A Mirror of the Perfection (The Lemmons Edition, 1901) - 248 

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Noticing and hearing at one time that some brothers were giving a bad example in religion and that the brothers were turning aside from the highest summit of their profession, moved inwardly with sorrow, Gn 6:6 one time he said to the Lord in prayer: "Lord I give back to you the family You gave me."

And the Lord said to him in spirit: "Tell me, why are you so upset when one of the brothers leaves religion and when others do not walk the way I showed you? Also tell me: Who planted the religion of the brothers? Who makes a man convert and to do penance in it? Who gives the strength to persevere in it? Is it not I?"

And it was said to him in spirit: "I did not choose you as a learned or eloquent man to be over my family, but I chose you, a simple man, so that you and the others may know that I will watch over my flock. But I have placed you as a sign to them, so that the works that I work in you, they should see in you, emulate, and do them. Those who walk in my way have and will then have more abundantly; while those who refuse to walk in my way, that which they seem to have will be taken away from them.

"Therefore, I tell you, don't be so sad; do what you do, work as you work, for I have planted the religion of the brothers in everlasting love. Know that I love it so much that if any brother, returning to his vomit, dies outside religion I will replace him with another in religion who will have his crown in his place, and supposing that he has not been born, I will have him born. And so that you know that I love the life and religion of the brothers, suppose that in the whole life and religion of the brothers only three brothers remained: I would not destroy it."

These words comforted the mind of blessed Francis very much, for he was immensely saddened when he heard anything about bad example regarding the brothers.

Although he could not totally restrain himself from becoming sad about this, after being comforted by the Lord in this way, he remembered this and spoke to his companions about it.

Therefore blessed Francis often used to say to the brothers in chapters and also in his words of instruction: "I have sworn and declared to observe the Rule of the brothers and all the brothers also pledged the same. For this reason, after I resigned office among the brothers from now on, because of illnesses and for the greater good of my soul and those of all the brothers, I am bound in regard to the brothers only to show good example.

"I received that from the Lord and know in truth that even if my illness had excused me, the greatest help I can render to the religion

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Speculum Perfectionis (minus), Fontes Franciscani, p. 1817-1819


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1Unde quodam tempore considerans et audiens, quod aliqui fratrum darent malum exemplum in religione et etiam, quod fratres declinarent a summo apice professionis sue, 2tactus dolore intrinsecus quadam vice in oratione dixit ad Dominum: « Tibi, Domine, recommendo familiam quam dedisti michi ».

3Et dictum fuit [ei] in spiritu a Domino: « Die michi, quare contristaris tantum, [cum] aliquis fratrum, exiit de religione, et cum fratres non ambulant per viam, quam tibi ostendi? 4Dic michi, quis plantavit fratrum religionem? Quis converti facit hominem ad faciendum penitentiam in ea? 5Quis dat virtutem perseverandi in ea? Nonne ego? ».

6Et dictum fuit ei in spiritu: « Non elegi te pro homine litterato et eloquente super familiam meam, 7sed simplicem te elegi, ut scire valeas tam tu, quam alii, quoniam ego vigilabo super gregem meum, 8sed posui te signaculum ipsis, ut opera que ego operor in te, ipsi in te debeant prospicere et ea operari. 9Qui ambulant per viam meam, habent inde et habundantius habebunt, 10qui vero per viam meam ambulare noluerint, id quod videntur habere auferetur ab eis.

11Quapropter dico tibi, ne tantum contristeris, sed age quod agis; operare quod operaris, quoniam in caritate perpetua plantavi fratrum religionem, 12unde scias, quod tantum diligo ipsam, quod, si aliquis fratrum reversus ad vomitum moriatur extra religionem, alium mictam in religionem, ut vice eius habeat coronam eius; et ponatur, quod non esset natus, faciam ipsum nasci. 13Et ut scias, quoniam vitam et religionem fratrum spontanee diligo, ponatur, quod in tota vita et religione fratrum non remanerent nisi tres fratres, in perpetuum non delebo eam ».

14Et plurimum consolatus est beatus Franciscus in hiis verbis eo quod ultra modum contristabatur, cum audiebat de fratribus aliquod malum exemplum.

15Et licet se continere ex toto non posset, quin contristaretur de hoc, postquam fuit tamen a Domino confortatus taliter, revocabat illud ad memoriam et dicebat cum sociis suis.

16Unde sepe dicebat fratribus in capitulis et etiam in collatione verborum suorum: « Ego iuravi et statui fratrum regulam observare, et fratres omnes ad hoc se obligaverunt; 17quapropter, ex quo dimisi officium fratrum, de cetero propter infirmitates et pro maiori utilitate anime mee et omnium fratrum non teneor fratribus nisi exhibere bonum exemplum;

18nam illud a Domino accepi et scio in veritate, quoniam, si infirmitas non me excusaret, maius adiutorium, quod fratrum religioni iímpendere possum,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 248

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