The Morning Sermon on Saint Francis, 1267 - 747 

The Morning Sermon on Saint Francis

Preached at Paris, October 4, 1267

The reference to the "Sisters of Saint Clare," enables us to date this sermon at a point after October 18, 1263, when Pope Urban IV changed the title of the Order of Saint Damian to that of the Order of Saint Clare.a A manuscript found in Troyes dates the sermon at October 4, 1267.

Behold my servant whom I uphold,
my chosen in whom my soul delights;
I have put my spirit upon him, he will bring forth justice to the nations.


Who, do you think, is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Mt 24:45 These words from Saint Matthew's Gospel tell us how difficult it is to find a man fit to preach God's word, for such a man must be faithful and wise.

Who, do you think, is faithful? We read in Proverbs: Many men are called merciful; but who shall find a faithful man? A faithful man is one who seeks nothing but God's glory in everything that he does. He seeks nothing to his own advantage, no praise, no favor, his only concern is God's glory and the salvation of others. It is indeed difficult to find a faithful man.

Nor is it easy to find a wise man. According to Scripture, a wise man is one who gives them their food at the proper time; or as Saint Luke has it, who gives them their portion of food at the proper time. Lk 12:42 It is a great art in preaching to gauge wisely the mental range of the hearers, so as not to speak at too great a length or in words too condensed, nor too far beyond them or in words patronizingly simple. And who can achieve this? If a preacher manages it once, he fails in it often. I must confess, when I think about the standard required in a preacher of




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 747