In the Earlier Rule 14 writing about mission, St. Francis says that Franciscans should go through the world subject to all people. It is one of the many ways in which Francis indicated that humility was to be a key virtue of the brothers. St. Bonaventure wrote hold that humility is “the root and guardian of all the other virtues.” (Tree of Life, 5). Each in his own way was understanding the implications of God’s creative love.
In the Franciscan view of things, love is the reason for the Creation and the Incarnation, and if so, then God’s love is a humble love, one that always sees inside-out, attention focused on the other for the sake of the other. Bonaventure says it best: “‘The Word was made flesh.’ These words give expression to that heavenly mystery … that the eternal God has humbly bent down and lifted the dust of our nature into unity with his own person” (Sermon II, On the Nativity of the Lord).
That God would do that for us should be humbling and the source of a way in which to go through the world.
Admonition Nineteen: A Humble Servant of God
1 Blessed is the servant who does not consider himself any better when he is praised and exalted by people than when he is considered worthless, simple and looked down upon, 2 for what a person is before God, that he is and no more.
3 Woe to that religious who has been placed in high position by others and [who] does not want to come down by his own will.
4 Blessed is that servant who is not placed in a high position by his own will and always desired to be under the feet of others.