The Morning Sermon on Saint Francis, 1255 - 524 

but his vices, as beggars are accustomed to show their afflictions in public. As Sirach advises: Humble yourself before you are sick and when you have sinned make known your regret. We do that by honest and accurate confessions of sins.

Third, he must train himself to hard work and discipline, for these protect humility. Scripture tells us that Esther humbled her body, and every part that she loved to adorn she covered with her tangled hair. That is how one ought constantly to maintain atoning humility in oneself, as the truly penitent Psalmist says: I humbled myself with fasting. Consequently, anyone who desires to keep humility intact must persevere in chastising his flesh continually by fasts and vigils, prayers and penance.

Fourth, he must learn to despise being honored. One achieves this by striving to be considered worthless, which people generally despise. This is what King David did: I will make merry before the Lord. I will make myself yet more contemptible than this and I will be abased in your eyes. The same is true of Saint Francis who had himself dragged naked like a silly drunkard through a city, and who also took care of lepers.

And so because he left us an outstanding example of humility, with every right he says to us: Learn from me to be not only meek but also humble of heart, for I am most meek and humble. Therefore, these words from Sirach apply to him: There is a man who is slow and needs help, because of his severe penance; who lacks strength and abounds in poverty, because of the extreme poverty and indigence he embraced; but the eyes of the Lord have looked upon him for his good, by bestowing upon him the gifts of grace; and lifted him out of his low estate and raised up his head, by delivering him from the miseries of this life and leading him to the heights of glory.

May the only begotten Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, through the prayers of Saint Francis lead us to those same heights. Amen.




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 524