The Morning Sermon on Saint Francis, 1267 - 760 

tues. The leader of an army delights in none other than a valiant solider.

To speak now of Saint Francis, we should take note that he was pleasing to God because of his unquestioning obedience, his passion for righteousness, and the refinement of his devotion to God. Among the virtues these three are especially efficacious to make us pleasing to God. And if we are endowed with them God will delight in us.

First of all, we will be pleasing to God by unquestioning obedience. Thus Isaiah says: You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall be no more termed Desolate; but you shall be called My delight is in her . . . for the Lord delights in you.

Our land will never be deserted by the Lord through his abandoning it; most surely not, but only through our abandoning him. When God is far from us, then we must become as desolate land. In uttering those words: You shall be called My delight is in her,the Lord is speaking to the obedient soul, that is, to one who does nothing other than what pleases God, one utterly obedient to the divine will. Saint Francis strove with all his powers to imitate Christ and in truth he could say: "I will not forsake you; I will not forsake him who sent me, for I do what is pleasing to him. And if I am sick, then I freely will that I be sick."

The Lord showed his delight in Saint Francis by choosing to speak to him not as a stranger, but as an intimate friend, for the crucifix spoke to him, which is now preserved by the Sisters at San Damiano.

Perhaps you may ask: "What really happened there?" Then I in turn will ask you: "What took place when the angel said to the Virgin Mary: ‘Hail Mary, full of grace?' " or "What did Zechariah experience when the angel, standing on the right side of the altar of incense, spoke to him?"

If we are ready to do what pleases God He will make His will known to us. As the Apostle Paul says: Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. God, who is Creator, Sanctifier, and Glorifier, wills only what is good.

Saint Francis was once in doubt whether he should give himself to a life of prayer or to a life of preaching. For a whole week he brooded over the matter because it was not entirely clear to him what he ought to do. When at last he recognized that he should devote himself to preaching, he girded himself and went for six miles around preaching to the people. He came upon a field full of birds and the birds listened to him.

Second, Saint Francis was pleasing to God because of his passion for righteousness. We read in Scripture that Phinehas in the goodness




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 760