The Kinship of Saint Francis - 717 

[Chapter III]

[THE APPARITIONS OF BLESSED FRANCIS]

31 Blessed Francis appeared to be like Christ in the contemplation of things above. For we read that God the Father sometimes appeared and spoke to him in a cloud, the angels also spoke with him and ministered to him, and even holy men, as Moses and Elijah at the Transfiguration. In the same way, we read that Christ spoke with blessed Francis twenty or more times or appeared visibly to him, as angels and many saints did many times, as we can see more clearly from the examples written below.

31b Because of the boundless zeal that he had at all times for the perfection of the religion, he was naturally grieved when he would hear or see any imperfection in it. He began to realize that some brothers were giving a bad example in religion and that the brothers were already beginning to turn aside from the highest summit of their profession. One time, moved inwardly with very great sorrow of heart, he said to the Lord in prayer: "Lord I give back to you the family You gave me."

And the Lord immediately said to him: "Tell me, simple and unlettered little man, 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 this religion of the brothers? Who makes a man convert and do penance? Who gives the strength to persevere in it? Is it not I? I did not choose you as a learned or eloquent man to be over my family. I do not want you nor those I gave you who intend to be true brothers and true observers of the Rule that I gave you to walk the way of learning and eloquence. But I chose you, a simple and unlettered 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. For those who walk in the way I showed you, have me and have me more abundantly. Those who want to walk in another way, that which they seem to have will be taken away from them. Therefore, I tell you, from now on 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

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Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 717

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