I’ve seen quite a few discussions on this topic.
Someone quotes this saying attributed to Saint Francis, and someone quickly shoots them down.
Here are the Saint’s own words:
The Earlier Rule:
Chapter XVII Preachers
- All the brothers, however, should preach by their deeds…
- Therefore, in the love with is God, I beg all my brothers - those who preach, pray, work, whether cleric or lay - to strive to humble themselves in all things.*
The Later Rule
Chapter IX Preachers
3.** I also admonish and exhort these brothers that, in their preaching, their words be well chosen and chaste… in a discourse that is brief, because it was in few words that the Lord preached while on earth.***
**The Admonitions of Saint Francis:
XXI: The Frivolous and Talkative Religious
- Blessed is the servant who, when he speaks , does not reveal everything about himself in the hope of receiving a reward, and who is not quick to speak, but wisely weighs what he should say and how he should reply. 2. Woe to that religious who does not keep in his heart the good things the Lord reveals to him and who does not manifest to others by his actions, but rather seeks to make such good things known by his words. 3. He thereby receives his reward while those who listen to him carry away but little fruit.*
What do you think - is it fair to claim that St. Francis said “Preach the Gospel - use words ONLY if necessary” but not in so few word ;)?
*Quotes from Regis Armstrong OFM Cap, Ignatius Brady OFM, Francis and Clare: the Complete Works, Paulist Press, 1982