The Life of Saint Francis by Julian of Speyer - 388 

Chapter V

HOW HE TAUGHT THE BROTHERS TO PRAY, AND ALSO WHAT TO BELIEVE AND OBSERVE; ABOUT THE BROTHERS’ OBEDIENCE AND SIMPLICITY AND THE CONSOLATION THEY HAD THROUGH HIM; AND ABOUT HIS TRANSFIGURATION AND PROPHETIC INSPIRATION.

27The brothers then asked Blessed Francis to teach them how to pray. Speaking simply, he passed on to them this formula saying, “When you will pray, say ‘Our Father’ Lk 11:2 Mt 6:9 and ‘We adore you, Lord Jesus Christ, in all your churches throughout the whole world, and we bless you, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.’ ” The brothers, humbly carrying out these instructions and regarding these simple words as having the force of a mandate of obedience, even bowed toward churches they could only see in the distance, and lying prostrate on the ground, adored as they had been instructed.

The brothers did not then have priests of the Order, so they confessed to secular priests, whether good or bad and, showing all priests the greatest reverence in accordance with the example and teaching of the holy father, they did not consider sin in any of them.a

28He himself, a Catholic and totally apostolic man, especially recommended in his preaching that the faith of the Roman Church be inviolably maintained, and the order of priests be regarded with the highest reverence, because of the dignity of the Lord’s Sacrament which is made present by the ministry of priests.b He also taught that teachers of divine law and all ecclesiastical orders were to be given the highest reverence.

There was such simplicity among the brothers that when a certain priest, who was known as disreputable, told one of the brothers, “Watch out that you’re not a hypocrite,” that brother believed himself to be a hypocrite for sure, because he did not think a priest could lie.

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Iuliani de Spira Officium Sancti Francisci, Fontes Franciscani, p.


Caput V

Qualiter fratres orare quae etiam credere docuit et servare; de obedientia et simplicitate fratrum, et de consolationibus quas habuerunt per ipsum; et de ipsius transfiguratione et spiritu prophetico.

27 1Rogatus a fratribus eo tempore beatus Franciscus ut eos orare doceret, simpliciter illis huiusmodi formara tradidit dicens: « Cum orabitis dicite: Pater noster, 2et 'Adoramus te, Domine Iesu Christe, ad omnes ecclesias tuas, quae sunt in toto mundo, et benedicimus tibi, quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum'. 3Quod ipsi fratres humiliter exsequentes et verbum simplex pro mandato obedientiae reputantes, se etiam ad ecclesias quas e longinquo prospicere poterant inclinabant, et proni in terra, prout instructi fuerant, adorabant.

4Fratres quoque, tunc sacerdotes Ordinis non habentes, confitebantur saecularibus sacerdotibus indifferenter bonis et malis; 5nec peccatum in aliquo considerabant, sed ad exemplum et doctrinam sancti patris maximam omnibus reverentiam exhibebant.

28 1Hoc enim ipse vir catholicus et totus apostolicus in praedicatione sua principaliter monuit, ut Romanae Ecclesiae fides inviolabiliter servaretur, et ob Dominici sacramenti quod ministerio sacerdotum conficitur, dignitatem, in summa sacerdotalis ordo reverentia teneretur. 2Sed et divinae legis doctores et omnes ecclesiasticos ordines docebat summopere reverendos.

3Erat autem tanta fratrum simplicitas, quod cum quidam sacerdos, qui non ignorabatur infamis, uni e fratribus diceret: « Vide, ne sis hypocrita! », ipse frater se esse hypocritam certissime crederet, eo quod sacerdotem mentiri non posse putaret.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 388

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