The Kinship of Saint Francis - 718 

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 religion of the brothers only three brothers remained, it would still be my religion and I would never abandon it."

And when he heard these things, his soul was wonderfully comforted.

And, although on account of the great zeal that he always had for the perfection of the religion, he could not totally restrain himself from becoming extremely sad when he heard of any imperfections of the brothers from which bad example or scandal could arise. Nevertheless, after he was comforted by the Lord in this way, he remembered that [passage] of the psalm: "I have sworn and determined to keep the justice of the Lord and to observe the Rule that the Lord Himself gave to me and to those who desire to imitate me. All these brothers have also bound themselves to this as I have. And therefore, after I resigned the office among the brothers because of my illnesses and other reasonable causes, I am not bound at all except to pray for the religion and to show good example. For I have this from the Lord and know in truth that if my illness had not excused me, the greater help I can render to the religion is to spend time every day in prayer to the Lord for it, that He govern, preserve, and protect it. For I have bound myself to the Lord and to the brothers in this, that if any one of the brothers perishes because of my bad example, I want to be held to render an account to the Lord for him."


32 Saint Francis said to Brother Masseo: "Dear brother, let's go to Saint Peter and to Saint Paul, and let's ask them to teach us and help us to possess the indescribable treasure of most holy poverty." And Saint Francis continued, telling Brother Masseo: "My most dear, most beloved brother, the treasure of blessed poverty is so worthy and so divine that we are not worthy to possess it in our most vile vessels, since it is that heavenly virtue by which all earthly and transitory things are trampled under foot, by which all obstacles are moved out of the way, so that the human spirit may freely be joined to the eternal Lord. It is she who makes the soul, while




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 718