The Evening Sermon on Saint Francis, 1262 - 725 

norant of the truths we ought to know. All this was the result of original sin. There lies the reason why our highest spiritual powers are not obedient to God, why our senses do not submit to reason, and why our lower faculties are not subject to the higher. But these disorders can be set right by humble obedience. A person lives by the obedience born of humility when he submits to God's law without any resistance or hesitation, and guides his life by the truth. Anyone who conducts himself in this way can be compared to the heavens where the lower spheres are unconditionally obedient to the further and higher spheres.

Saint Francis possessed true humility and it was his desire that both he himself and his Order should be named from it. Therefore, his Order is called simply "the Order of Lesser Brothers." He was, or at all events he reckoned himself, the least of all men. The first provincial minister of the brothers in France was a brother named Pacifico.a He was a companion of Saint Francis who was sent by him to establish the Order in France. One day in a dream it seemed to him that he was taken up into paradise. He saw there a large number of thrones which were all occupied, and higher than the rest a more august throne which was unoccupied. On inquiring whose throne it might be, he was told it was reserved for Saint Francis. Sometime later he asked Saint Francis how he saw himself and what he thought of himself. He answered: "It seems to me I am the greatest sinner in the world. Yes, beyond question, that is what I think of myself." Pacifico protested: "How can you say that? Aren't there numerous thieves, fornicators, and murderers in the world?" Saint Francis replied: "Listen. There is no one in the world who, if God has bestowed on him so many and such great graces as he has on me, would not be more pleasing to God than I am. That is the reason I consider myself the worst of sinners. Saint Paul said the same of himself: I am the first of sinners." 1 Tm 1:15 He did not mean first in time, for there had been many sinners before him, but the first in the sense of foremost. And Saint Paul was a most humble and lowly man as his name reveals. In fact, he was a most humble and lowly lesser brother.

A great burden has been placed on us by the name we bear: Lesser Brothers, because it obliges us to account ourselves worse and more sinful than others. If it causes us displeasure to find a brother of our




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 725