A Book of the Praises of Saint Francis (1277-1283) - 61 

holy manner in the Province of Cologne. The brothers from that region told us this story.

103I heard the following story from brothers who had it from a brother religious who, we know, was well thought of in the Order. A Cistercian brother from a monastery in the diocese of Toulouse came to him and begged to be received into the Order of blessed Francis. The Cistercian told the brother that a deceased brother of his monastery, who during his life the Cistercian had as a beloved companion, had come one night and called him to a chapter of lay-brothers. During the sufferings of his final illness this brother had promised to do this with the permission of God. When the living brother out of a feeling of affection wanted to embrace him, the deceased brother said: "You will not be able to see or touch me." When the deceased man was asked how he was and what he had to say, he replied: "I will be fine. It is living that is dangerous." "But are you doing well now?" he was asked. "Not yet," was the reply. He pointed out that he yet had to be purged, and that he needed prayers.

108The [Cistercian] brother again asked about the state of his Order and about that of some other Orders, and about some religious and seculars known to him. The deceased brother replied that many, especially of some Religious Orders, were damned, and that all of those people about whom he had asked by name were also damned. While he was explaining the reasons for the condemnation of some, he revealed some very personal things. I am not going to reveal the circumstances and the reasons which he indicated about the condemnation of many, because everything that disparages others would better be kept hidden, unless there is a very urgent reason for making it known. All Orders are good, if their Rules are heeded. But when the Cistercian asked about the Lesser Brothers, he said that he had seen none damned, and that those who went to purgatory were quickly purged and soared to heaven. The deceased man admonished his former companion to persevere, and he warned him to beware of certain evils with which he came into contact.

113Thus it was that in a few words the deceased man particularly extolled the present state of the Order of blessed Francis. If the purity of a state in life is weighed in the light of the best of ends freely pursued, then the end proves the merit that precedes it. No one, therefore, should he amazed to hear that those brothers were quickly purged, for they purged themselves in this life by living in purity and in extreme poverty, in cold and nakedness, and in many other hardships for the sake of their Lord.

116We have now had unexpected testimony concerning a man's ill-will or his unmerited approbation. Such testimony was given to




Liber de Laudibus Beati Francisci, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1281-1282

et sancte in Coloniensi Provincia commoratus. 102Hoc ad nos fratres illarum partium detulerunt.

103Religiosum fratrem, et quem probatum in Ordine novimus esse virum, per fratres, qui ab ipso audierant, retulisse accepi, quod quidam Cisterciensis frater ex monasterio quodam dioecesis Tolosanae ad eum veniens et petens ad beati Francisci Ordinem recipi, 104dixit ei, quendam defunctum monasterii sui fratrem, quem viventem habuerat socium inter ceteros praedilectum, ad eum sicut ante mortem, cum infirmitate ultima laboraret, sub promissionis divinae conditione promiserat, nocte quadam venisse ipsumque vocasse ad capitulum conversorum. 105Quem cum amplexari dilectionis gratia voluisset, « non poteris, ait defunctus, me tangere vel videre ». 106Cum frater ab eo requireret, quid narraret et qualiter sibi esset, respondit: « Periculosum est vivere; mihi, ait, bene erit ». 107« Nondum, inquit alius, tibi bene est? ». Respondit: « Nondum! ». Ostendit enim, se adhuc fore purgandum et suffragiis indigere.

108Requirente iterum fratre de statu Religionis, suae et aliquorum Ordinum aliorum et de quibusdam Religiosis quam saecularibus sibi notis personis, regularium quorundam maxime Ordinum, multos damnari et personas illas, de quibus nominatim quaesierat, omnes, paucis exceptis, damnatas esse respondit. 109Et de aliquibus damnationis exprimens causas familiaria multa dixit. 110Ego autem status, quos de plurium damnatione notavit, non exprimo, quia omne, quod, aliis derogat, si causa non urget, mellus subticetur. Omnes enim boni sunt Ordines, si serventur. 111De fratribus vero Minoribus requisitus dixit, se nullum damnatum vidisse adhuc et illos qui ad purgatorii locum descenderant, statim purgatos coelitus evolasse. 112Socium autem ad perseverantiam, commonens quaedam quae sibi tetigit vitia cavere suasit.

113Sic quod nunc attinet beati Francisci Ordinem paucis verbis non mediocriter extulit. 114Si ex fine optimo libere assecuto praeambula status sinceritas ponderetur, praecedens meritum finis probat. 115Nec mirum, si facile illi purgantur, qui pure viventes in extrema paupertate, in frigore et nuditate plurimisque laboribus aliis propter Dominum suum agunt purgatorium in praesenti.

116Ecce testimonium de cuiusdam odio vel favore indebito non suspectum Ordini datum ab inferis,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 61

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