The Morning Sermon on Saint Francis, 1267 - 761 

and readiness of his soul appeased God for Israel when he pierced with his spear both the fornicator and his mistress. No sacrifice is more pleasing to God than zeal for souls. This zeal brought Christ down to earth and led him to endure many sufferings; it caused Enoch and Elijah to be taken up into heaven. The Lord will save the just and condemn the wicked.

As a result of this same zeal Saint Francis became rapt in ecstasy and was raised to the heights. Brother Pacifico had a vision in which he saw Saint Francis marked with the sign of the cross formed by two radiant swords, the one stretching from his head to his feet, the other from hand to hand across his chest. Likewise, because of his zeal, he was found worthy to be rapt in ecstacy in the church of San Rufino, where later he was to preach. His brothers were in a little shelter, about a mile away, that is, according to the measurements in this country, about half a league away.a Saint Francis appeared to them in a fiery chariot, and their minds were so filled with light that each could see into the consciences of the others. Saint Francis was taken up with Elijah and made pleasing to God. God's delight was in him because of his passion for righteousness. Few people nowadays worry about the wickedness the devil causes. Saint Francis, however, wept daily over his own sins and those of others.

Third, he was pleasing to God because of the refinement of his devotion. As the Psalm says: I will praise the name of the Lord, and continues: this will please the Lord more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs and as another Psalm tells us: He who brings thanksgiving as his sacrifice honors me.

Saint Francis was so carried away with the praise of God that he went into ecstasy while reciting the Divine Office, as his companion related. As he felt the ecstasy coming over him, he said to the brother: "Leave me." The brother suggested: "Wouldn't it be better to recite the Office first?" Saint Francis replied: "I cannot experience this kind of visitation at any time just as I decide, for that is not in my power; but I can begin the Divine Office whenever I like. I prefer to say the office later rather than forfeit this visitation." One day a Cistercian abbot met Saint Francis and asked him to pray for him. When Saint Francis did so, the abbot experienced a consolation he had never known before.

We see, then, Saint Francis is commended in this text for his deep humility and well tried virtue.




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 761