A Sermon on Saint Francis, 1266 - 735 

Third, he was like a seal that has been imprinted, through being an example of perfect virtue. For this there is a text in Romans: He received circumcision as a sign or seal of the righteousness he had by faith. Saint Paul is referring of course to spiritual not bodily circumcision.

Lastly, he was like a declaratory seal by his ardent desire for the salvation of others. We read in the Book of Revelation: Then I saw another angel ascend from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God. Rv 7:2 This seal is the ardent desire for the salvation of all people. Then there is this text in Ezechiel: And the Lord said to him: "Go through the city, through Jerusalem, and mark Tau upon the foreheads of the those who sigh and mourn over all the abominations that are committed in it." So it is that God smote those in the land of Egypt who did not bear this sign.

In summary, Saint Francis was like a seal refashioned, transformed, imprinted, and declaratory.

III

In the third part of the text: for I have chosen you, Saint Francis is commended for the privilege of having been chosen by God. It should be emphasized at the outset that no other cause of divine election can be assigned except the will of him who has said: I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. However, signs of divine election can be discerned and they are chiefly seven.

The first is reverence for God's name. Scripture tells us: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and was created with the faithful in the womb, it walks with chosen women, that is, with souls, and is known with the just and faithful. A few verses earlier we read: With him that fears the Lord, it shall go well at the end, and on the day of his death he will be blessed. And in the same chapter: For he who is without fear, cannot be justified: for the wrath of his high spirits is his ruin. The whole of Sacred Scripture is directed toward arousing in us reverence for the Lord, as Ecclesiastes teaches: Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of a human being.

The second is love of bodily purity. Saint Paul tells us that God . . . chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him, and Saint Peter says: You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people.

The third is the graciousness of natural compassion. As the Apostle writes: Put on then as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion. Col 3:12 In another text he shows Timothy that this is a sign of divine election: Godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 1 Tm 4:8 We read, on the one hand, in the Book of

 Previous

Next 

 

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 735

Hardcopies Available for Purchase