The Kinship of Saint Francis - 722 

bravely and faithfully in their promised observance, when they see a pope, not canonically elected, usurping power tyrannically or holding opinions infected with heretical perversity. For then truly blessed would be those who persevere in what they have begun.

"Saint Francis used to say and frequently preach in the presence of the Lord of Ostia and many brothers and even to the people, as Brothers Leo and Angelo are witnesses, that, through the working of evil spirits, his brothers would fall away from the holy way of simplicity and the highest poverty, and would receive money and wills and whatever else might be left to them. They would leave their little poor solitary places and, instead, build great and sumptuous places in fortresses and in cities, which would not reflect the state of poor men but rather that of the rulers and princes of this world. They would, with much cunning and human prudence, insolently seek and obtain privileges from the church and the supreme pontiffs, not only relaxing the Rule and life revealed to him by Christ which they had promised, but destroying its purity.

"In their arrogance, they would arm themselves with these privileges to dare to enter lawsuits and cause injuries, not only to lay people, but even to the religious and clergy. In this way, they would sow the seeds from which many scandals would spring. In doing these things, they would dig a pit into which they themselves would finally fall. For it would not be fitting for Christ to show himself a pastor, but an avenger. Thus He Who rewards all people according to their ways and according to the fruit of their deeds, and Who stirs up combat and powerful temptation, will see to it that they are caught up and trapped by the cupidity of their own desires, just as they have deserved. And so, they would be chastised by the just judgment of God. Humbled in this way, they would either return to the state of their vocation and be revivified, or be utterly removed from this life-giving and saving path, which they had sworn to serve in firm commitment until the end.

"The truth will be covered up by the silence of preachers or be denied and trodden under foot, and those who profess it will hold people of holy life up to scorn. Those who are fervent will adhere to piety, and will sustain countless persecutions.

"For then, as he used to say, there will be so many insults and agitation by demons and evil persons against those proceeding simply that, leaving everything, they would be driven to seek solitary places in the wilderness or go among non-believers, or else be forced to scatter. Assuming secular clothing, they would lead a wandering life or hide among some faithful people, or, suffering countless malicious charges and accusations, they would submit to punishments and

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Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 722

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