A Sermon on the Feast of the Transferal of the Body, 1267 - 739 

Friend, therefore, is addressed to Saint Francis because he was a faithful, congenial and intimate friend of the Lord, conformed to him by the marks of the stigmata on his body.a

First, he was a faithful friend on account of his true humility. We read in Sirach: There is nothing so precious as a faithful friend. The Lord greatly loves his faithful friends, and that is because he has few faithful ones; and though many nominal friends, few true ones. Saint Gregory advises: "In God's service we must beware of two things: deceit and negligence."b Excessive love of self leads to deceit; minimal love of our neighbor leads to negligence, and reduces the love of God to less than it ought to be. A faithful friend possesses a truly humble heart. He observes all God's commandments and attributes nothing to his own glory that is accomplished by God. Saint Bernard writes: "You are indeed a faithful servant of the Lord when nothing of the Lord's abundant glory, which does not come from you but is channeled through you, remains clinging to your hands."c

Many achieve nothing for God, because when they see that something of his glory is being channeled through them, they desire to be praised and honored themselves. And who is there these days who does not seek to steal this glory and have it attributed to himself, even from good works which he has not performed? Many are frauds and deceivers. Dear brothers, Saint Francis made himself subject to everyone and was obedient even to the tiniest commandment of God. If anyone ordered him to do anything he was ready to carry it out and be obedient to all.

Moreover, he sought no glory for himself in this world. On the contrary, he always acknowledged himself the greatest and vilest sinner. We read in the account of his life that he used to ask the Lord in prayer: "Why, O Lord, have you put me, wretched and stupid as I am, in charge of this Order?" And the Lord answered: "Have you not considered that I am above you in governing and caring for the Order? Since I am above you, you can put me in your place in governing and directing the Order." For the Lord's sake he attributed everything to the glory of God. Dear brothers, we should learn to be faithful like this ourselves.

Second, he was a congenial friend in everything he pledged himself to do, due to his utter purity of heart. We read in Proverbs: He who




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 739