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 The Morning Sermon on Saint Francis, 1267 - 749 

Who, then is such a perfect saint? Listen well. It is the person endowed with deep humility, well tried virtue, and consummate love. The root of holiness begins in humility, develops through well tried virtue, and is crowned in consummate love. Humility moves God to sustain us, well-tried virtue makes us pleasing to Him, but consummate love brings us to be totally rapt in God and to share what we have with others.

I

First of all, Saint Francis is commended here by the mouth of God for his deep humility: Behold my servant whom I uphold. What the Lord says in Haggai may be applied to him: In that day I will take you, O Zerubbabel my servant, and make you like a seal, for I have chosen you. This text says: I will make you like a seal and that by the signs and marks of the passion impressed on you by the Word of the Almighty. And why does he say this? Because Saint Francis was a servant of God, humble in his reverence for Him, more humble still in caring for his neighbor, and most humble of all in despising himself. I admire the humility of Saint Francis more than all his other virtues.

He was a humble servant of God in the reverence he had toward Him. For this reason what the Lord says in the Book of Job may be applied to Saint Francis: Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? Jb 1:8

God calls Job his servant on account of his humility. He was committed to God's service and reckoned a servant of outstanding reverence for God because he was blameless in his motives, upright in what he chose, God-fearing in his feelings, and turned away from evil in his actions. In all that he did and suffered he praised God. Moreover, we read of Job that there were born to him seven sons and three daughters. The name Job is interpreted "sorrowing," and this truly describes Saint Francis, because his life was filled with sorrow. He was always in tears weeping over his own sins or the sins of others. Looking back to the very early days of the Order, we find that Saint Francis had seven friars and he was the eighth. At the Lord's bidding he sent them out two by two in the four directions of the compass, and in accordance with his desire the Lord brought them back together again. Saint Francis also had three "daughters." At the outset of his religious life he repaired three churches: one dedicated to Saints Cosmas and Damian, another dedicated to Saint Peter the Apostle and another to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was in the last mentioned church that the Lord revealed to him the form of life he was to lead. Besides

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Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 749

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