The Morning Sermon on Saint Francis, 1255 - 518 

Second, meekness is necessary for the inward and outward practice of virtue so that one may remain serene in conscience and be well pleasing in the judgment and minds of one's neighbors. Sirach urges us to acquire interior meekness: My son, keep your soul in meekness and give it honor according to its desert. To keep one's soul in meekness and give it honor according to its desert is to let it not be troubled except on account of sin. He exhorts us to outward meekness with the words: My son, perform your tasks in meekness, then you will be loved by those whom God accepts. Sir 3:19 Everybody loves a meek man because he epitomizes natural human goodness and is naturally blessed with a fondness for company.

Third, meekness is necessary to make right judgments, for without it others are not corrected, but destroyed. Saint Paul asks the Corinthians: What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness? That is to say: I will come with both, because there can be no truly equitable judgment if meekness is not coupled with the rod andvice versa. Without the rod, meekness is a defect in a prelate, as it was in Eli. Zephaniah tells us: Seek the Lord all you meek of the earth, you that have wrought his judgment. Likewise, the rod without meekness destroys, it brings no correction. The Psalmist says: For mildness is come upon us and we shall be corrected. A good prelate does not rage against a subject as if he were an enemy, but corrects him as a friend and companion. As Sirach advises: Do not be like a lion in your home, terrifying the members of your household, and oppressing those under you.

Finally, meekness is necessary to attain eternal life. The Gospel tells us: Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth, and the Psalm says: the meek shall possess the land and shall delight in abundance of peace. Because they lived on this earth in goodness and peace even when unjustly oppressed by harsh people, by God's just judgments the meek shall inherit the land, not this earthly land, but the land of the living, and the harsh will be rejected. The land of the living will be assigned and awarded to them in the future judgment, just as the kingdom of heaven will be awarded to the poor who, having set their hearts on heavenly treasures, willingly give up earthly possessions. We read in Isaiah: With righteousness he shall judge the poor, which means God will grant them the kingdom of heaven; the text continues: and decide with equity for the meek of the earth, which is to say, he will give them the land of the living.

We ought to learn meekness, which is utterly necessary, from Saint Francis. He cherished an extraordinary meekness not only toward other people, but also toward dumb animals. He called all animals by the name "brother" and we read in the account of his life




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 518