A Book of the Praises of Saint Francis (1277-1283) - 53 

Chapter VII
THE THREE ORDERS

1Francis's teaching produced fruit especially in the three Orders that he established.a

2The first is the Order of Lesser Brothers whose purpose is to serve the Lord according to the Gospel in poverty and humility, and to preach penitence. Innumerable signs in the professed testify that this is acceptable to God, Who is capable of recounting with how many miraculous signs in and through them the Lord embellished this state!

5I will come, however, to the visions, to the expressed callings or few revelations that faithful people now drop from memory. Through these the Lord deigned to demonstrate very plainly the perfection of this way of life. Father Brother Haymo,b a former general minister of holy memory, told of a prelate in England who, while taken up in a vision to the heavenly mansions, saw no Lesser Brothers there among the other religious. While he was wondering about this, the most beautiful of ladies, the most blessed Mother of God, came to him and asked what he was turning over in his mind. When the Bishop told her that he was wondering why he saw in that blessedness no Lesser Brothers, whom the Church Militant esteemed so highly, the Blessed Mother responded: "Come with me and I will show you where they are staying." She showed him brothers who were joined to Christ on intimate terms. "See," she said, "they are under the wings of the Judge. Save your soul with them." The Bishop, considering the grace of the vision and on the salutary counsel of the Mother of God, entered the Order of Lesser Brothers with the approval of lord Pope Gregory IX.c

10Some religious are said to have been shown under the mantle of the Blessed Virgin. Thus the Mother of God herself showed brothers

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Liber de Laudibus Beati Francisci, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1274


Caput VII
De tribus Ordinibus.

7 1Doctrinae Francisci elucet maxime fructus in tribus ab eo statutis Ordinibus.

2Primus est fratrum Minorum, cuius propositum est secundum Evangelium in paupertate et humilitate Domino famulari et poenitentiam praedicare. 3Hunc vero Deo acceptum innumera in professoribus signa testantur. 4Quis enim enarrare sufficiat, quantis in eis et per eos miraculorum prodigiis illustraverit Dominus statum istum!

5Veniam autem ad visiones et expressas vocationes, revelationes vel paucas, quae a personis delatae fidelibus memoriae iam occurrunt, per quas professionis huius perfectionem dignatus est Dominus evidentissime comprobare. 6Narrabat sanctae memoriae pater frater Haymo, quondam Generalis Minister, fuisse quendam in Anglia Praesulem, qui raptus in visu ad coelicas mansiones nec ibi fratres Minores inter Religiosos alios videns, cum super hoc miraretur, apparens ei pulcherrima dominarum beatissima Dei Mater occurrit, [et] quid animo volverit, inquisivit. 7Cui cum Episcopus super hoc mirari se diceret, quod nullos in illa beatitudine fratres Minores videret, quos tantos militans Dei ecclesia reputaret; respondit: « Veni mecum et ego tibi, ubi maneant, indicabo ». 8Et ostendens ei fratres Christo Domino familiariter adhaerentes: « Vide, inquit, sub alis Iudicis sunt, salva cum istis animam tuam ». 9Considerans Episcopus visionis gratiam et Matris Dei consilium salutare fratrum Minorum ingressus est Ordinem, annuente domino Gregorio Papa IX.

10Quidam Religiosi sub pallio beatae Virginis referuntur ostensi; ita et fratres ab ipsa Dei Matre sub velamento alarum Filii Dei ostenduntur tamquam utrique Cherubini bini et conformes.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 53

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