:2, the angel bearing the seal of the living God. In light of a sermon Bonaventure delivered to the General Chapter of the Friars in 1266,c Brady proposes October 4, 1266 as the day on which Bonaventure delivered this sermon.d

I will take you, O Zerubbabel my servant, the son of Shealthiel, and make
you like a seal, for I have chosen you

This text from the Book of Haggai can be applied to Saint Francis. For as Zerubbabel, whose name means "leader of the exodus," led the people out of Babylon and rebuilt the Temple, so Saint Francis brought many people from the disorder of sin to Christ, and he founded a religious order. The saint is commended in this text on three accounts: for his worthy service which was pleasing to God: I will take you . . . for the seal of his outstanding holiness: and make you like a seal; and for the privilege of having been chosen by God: for I have chosen you.


As regards the first, we should take note that his service was pleasing to God because he was humble, for he spurned worldly honors. As the Apostle Paul says: For though I am free from all, I have made 1 Cor 9:19




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 731