The Morning Sermon on Saint Francis, 1255 - 513 

Fourth, he taught what he had learned without doubting because of the trustworthy signs he was given. He knew by those signs with absolute certitude that the teaching he had learned was saving truth. Therefore, he held to it firmly as Saint Paul advised Timothy: But as for you continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it. Saint Paul exhorted Timothy to remain steadfast in what he had learned because he knew and was certain through signs and miracles that the teaching he had learned was for salvation.

In the same way Saint Francis was established in what he had learned and so like the Apostles he went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with him and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it. Mk 16:20

Moreover, it pleased the Lord to endorse and confirm the teaching and Rule of Saint Francis, not only by miraculous signs, but also by the marks of his own stigmata, so that no true believer could possibly call them into question on external or internal evidence.a It pleased God in his goodness to affix his own seal to the Rule and teaching of Saint Francis, for Saint Francis would never have dared to teach or write down other than what he received from the Lord. As he himself testifies, God revealed to him the entire Rule. As it is the Pope's practice to endorse documents with his seal, so Christ, having recognized the teaching of Saint Francis as his own, affixed the seal of his stigmata to his body, and thereby irrevocably confirmed his teaching.

His teaching could not have had its lasting character, in the eyes of others, from Saint Francis himself, for he was an uneducated merchant and no learned doctor. Therefore, it was the Lord's good pleasure to confirm it by manifest signs in the form of an awe-inspiring seal from on high, so that none of the learned could dare despise his teaching and Rule as only the efforts of an uneducated man. This shows us clearly how we ought to marvel at the depth of God's judgments, which Christ indicates at the beginning of today's Gospel when he says: I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little ones. Mt 11:25

Consequently, anyone who doubts that the doctrine and Rule of Saint Francis are a most perfect way to reach eternal life, when these have been confirmed by such great signs, must be exceedingly hard of heart. And particularly so, when it is abundantly evident from the




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 513