The Morning Sermon on Saint Francis, 1267 - 759 

The Evening Sermon on Saint Francis

Preached at Paris, October 4, 1267

Behold my servant whom I uphold . . .

Earlier today we said in praise of Saint Francis that he was perfect and holy. He is commended in the text we began with for the root, loftiness, and radiance of his perfect holiness. The root of perfect holiness lies in deep humility, its loftiness in well tried virtue, and its radiance in consummate love. For these three graces Saint Francis is worthy of the highest praise. He was sustained by God because of his deep humility, pleasing to God for his well tried virtue, and through his consummate love he opened his heart to his neighbor. I showed how his deep humility is commended in this text: Behold my servant whom I uphold. . . . This servant was humble because of his reverence for God; humbler still in caring for his neighbor; and humblest of all in despising himself. Thus he was sustained by God's forgiving mercy because he despised himself; by his protecting mercy because of his care for his neighbor; and by his liberating mercy because of the reverence he bore him. I pointed out, further, that he was chosen by God on three accounts: his perfect observance of the Law and Gospel, his indomitable zeal for the Christian faith, and his deep love of the Crucified Christ. Now it remains for me to explain how he was pleasing to God, how God put his spirit upon him and how Saint Francis brought forth justice to the nations.

Let us ask God, then, that in the remainder of this sermon he may grant me to say something worthwhile and you to draw inspiration from it, to his honor and glory. Amen.

Behold my servant whom I uphold . . .

As we said earlier, deep humility is the condition of our being sustained by God. Likewise, well tried virtue is the chief condition of our being pleasing to God. When God utters those words to a person: My chosen, in which my soul delights, how lovely they are in the hearing. It pleases God's gracious will to guide our souls. The divine will is drawn toward the Son in whom God delights uniquely, for in him is found the perfection of every virtue. Therefore, it is through well tried virtue that a person is made pleasing to God, the Lord of all vir-




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 759