Sermon II to the Lesser Brothers - 589 

Sermon II to the Lesser Brothers (1229/40)

1 Our theme today is taken from the prophet Jeremiah: Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, saying: “You shall drink no wine, neither you nor your children, forever. Neither shall you build houses, nor sow seed, nor plant vineyards, nor have any, but you shall dwell in tents all your days.”

2 This promise, in the spiritual sense, is directed to those who obey the commandments of God and of their spiritual fathers. For our spiritual father was Saint Francis, who could truly be called Jonadab the son of Rechab. For Jonadab means “the spontaneity of God,” and Rechab “chariot” or “ascent.” And so Francis spontaneously undertook things far over and above those he was bound to do by the precepts of the law of God. He, with the chariot of the four Gospels and the four cardinal virtues, ascended ceaselessly from perfection to perfection, so closely following the Crucified that at his death there appeared in his feet, hands, and side the traces of the wounds of Christ. For this reason his sons have been so multiplied throughout the world that in them has been fulfilled spiritually what the Lord said through Jeremiah: There shall not be wanting a man of the race of Jonadab the son of Rechab, standing before me forever. . . . Jer 35:19

3 . . . The Rechabites observed these precepts according to their literal sense, just as you do, who are the descendants of the heat of your father Rechab, that is to say, of blessed Francis. For you literally do not build houses, even if others build them for your use, and you live in them as guests; you do not possess them, but the Church does, in whose name they were constructed. Likewise, you do not sow or plant vines. . . .

4 . . . Therefore, brothers, have at the same time caution and compassion. For you are standing in a more sublime state, following the example of the Apostles, not having a staff, nor a traveling bag, nor a purse, nor money in your belts, nor bread in your baskets, nor two tunics, nor shoes on your feet. Therefore, so much more scandalous and shameful would be any fall from it—which the Lord forbid. Following the example of your father Rechab, namely blessed Francis, as true Rechabites, forgetting what lies behind, always stretch out to what lies ahead, Phil 3:13 so that fighting bravely you might attain the crown of eternal happiness.

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Sermo secudus ad fratres minores, Analecta Ordinis Minorum Capuccinorum, p. 149-158


Sermo secudus ad fratres minores14

Textus ex Jeremia 35, 6–7: «Jonadab, filius Rechab, pater noster, praecepit nobis, dicens: Non bibetis vinum vos, et filii vestri, usque in sempiternum. Et domos non aedificabitis, et sementem non seretis, et vineas non plantabitis, nec habebitis; sed habitabitis in tabernaculis.»Jr35:6-7

Quae tamen promissio spiritualiter intelligitur de his qui praeceptis Dei et patrum spiritualium obediunt, Pater enim noster spiritualis fuit sanctus Franciscus, qui vero nomine dici potest Jonadab, filius Rechab. Jonadab enim «spontaneus Domini» interpretatur; Rechab «quadriga» vel «ascensio». Et Franciscus sponte multa supererogavit, quibus secundum praecepta legis Dei non erat astrictus, et quadriga quatuor evangeliorum et quatuor virtutum cardinalium semper de virtute in virtutem ascendit, et ita expresse sequutus est Crucifixum, quod in morte ejus in pedibus, manibus, et latere vestigia vulnerum Christi apparuerunt. Unde et filii ejus ita multiplicati sum in universo mundo, quod in eis impletum est spiritualiter id, quod per Jeremiam Dominus ait: Non deficiet vin de stirpe Jonadab, filii Rechab, stans in conspectu meo cunctis diebus.

Rechabitae tamen ad litteram penitus observabant, sicut vos, qui descendistis de calore patris vostri Rechab, id est beati Francicisci. Ad litteram domos non aedificatis, licet alii ad usus vestros aedificent, in quibus tanquam accommodatiis habitatis, nec possidetis eas, sed Ecclesia, in cujus nomine aedificantur. Similiter sementem non seritis, nec vineas plantatis, .

Vos igitur, fratres, cautelam simul et compassionem habeatis. Quanto enim in gradu sublimiori stantes, exemplo Apostolorum non ferentes virgam, neque sacculum, neque peram, neque aes in zonis, neque panem in sportulis, nec duas tunicas, nec calciamenta in pedibus habetis, tanto mirabilior et miserabilior esset lapsus in vobis : quod Deus avertat a vobis. Exemplo igitur patris vestri Rechab, id est beati Francisci, tamquam veri Rechabitae, posterioris obliti, vos semper in anteriora extendatis, ut pugnando legitime aeternae beatitudinis apprehendatis coronam . . .

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 589