A Collection of Sayings of the Companions of Blessed Francis - 135 

they fail in the tribulation. And he would take on the habit and life of a pilgrim until the time of that dark tribulation should pass.

3Later the Lord would pour out the Holy Spirit upon many, and would call many to keep and reform the perfection of their life. And he described the sort of tribulation it would be, and predicted that only true lovers of God would escape it.

4Through the Holy Spirit he understood that the times of future tribulation were approaching. In those times, both temporally and spiritually, confusions and divisions would abound. The charity of many would grow cold, evil would overflow, and the power of demons would be more than usually unleashed, and the purity of his religion and of others would be disfigured. The prophesied departure and apostasy of both empires would be fulfilled, so that very few would obey the Supreme Pontiff and the Roman Church out of love of the truth. Further, one not canonically elected and corrupted with heretical depravity would be raised to the papacy at the moment of that tribulation. He would cleverly induce many to drink of his deadly errors. Then scandals would multiply and his religion would be divided, and many of the others would be shattered, because they did not oppose but agreed with the error. Opinions and splits among the people and religious clerics would be so great and numerous that, according to the word of the Gospel, unless those days were shortened, if it were possible, even the elect would be led into error, if they were not sustained in such a whirlwind by the infinite mercy of the Lord.

10For this reason blessed Francis willed, according to what he received by revelation, these words of the Rule: Brother Francis promises obedience and reverence to Lord Pope Honorius and to his successors canonically elected, 11he willed, I say, in what he adds, that is canonically elected, to show the necessary knowledge of discernment to that truly humble and poor, faithful and inseparable lover of Christ and his Church, according to the vow of gospel life promised. And in this way he willed to foretell the danger of scandal in the Church and to provide the remedy, namely that they should proceed cautiously and bind themselves more strongly and perfectly to their promised observance of the life and rule. When they see someone not canonically elected tyrannically usurp the papacy or hold on to it perversely when infected with heretical depravity, then, as he said, happy are those who persevere in what they have begun and freely promised the Lord to observe.

14For then truth will be covered over in silence by preachers or trampled and denied and held up to derision. But those of fervent spirit who will adhere to piety and truth out of charity will undergo endless persecutions as disobedient and schismatic. For then such

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Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 135

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