Saint Francis, on Humility


One day Brother Masseo desired to put the modesty of Francis to the test:

“Everybody follows you, everyone desires to see you, hear you, and obey you, and yet for all that you are neither beautiful, nor learned, nor of noble family. Where does it come from, then, that it should be you whom the world desires to follow?”

On hearing these words the blessed Francis raised his eyes to heaven, and after remaining a long time absorbed in contemplation he knelt, praising and blessing God with great fervor. Then turning toward Masseo, he said, “You wish to know why it is me whom people follow? You wish to know? It is because the eyes of the Most High have willed it. He continually watches the good and the wicked, and as his most holy eyes have not found among sinners any smaller person, not any more insufficient and more sinful, therefore he has chosen me to accomplish the marvelous work that God has undertaken. He chose me because he could find no one more worthless, and he wished here to confound the nobility and grandeur, the strength, beauty, and the learning of this world.”


[excerpt above from Ch. 12 (His Inner Life and Wonder Working) The Essential Biography of St. Francis by Paul Sabatier, edited by Jon M. Sweeney]



And here is another writing on the same event, taken from The Little Flowers of St. Francis, by Brother Ugolino, arranged by Jon M. Sweeney:





Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy, Caravaggio, 1595


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