The Morning Sermon on Saint Francis, 1267 - 763 

as it is recorded, they lifted Saint Mary Magdalene while she was at prayer.a Such graces are given only to those who have set themselves above worldly desires.

Second, the Lord endowed Saint Francis with the spirit of enlightenment. Therefore the text of Sirach may be said of him: In the midst of the church wisdom shall open his mouth and fill him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding. Saint Francis was not an educated man, nor did he have a teacher. Yet he preached without ever uttering a word deserving of rebuke. The same is true of Saint Anthony. Acts 4:13 b The Apostles themselves were uneducated men, yet they were filled with wisdom; they preached, and they taught others.

Saint Francis once had to preach in the presence of Pope Honorius. With guidance from Pope Gregory, who was then cardinal bishop of Ostia, he prepared his sermon. When the time came to deliver it, his mind went blank, so he explained: "Someone, namely Pope Gregory IX, drew up for me a very learned sermon which I was going to preach, but now I've forgotten it completely. Wait a while and I'll ask the Lord to give me something to say." And after he had prayed, he preached a splendid sermon. We can apply to him the words of the Psalm: I understand more than the aged. He was a great teacher. He spoke accurately about creation and the simplicity of eternal truths. But he did not have the required competence from himself, he was enlightened entirely from on high. He unraveled hidden mysteries and he appeared to those absent. He possessed the spirit of enlightenment. If we want to receive the light of this wisdom, we must not rest content with earthly things.

Third, the Lord endowed Saint Francis with the spirit of perfection, which makes a person firm and unshakeable and brings completion and fulfillment. Of this spirit Sirach says: Come over to me all you that desire me, and be filled with my fruits. For my spirit is sweet above honey and my inheritance above honey and the honeycomb. The Lord filled him with this spirit and gave him its savor and solid food, as Hebrews says: Solid food is for the perfect. This spirit leads a person to perform humble tasks which are of the essence of perfect virtue. As Saint Augustine remarks: "Love has the right to flourish so that flourishing it




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 763