According to the Legend of the Three Companions, St Francis said to the brethren:
"The general behaviour of the friars among the people must be such that all who see or hear them may be drawn to glorify our heavenly Father and to praise him devoutly" (Omnibus p.942).
The writer adds the comment:
"His great desire was that he and his brothers should abound in the good works for which men give praise and glory to God" (Ibid.).
The expectation of St Francis as expressed here is patently clear. Positively, it states that the acknowledgment of God as the Supreme Good is the first end of all human activity; and any activity that would promote self-glorification at the expense of God or man is not good.
For St Francis, a friar who seeks this kind of glory for himself is a thief. Quite simply, such a one would steal from God. Francis offered minority and poverty as the means by which his friars could stand honestly before God and all creation. The lesser brother would not have, nor want the power that would give him any advantage over his brothers, but would rather use any gift he had as something entrusted to him by God for the good of all.
Obviously, the behaviour of such brothers would indicate a dedication to the good of others for the glory of God. There would be no room for inappropriate self-concern, just a patient zeal for the kingdom of God to be realised in the lives of all.
How sad and how foolish we make ourselves when we spoil this simple act of religion and turn it into blasphemy by allowing our arrogance and puffed up pride to lead us to claim as ours what can only be God's.
"Blessed that religious who takes no more pride in the good that God says and does through him, than in that which he says and does through someone else. It is wrong for anyone to be anxious to receive more from his neighbour than he himself is willing to give to God" (Admonition XVII).