A Sermon on the Feast of the Transferal of the Body, 1267 - 742 

you, we cannot be chaste. Moreover, we ought to practice these purifying penances at all times, unlike so many who choose to do penance only during one period of the year, for example, in Lent. Afterwards, they fall away again. Dear brothers, that is simply not enough. We ought rather to be stamped with these purifying penances as with a seal.

Third, Saint Francis was an intimate friend of the Lord because of the serenity of his contemplative soul. The friend of the bridegroom, Jn 3:29 that is, of Christ, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly when he hears the bridegroom's voice. We read in the Book of Exodus that Moses, whose name means "drawn out of the water," spoke with the Lord as with a friend: the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. Moses was rescued from the river, and he had to flee from Pharaoh, that is to say, he was poor. The Lord gave him nothing other than a staff; no riches, just a staff with which to make his way in the desert. Later he came to be on such intimate terms with the Lord that he spoke with him as a friend. Moses was a shepherd and tended flocks. Ex 3:1 What we read of Moses can be said of Saint Francis: the Lord spoke with him as a friend. As Moses was rescued from the river, so Saint Francis was saved from the dangerous currents of a worldly life. God gave him the staff of the cross to lead the people out of the Egypt of vice into the desert of the Order of Lesser Brothers. He carried in his hand nothing other than the staff of Christ's cross at the beginning of his conversion, during his life, and at its end. The Lord does not make his call through riches and learning, but through the cross. Exodus tells us that God called Moses to lead his people through the desert into the Promised Land. Likewise, the Lord calls his chosen ones to the cross to lead others into the desert of repentance and at the end of this life into the Promised Land, that is, to the glory of the heavenly kingdom.

Moses received heavenly grace because the Lord invited him to a unique companionship with himself. We read in Exodus that he spoke with God and God spoke with Moses and gave him the Law. The same, I tell you, happened to Saint Francis. He was called by the Lord to a unique grace of friendship. Through his prayers he found the Rule of the Lesser Brothers, and when he lost it he returned to the mountain where he had found it and prayed again. And there once more by divine revelation and through the power of his prayers he found the lost rule. Then it was confirmed for him.

After this the stigmata of Christ crucified were imprinted on his body. The Lord revealed himself to Saint Francis in the likeness of a Seraph. God appeared to him in the form of a Seraph. He appeared to him as the Crucified Lord so that he could speak with him as with a




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 742