To the Priests of the whole Order.
In the Name of the most Holy Trinity and Supreme Unity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.
To all his Reverend and much-loved Brothers, the Minister-General of the Order of Friars Minor, and all the other Ministers-General who shall succeed him; to all the other Ministers, Custodes, and Priests of this Brotherhood ; to all who are humble, simple, and obedient in Christ; to the greatest and the least, —Brother Francis, a poor, miserable man, your little servant, health in Him Who has redeemed us and washed us in His Blood, Jesus Christ, the most glorious Son of God, blessed in all ages. Amen.
Hearken, my lords, my children, and my brethren ; listen to my words. Incline the ears of your heart and obey the voice of the Son of God. Keep His commandments with your whole heart, and fulfill His counsels with a perfect mind. Praise Him, for He is good, and exalt Him in your works. The Lord God offers Himself to us as to His children. Wherefore, O my brethren, embracing your feet with all the love of which I am capable, I conjure you to show all the reverence and honour possible to the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in Whom everything in heaven and on earth has been restored to peace, and reconciled with Almighty God.
I also beseech in the Lord, all my brethren who are, or who shall be, or who desire to be priests of the Most High, that whenever they wish to celebrate Mass, they be pure, and offer with purity and reverence the true Sacrifice of the most holy Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ with a holy and perfect intention; not from any earthly motive, nor for the fear or love of any creature, as though desiring to please men; but let every will (according to the grace given) be directed solely to the most High God, and do you desire to please Him alone, for He alone works in this holy Sacrifice according to His good pleasure, as the Lord has Himself said : ' Do this in remembrance of Me’and he who does otherwise becomes a traitor like Judas. Remember, O priests, my brothers, how it is written in the law of Moses, that those who transgressed even in corporal sacrifices were condemned by God to death, without any mercy. What a far more terrible punishment will he deserve, who tramples under foot the Son of God, and treats the Blood of the New Testament by which he is sanctified as a vile thing, and offers insult to the Holy Ghost! A man stained with sin despises and tramples on the Lamb of God, when, as the Apostle says, not discerning the sacred Bread, which is Christ, from other food, he eats unworthily by being guilty of unworthy actions ; for the Lord has said by His Prophet: ‘Cursed is the man who does the work of God with negligence or fraud.’ And on account of those priests who will not lay these things seriously to heart, we are condemned, when Our Lord says : ‘I will curse your blessings.’
Hearken, my brethren. If the Blessed Virgin Mary is honoured, as she well deserves, for having borne our Saviour in her most holy womb; if St. John the Baptist trembled, and did not dare to touch the forehead of his Lord ; if the Holy Sepulchre in which this same Lord reposed for a short time is so venerated—how holy, how just, and how worthy- ought not he to be who touches with his hands, receives into his mouth and heart, and gives to others, this God Who is now no more to die, but Who will live and be glorified for ever, on Whom the angels desire to gaze! Understand your dignity, O priests, my brothers, and 'be ye holy, because He is holy? As God has honoured you more than all others through this Mystery, do you love, reverence, and honour Him through this Mystery. It is a great misery, and a deplorable weakness, when you have Him thus present, that you should care for anything else in the whole world. Man should be seized with fear, the earth should tremble, and the heavens rejoice exceedingly, when Christ the Son of the living God descends upon the altar in the hands of the priest. O admirable greatness! O stupendous condescension ! O humble sublimity! the Lord of the universe, God, and the Son of God, so abases Himself that for our salvation He hides Himself under the form of a morsel of bread! See, O my brethren, the lowliness of your God! pour out your hearts before Him and humble yourselves, that you may be worthy to be exalted by Him. Do not keep back anything of yourselves, that He Who gives Himself to you without reserve may receive your entire being.
Moreover, I recommend and exhort you in the Lord that in the houses where the brethren dwell, there be only one Mass celebrated each day, according to the rite of the holy Roman Church. If there be many priests in one place, let them charitably be contented to hear the Mass of one, for Our Lord Jesus Christ fills all with His grace who are worthy of it, both those who are present and those who are absent. Although He is present in many places, He is still undivided, He changes not; but He works ever according to His blessed Will, in union with the Father and the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete, for ever and ever. Amen.