The Deeds of Blessed Francis & His Companions (1328-1337) - 489 

gold in a furnace and as rich holocausts will crown them and receive them forever.

34 "This sackcloth which seems to embarrass me is holy poverty, the beauty and mirror of the whole Order, the unique safeguard, crown and foundation of every kind of holiness. When all virtuous striving is gone, as mentioned above, degenerate sons will be embarrassed by most holy poverty; shedding their cheap garments, they will choose costly ones and procure vain capes through anxious care and simony. But happy and blessed will be those who will have persevered to the end Mt 24:13 in those things which they promised the Lord."

36 bAfter these things were said, the statue disappeared. Saint

Francis thoroughly amazed by all this, like a good shepherd, with many tears entrusted his sheep, present and future, to God.

Thanks be to God.
Amen.

XXVI
SAINT MARY OF THE ANGELS IS BESIEGED BY DEMONS BUT NOT ONE CAN ENTER

1 When our holy father Francis was giving himself to prayer in the place of the Portiuncula, he saw the whole place surrounded and besieged by demons as if by a huge army; but not one of them was able to enter the place because the brothers remained in such holiness that there was no one to offer them an entrance.

3 In the meantime a brother who was staying there was violently disturbed by anger and impatience, contriving accusations and revenge against a brother companion. In this way the gate of virtue was abandoned and the door of wickedness opened, offering a way for the devil to enter. As Saint Francis watched, one of those demons quickly entered the place and attacked that brother, as victor to victim. However, the kind father and shepherd, who kept very faithful watch out of care for his flock, realized that a wolf had entered to devour one of his little sheep, and knowing through the Spirit that a sheep had been placed in great danger, had that brother summoned to him at a run. As the brother obediently came running to the concerned shepherd, the blessed father ordered him to disclose immediately the fabricated poison he was storing in his heart against his neighbor and because of which he had been given over into the hands of the enemy. Terrified, he uncovered the wound, admitted his fault and humbly asked for pardon with a penance. After he did this, he

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Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 489

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