The Morning Sermon on Saint Francis, 1255 - 522 

not we ourselves. This rids us of pride which trumpets: Our hand is triumphant, the Lord has not wrought all this.

We must also keep before our minds that God will deal with us most justly according to our deeds. God is so strictly just that he remits no punishment. On the contrary, for only one evil act of the will he cast the most noble angelic spirits out of heaven forever. Thus Sirach advises us: Humble yourselves greatly, for the punishment of the ungodly is fire and worms.

The second pathway to humility is remembrance of Christ. We should call to mind that Christ was humbled even to the most horrible form of death as the price of our salvation and the pattern of our life. He was the price of our salvation as we read in Isaiah: We esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. Jn 13:15 If Christ humbled himself for our salvation, surely we ought to humble ourselves for his glory. Moreover, he humbled himself as the pattern for our life, as Saint John records: For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Therefore, because he is our Teacher and Lord, and a disciple is not above his teacher nor a servant above his Lord, and we are the servants of Christ, then we ought to be humble and self-effacing. Saint Paul exhorts us to this in Philippians: Have this mind among yourselves which was in Christ Jesus, and he continues: he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. How lukewarm is the believer who, seeing his Lord humbled and despised, lifts up his heart and occupies himself with things great and marvelous above him.

The third pathway to humility is just assessment of oneself. A person makes a just estimate of himself when he not only examines his present condition, but also has before his mind the two poles of his life, namely, where he is going and whence he came. Then he reflects on himself in the midst of his afflictions. As we read in the Prophet Micah: Your humiliation shall be in the midst of you.

Bear in mind where you came from. You were rescued from the heap of the damned, created out of the dust and slime of the earth, you were born in utter sin, you became sinful and now you are in exile from the glory of paradise. Thoughts such as these drive off and keep away the spirit of pride to the extent that one begins to cry out with the three young men in the Book of Daniel: We are brought low today in all the world because of our sins.

Consider attentively also the end of your life, that is, where you are going. You are moving toward disintegration and decay. As Genesis tells us: You are dust, and to dust you shall return; Gn 3:19 and as Sirach asks: How can he who is dust and ashes be proud? Sir 10:9 Today you are alive, tomorrow you may be dead; healthy and strong today, sick and weak to-




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 522