The Little Flowers of Saint Francis (after 1337) - 571 

wanted to avoid that obedience fairly, so answered in this way: "I'm prepared to do your obedience, if you promise then to do what I will command you." And Saint Francis promised. Brother Bernard said: "Now, father, tell me what you want me to do." Then Saint Francis said: "I command you by holy obedience that, to punish my presumption and the anger of my heart, I will now throw myself flat on the ground, and you put one foot on my neck and the other on my mouth, and in this way you walk over me three times from one side to the other, saying things to shame and insult me, and say specifically: 'Lie there, vile son of Pietro Bernardone! Where do you get such pride, when you're such a vile creature?'" Hearing this, Brother Bernard, though it was hard for him to do, even for holy obedience, fulfilled what Saint Francis had commanded him as courteously as he could. And having done this, Saint Francis said: "Now you command me what you want me to do, because I promised you obedience." Brother Bernard said: "I command you by holy obedience that every time that we're together you rebuke and correct me severely for my shortcomings." Saint Francis was greatly surprised by this, since Brother Bernard was a man of such holiness that he held him in great reverence and did not consider him subject to rebuke for anything at all. But from that time on Saint Francis took care not to stay with him much, because of that obedience, so he would not have to give any word of correction to one he knew was so holy. But when he wanted to see him, or hear him speak of God, as soon as possible he would move away from him and depart. And it was a great cause of devotion to see the great charity, reverence, and humility of Saint Francis, the father, and how he behaved and spoke with Brother Bernard, his firstborn son.

To the praise and glory of Jesus Christ and the little poor man Francis.
Amen.

Chapter 4
THE ANGEL OF GOD PROPOSED A QUESTION TO BROTHER ELIAS, GUARDIAN OF A PLACE IN THE VALLEY OF SPOLETO, AND WHEN BROTHER ELIAS ANSWERED HIM PROUDLY, HE LEFT AND WENT ON THE WAY OF SAINT JAMES, WHERE HE FOUND BROTHER BERNARD, AND TOLD HIM THIS STORY

At the beginning and foundation of the Order, when the brothers were few and places had not yet been taken, Saint Francis in his

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Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 571

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