A Sermon on Saint Francis, 1266 - 736 

Job: For from my infancy mercy grew up with me: and it came out with me from my mother's womb. Jb 31:18 On the other hand, Sirach warns: A hard heart shall fear evil at the last; and Saint Bernard advises: "If you want to know what a hard heart is, ask Pharaoh." a

The fourth is joy in voluntary poverty whether the poverty was chosen or inflicted initially. As Scripture tells us: I have chosen you in the furnace of poverty, and in another place: Has God not chosen the poor in this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which God has promised to those who love him; Jas 2:5 and again: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Mt 5:3

The fifth is the humility of a devoted heart. As Saint Paul writes to the Corinthians: For consider your call, brethren; not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth, but God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong. This in fact, on the one hand, was a sign of divine election in David who said to Michaël: It was before the Lord, who chose me above your father . . . and I will make merry before the Lord. I will make myself yet more contemptible than this, and I will be abased in your eyes. On the other hand, Jesus told the Pharisees: What is exalted among humans is an abomination in the sight of God.

The sixth is the humanity of inherent gentleness. As Sirach says: He sanctified him in his faith and meekness and chose him out of all flesh. On the other hand, Proverbs warns: There are six things which the Lord hates and the seventh his soul detests: a man who sows discord among brothers.

The seventh is the help of heavenly grace. As the Book of Wisdom says: God's grace and mercy are with his elect. Here God's grace and mercy signify his providence over us. Saint John records the words of Jesus: You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide.

Therefore, because these seven signs were plainly found in Saint Francis, they show that he was chosen by God.

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Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 736

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