The Evening Sermon on Saint Francis, 1262 - 728 

splendor of God's light. Saint Francis reached such heights of contemplation that he foretold the future, saw the secrets of people's hearts, and appeared to those who were absent, just like Saint Anthony the Hermit of whom Saint Augustine speaks in the prologue to his work On Christian Doctrine. a The cross of Christ is the sign of wisdom and of the revelation of God's mysteries. This is clear from the Book of Revelation where we are told that the Lamb who was slain opened the scroll sealed with seven seals, which means he unveiled by his cross all the mysteries of Holy Scripture. The cross of Christ is the key of David; Christ is the Holy One who opens and no one shall shut, who shuts and no one opens. Because Saint Francis soared to such heights of contemplation and wisdom, we should expect yet again to find on him the sign of Christ's cross.

The Gospel tells us: Be simple as doves. Mt 10:16 We should love simplicity and innocence of heart if we desire God to enlighten us with the brilliant light of wisdom. When the moon is directly opposite the sun, it is all lit up and appears radiant; when it is in eclipse with the sun neither its light nor radiance can be seen. But in fact the nearer it is to the sun and the closer it draws to it, the more light it receives. For in truth it has more light then than it receives when directly opposite the sun. Similarly, with us: the more a person parades his wisdom and wants to appear wise, so much the less is he enlightened. But when a person flees human company, enters into himself and reflects on his union with God, then is he so much the more enlightened. Though someone may appear enlightened, to be truly so it is utterly necessary to draw close to God in the greatest humility and simplicity of heart. I will give you an example. Students at the University of Paris went to Praepositivus the Chancellor and asked him: "What do you believe? Tell us what we ought to believe." So Praepositivus called in a simple man who was passing in the street and the question was put to him. With simplicity he replied: "I believe in God the Father Almighty and in his Son and in their Spirit and likewise that there is one God." "Excellent," answered Praepositivus, "that is how I want to believe, in simplicity and humility."b




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 728