A Sermon on Saint Francis, 1266 - 733 

vant when nothing of the Lord's abundant glory remains clinging to your hands. That glory comes not from you, it is channeled through you."a

More faithful still is the servant who does not seek bodily rest. In Saint Matthew's Gospel the Lord asks: Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household to give them their food at the proper time? Mt 24:46 He continues:Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will find so doing. The Lord comes to us at our death and prior to that we must not rest from our labors. Of the Prophet Samuel Scripture says: And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was a faithful prophet of the Lord, and again, money, or anything, even to a shoe, he had not taken of any man and no man did accuse him.

Saint Francis observed all this literally for he fulfilled the gospel law perfectly. He had neither money in his belt nor sandals on his feet. In this way he imitated the Lord Jesus, for as Saint Jerome remarks: "The Lord could not himself possess what he had forbidden to his servants."b Because of his fidelity Saint Francis was found worthy to be raised to regal honors as the Gospel says: Well done, good and faithful servant; enter into the joy of your master. Mt 25:21 The covetous will not be taken into this joy, as Saint Paul tells us: No immoral or impure man or one who is covetous, that is, an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Eph 5:5 Therefore, anyone who proclaims that we should love earthly goods is a blasphemer. Saint Jerome wrote to Bishop Nepotian: "You are the priest of a crucified Lord, one who lived in poverty and on the bread of strangers, and it is a shameful thing for a consul's attendants and bodyguards to keep watch before your door."c And we should note well that a servant is not greater than his master.

Lastly, Saint Francis was pleasing to God because he was devoted in carrying out God's commands in a way similar to Job: Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? Jb 1:8 Of the service of God Scripture says: Serve him only and he will deliver you. Jesus himself tells us: No one can serve two masters, Mt 6:24 that is, no one can serve the devil and God, except by some such agreement as Nahash the Ammonite wanted to make with the sons of Israel when he proposed: On this




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 733