The Morning Sermon on Saint Francis, 1267 - 755 

received me. Moreover, we read in the Book of Proverbs: Humiliation follows the proud: and glory shall uphold the humble of spirit. So it is that the Lord himself says: For those who honor me I will honor . . . For great is the power of God alone and he is honored by the humble.

Only those who honor God will be honored and glorified by him. Since only the humble honor God, only the humble will be glorified. Therefore, if you desire to be sustained by this threefold mercy, be a humble servant by despising yourself, taking care of your neighbor, and revering God. This is the first stage of the Christian philosophy of his life. When Dioscorus asked Saint Augustine what the Christian philosophy of his life chiefly consists of, Saint Augustine replied: "If you were to ask me what is the most important factor in rhetoric, I would answer: eloquence. If you were to ask me a second or third time or even a hundred times, I would still reply: eloquence. This is how I would answer your question. If you ask me what is the essence of the Christian philosophy of life, I answer: humility. And were you to ask me a second or a third time, or even a hundred times, I would still reply: humility."a The Gospel also teaches this and there is not a page nor a line in Holy Scripture which does not proclaim humility. If we are proud, we fall from true wisdom, as Saint Paul remarks: Claiming to be wise they become fools. True wisdom was that of the Prophets and Apostles.

From these reflections Saint Francis's deep humility will now be apparent to everyone.

II

We pass now to say something about the well tried virtue of this man. Let us recall the words: my chosen, in whom my soul delights. The word "election" signifies eminence, which raises the person higher than others. Saint Francis was chosen not merely to be taken from among sinners, but also to be raised high among the virtuous. Hence a text from Sirach about wisdom can be applied to him: In the multitude of the elect she shall have praise, and among the blessed she shall be blessed. There are three reasons why Saint Francis is to be accounted as chosen by God and of well tried virtue: his perfect observance of the Law and Gospel, his indomitable zeal for the Christian faith, and his exceedingly fervent love of the Crucified Savior.

First of all, Saint Francis was chosen because of his perfect observance of the Law and Gospel. We read in Isaiah: Behold, I have refined

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Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 755