A Letter to a Minister - 97 

A Letter to a Minister

Although there is little doubt about the authenticity of this letter, two of its earliest manuscripts only present its first twelve lines underscoring that there are two distinct approaches to the brothers who sin, one which is personal, the other legal. Many attempts have been made to identify the recipient of this letter: all have been in vain. The mention of custodian and guardian in the context of rewriting of the Rule suggests that the date of the letter’s composition was between 1221 and 1223.

1To Brother N., minister: May the Lord bless you. Nm 6:24 b

2I speak to you, as best I can, about the state of your soul. You must consider as grace all that impedes you from loving the Lord God and whoever has become an impediment to you, whether brothers or others, even if they lay hands on you. 3And may you want it to be this way and not otherwise. 4And let this be for you the true obedience of the Lord God and my true obedience, for I know with certitude that it is true obedience. 5And love those who do those things to you 6and do not wish anything different from them, unless it is something the Lord God shall have given you. 7And love them in this and do not wish that they be better Christians. 8And let this be more than a hermitage for you.

9And if you have done this, I wish to know in this way if you love the Lord and me, His servant and yours: that there is not any brother in the world who has sinned—however much he could have sinned—who, after he has looked into your eyes, would ever depart without your mercy, if he is looking for mercy. 10And if he were not looking for mercy, you would ask him if he wants mercy. 11And if he would sin a thousand times before your eyes, love him more than me so that you may draw him to the Lord; and always be merciful with brothers such as these.




Epistola ad quendam ministrum, Fontes Franciscani, p. 95

Epistola ad Quendam Ministrum

1Fratri N. ministro, Dominus te benedicat.

2Dico tibi, sicut possum, de facto animae tuae, quod ea quae te impediunt amare Dominum Deum, et quicumque tibi impedimentum fecerit sive fratres sive alii, etiam si te verberarent, omnia debes habere pro gratia. 3Et ita velis et non aliud. 4Et hoc sit tibi per veram obedientiam Domini Dei et meam, quia firmiter scio, quod ista est vera obedientia. 5Et dilige eos qui ista faciunt tibi. 6Et non velis aliud de eis, nisi quantum Dominus dederit tibi. 7Et in hoc dilige eos; et non velis quod sint meliores christiani. 8Et istud sit tibi plus quam eremitorium.

9Et in hoc volo cognoscere, si tu diligis Dominum et me servum suum et tuum, si feceris istud, scilicet quod non sit aliquis frater in mundo, qui peccaverit, quantumcumque potuerit peccare, quod, postquam viderit oculos tuos, numquam recedat sine misericordia tua, si quaerit misericordiam. 10Et si non quaereret misericordiam, tu quaeras ab eo, si vult misericordiam. 11Et si millies postea coram oculis tuis peccaret, dilige eum plus quam me ad hoc, ut trahas eum ad Dominum; et semper miserearis talibus.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 97