The Deeds of Blessed Francis & His Companions (1328-1337) - 451 

Saint Francis said to his companion: "Dear brother, we do not have a breviary so we can say matins, but in order to spend the time in praising God, say what I tell you and do not change a word. I will say this: 'O Brother Francis, you have committed so many sins in the world that you deserve hell.' And you Brother Leo will respond: 'It is true that you deserve hell' " The pure-minded Brother Leo answered with the simplicity of the dove: "Willingly, Father. Begin in the name of the Lord." Then Saint Francis began: "O Brother Francis, you have committed so many sins in this world that you deserve hell." Brother Leo answered: "God will work such good through you that you will go to paradise." Saint Francis said: "Do not say that, Brother Leo. When I say: 'O Brother Francis, you have performed so many evil deeds against God that you deserve to be cursed,' you will answer: 'You deserve to be listed among the damned.' " Brother Leo answered: "Certainly, Father."

7 With many tears and sighs and beating his breast Saint Francis said in a loud voice: "O Lord, O God of heaven and earth, I have done so many evil things against you that I deserve to be thoroughly cursed." Brother Leo responded: "O Brother Francis, God will make you such that you will be singularly blessed among the blessed." Saint Francis, amazed that Leo answered to the contrary, said: "Brother Leo, why do you not answer as I instruct you? I command you under holy obedience to answer according to the words I tell you. I will say: 'O Brother Francis, you miserable little man, do you think that God will have mercy on you even though you have committed so many sins against the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation 2 Cor 1:3 that you are not worthy to find mercy? And you, Brother Little Lamb, will respond: 'In no way are you worthy to find mercy.' " Brother Leo answered: "God the Father, whose mercy is infinitely greater than your sin, will grant you great grace and mercy, and add many more graces besides."

13 Saint Francis, mildly irritated and patiently disturbed, said: "Brother, why have you dared to act contrary to obedience and answered so many times contrary to what I proposed?" Then Brother Leo humbly and reverently replied: "God knows, my dear Father, that I always intended to say just what you ordered, but God made me speak according to His will and not according to my intention." Saint Francis was amazed at this and said: "I ask you, my dear brother, that this time when I accuse myself as before, you say that I am not worthy of mercy." And with many tears he kept on proposing this for Brother Leo to say. Brother Leo responded: "Tell me again, Father, for this time I will answer as you wish." Saint Francis, shouting out with many tears, said: "O Brother Francis, you great sinner, O




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 451