The Morning Sermon on Saint Francis, 1267 - 764 

may reach fulfillment."a With the Apostle Paul Saint Francis could say: My desire is to depart and be with Christ. Phil 1:23 On the spirit of perfection the Psalmist says: Restore to me the joy of your salvation and strengthen me with a perfect spirit. Ps 51:12 [Vulgate, Ps 50:12] The Lord said to the Apostles: You shall receive the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon you.

Being endowed with this threefold spirit Saint Francis brought forth justice as a model of God-like virtue, by the utter certainty of all he foretold and by the awe-inspiring nature of the miracles he performed.

First, he brought forth justice as a model of God-like virtue. When we come across someone in whom there is nothing blameworthy, who is without anger and deceit, we account such a person upright and an ambassador of God. According to Job, the Lord does not save the wicked, he gives judgment to the poor. Saint Francis proclaimed the commands of God, his promises, and his judgments. Job's text says: He gives judgment to the poor, and so the Lord told his Apostles: Truly I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man shall sit on his glorious throne, you who have left all things and followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. According to the text quoted at the beginning of the sermon, God's chosen servants will bring forth justice. To each shepherd of his Church God has said: I have made you a watchman. You, therefore, ought to live in a way that your very life is a sermon to everyone. Saint Gregory writes: "To speak virtuously and to live wickedly is to condemn oneself out of one's own mouth."b And another writer says: "Those who live in sin and preach virtue, give God instructions on how he ought to punish them."c We read in the Book of Revelation: I saw another angel ascend from the rising of the sun; he sealed out of every tribe of the sons of Israel the servants of God. Those sealed by the angel are in heaven living a life conformed to Christ.

Second, Saint Francis brought forth justice by the utter certainty of everything he foretold. There was a hunchback who lived in debauchery and greed, and some people asked Saint Francis to pay him a visit. He replied: "Because you ask I will do so willingly. But this man should know that if he goes back to his vomit, Prv 26:11 it will be all the worse for him." So Saint Francis touched him, and with a creaking of his bones, the man who had previously been bent over, now stood




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 764