The Remembrance of the Desire of a Soul - 352 

THE MINISTERS OF GOD'S WORD

Chapter CXXII
WHAT A PREACHER SHOULD BE LIKE

163 He wanted ministers of the word of God to be intent on spiritual study and not hindered by other duties. He said that these men were heralds chosen by a great king to deliver to the people the decrees received from his mouth. For he used to say: "The preacher must first secretly draw in by prayer what he later pours out in sacred preaching; he must first of all grow warm on the inside, or he will speak frozen words on the outside." He said that this office was worthy of reverence and that those who exercised it should be revered by all. As he said, "They are the life of the body, the opponents of demons, the lamp of the world." Mt 5:14

He considered doctors of sacred theology to be worthy of even greater honor. Indeed he once had it written as a general rule that "we should honor and revere all theologians and those who minister to us the words of God, as those who minister to us spirit and life." And once, when writing to blessed Anthony, he had this written at the beginning of the letter: "To brother Anthony, my bishop."

Chapter CXXIII
AGAINST THOSE LONGING FOR EMPTY PRAISES,
AND AN EXPLANATION OF A PROPHETIC SAYING

164 He felt deeply sorry for those preachers who often sell what they do for the price of some empty praise. He would sometimes treat the swelling of such people with this antidote: "Why do you boast about people being converted? My simple brothers converted them by their prayers!" And then he would explain the saying while the barren one has given birth to many children in this sense: "the barren one is my poor little brother who does not have the duty of producing children in the Church. At the Judgement he will give birth to many children, for then the Judge will credit to his glory those he is converting now by his secret prayers. But the mother of many will languish, because the preacher who rejoices over many as if they were born through his power will then discover that he has nothing of his own in them."

He had little love for those who would rather be praised as orators than as preachers or for those who speak with elegance rather than feeling. He said that they divided things badly, putting everything in

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Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 352