The Little Flowers of Saint Francis (after 1337) - 581 

outside with a knobby stick and grabs us by the capuche and throws us on the ground and rolls us in the snow and beats us from head to toe with that stick; if we endure these things patiently and with happiness, thinking of the sufferings of the blessed Christ, which we must endure for His love, O Brother Leo, write that here and in this is perfect joy. But hear the conclusion, Brother Leo. Above all the graces and gifts of the Holy Spirit, which Christ grants to His friends, is that of conquering our own selves and gladly, for the love of Christ, to endure sufferings, injuries and insults and difficulties, because we cannot glory in all the other gifts of God, since they are not ours but God's, as the Apostle says, 'What do you have that you do not have from God, and if you have had it from Him, why do you boast of it, as if you had it from yourself?' But in the cross of trouble and affliction we can glory, as the Apostle says, 'I do not want to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.' " Gal 6:14

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

Chapter 9
HOW SAINT FRANCIS TAUGHT BROTHER LEO TO RESPOND BUT HE COULD ONLY SAY THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT FRANCIS WANTED

Once at the beginning of the Order Saint Francis was with Brother Leo in a place where they did not have books for saying the Divine Office. When the time for Matins came, Saint Francis said to Brother Leo: "Dearest Brother, we do not have a breviary with which we can say Matins; but so that we may spend the time in praising God, I'll speak and you'll respond as I teach you. And be careful that you don't change the words into something different from what I teach you. I'll say this: 'O, Brother Francis, you have done so many evil things and so many sins in the world that you are worthy of hell.' And you, Brother Leo, will respond: 'That's true: you deserve the lowest place in hell.' " And Brother Leo with dove-like simplicity responded: "Of course, Father, begin, in the name of God." Then Saint Francis began to say, "O Brother Francis, you have done so many evil things and so many sins in the world that you are worthy of hell." And Brother Leo responded, "God will do so many good things for you that you will go to Paradise." Saint Francis said, "Don't say that, Brother Leo! When I say, 'Brother Francis, you have done so many evil things against God that you deserve to be cursed

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Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 581

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