A Sermon on Saint Francis, 1266 - 734 

condition I will make a treaty with you, that I gouge out all your right eyes, and thus put disgrace upon all Israel. The right eye is the one fixed on eternal things, the left on earthly things. The devil wants his servants to lose their longing for eternal things even when they do something good.

In everything he did Saint Francis had his right eye fixed on eternal things, for he was blameless and upright. And because he possessed a blameless eye, the whole body of his actions was full of light. Mt 6:22 He was found worthy to be raised to the heavenly dwelling place on account of his devoted service of God. We read in Isaiah: Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him. Whoever refuses to carry out God's commands is not fit to enter this heavenly dwelling place, as it is written in Saint Matthew's Gospel: Cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. Mt 25:30

Saint Francis, then was a servant pleasing to God because he was humble, steadfast, faithful, and devoted. That is to say, he resisted vainglory, the lusts of the flesh, worldly desires, and the powers of evil.


We come now to the second part of the text: and make you like a seal. Saint Francis is commended here for the seal of his outstanding holiness. The marks of the passion imprinted on his body bear eloquent witness to this.

First of all it should be noted that he was like a seal that has been refashioned, made new, through lament and sorrow for the sins of his past life. The Book of Job says: The seal shall be restored as clay and shall stand as a garment. A fallen angel who once bore the seal of God cannot be restored to his original state, because there can be no repentance for an angel. But for human beings it is quite different. The first half of Job's text says: The seal shall be restored as clay. That takes place by the waters of sorrow and the earth of humility. The text continues: and shall stand as a garment. A garment does not stand of itself but only when it clothes a body. Saint Francis was like a seal restored like clay through sorrow for his sins, and he stood like a garment of the Holy Spirit.

Second, he was like a seal transformed by the fire of love. The Song of Solomon says: Set me as a seal upon your heart. Sg 8:6 Speaking of God's love Hugh of Saint Victor writes: "I feel, O my soul, such is the power of love, that you are being transformed into the likeness of him you love."a




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 734