The Morning Sermon on Saint Francis, 1255 - 508 

The Morning Sermon on Saint Francis
Preached at Paris, October 4, 1255

Scholars have traditionally considered this sermon coming not earlier than 1269.a However, there are no parallels with the Major Legend and there is no evidence in the sermon that Saint Bonaventure was acquainted with the papal document of Pope Alexander IV on the stigmata, Benigna operatio, published on October 19, 1255.b Rather than Gerard of Abbeville's attack on the mendicant way of life, this sermon is concerned especially in its first part to refute the onslaught of William of Saint Amour, made in 1255. The sermon is to be dated, therefore, October 4, 1255.c

Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart. Mt 11:29

These words from Saint Matthew's Gospel were spoken by the greatest follower of Christ, Saint Francis, and they are taken from the gospel which is read on his feast day. But whether on the lips of Christ or Saint Francis, they are a short and succinct saying,d which in concise and plain terms expresses the sum total of gospel perfection. The saying is concise, so that nobody can claim ignorance of it because of scarcity of books, and plain, so that nobody may be excused from understanding it through lack of schooling.

The saying has two parts: a preliminary statement and a word of instruction. The first is to encourage the hearers, the second to inspire them. To encourage us he says: Learn from me, and to inspire us he adds: for I ammeek and humble of heart. In other words, be meek and humble like me.




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 508