A Mirror of the Perfection (The Sabatier Edition, 1928) - 323 

Chapter Four
HIS ZEAL FOR PROFESSION OF THE RULE AND FOR THE ENTIRE RELIGION

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FIRST, HOW HE PRAISED THE OBSERVANCE OF THE RULE AND WANTED THE BROTHERS TO KNOW IT, DISCUSS IT, AND DIE WITH IT

Blessed Francis, the perfect zealot of the observance of the holy Gospel, burned with great zeal for the common profession of our Rule, which is nothing else than the perfect observance of the Gospel. He endowed those who are and were true zealots about it with a special blessing. He used to tell his imitators that our profession was the Book of Life, the hope of salvation, Rv 21:27 1 Thes 5:8 the pledge of glory, the marrow of the Gospel, the way of the cross, the state of perfection, the key of Paradise, the pact of an eternal covenant. He wanted all to have it, all to know it. In their conversations he wanted the brothers to speak of it often and to let it speak more often to the inner man, as encouragement in weariness and as a reminder of a sworn oath. He taught them to keep it always before their eyes as an encouragement and reminder of the life they should lead, and of the obligation of regular observance. What is more, he wanted and taught the brothers that they should die with it.

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A HOLY LAY BROTHER MARTYRED HOLDING THE RULE IN HIS HANDS

This teaching and holy instruction of the most blessed father was not forgotten by a certain lay brother who we believe was admitted into the choir of martyrs. When he was among non-believers because of a desire for martyrdom and taken by the Saracens, he held the Rule with great fervor in both hands, and kneeling humbly, said to his companion: "I confess myself guilty before the eyes of the Is 3:8 divine Majesty and before you of everything I ever did against this holy Rule!" The stroke of the sword followed this short confession, and with his martyrdom he ended his life with the crown of a martyr. This brother had entered the Order so young that he could hardly bear the Rule's fasting, yet even as a boy he wore a harness next to his skin.

Oh happy child, who began happily to end even happier!

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Speculum Perfectionis, Fontes Franciscani, p.


Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 323

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