ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI.
To all the Faithful of Christ.
LET US love God, and let us adore Him with apure heart and a pure mind.
LETTERS OF ST. FRANCIS.
To all the Faithfulof Christ.
LET US love God,and let us adore Him with a pure heart and a pure mind.
To allChristians, religious, priests, laymen, and women, and to all who dwell in theworld.
Oh, how blessed and happy are they who loveGod, and who act as Our Lord commands in the Gospel: ' Thou shalt love the Lordthy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and thy neighbour asthyself? Let us therefore love God, and adore Him with a pure heart and mind,for this is what He seeks above all things when He says: 'The true adorersshall adore God the Father in spirit and in truth? All who adore Him ought toadore Him in spirit and truth. Farewell in the Lord.
To allthe Faithful of Christ.
To all Christians, religious, priests,laymen,and women, and to all who dwell in the world: Brother Francis, theirservantand slave, reverently wishes true peace from heaven, and sincere charityin theLord. I, being the servant of all, am bound to serve all, and to ministertothem the most sweet words of my Lord. Wherefore, considering in my mind thatonaccount of my infirmities and of the weakness of my body, I cannotpersonallyvisit each one, I desire by this letter to announce unto you thewords of myLord Jesus Christ, Who is the Eternal Word of the Father, and also thewords of the Holy Ghost, which are spirit and life.
This Word of theFather, so divine, so holy,and so glorious, was announced from heaven by theholy Archangel Gabriel, andHedescended into the womb of the glorious VirginMary, receiving from her thetrue flesh of our frail humanity. And being rich,He, together with His mostblessed Mother, desired above all things in thisworld to embrace poverty.Before His Passion He celebrated the Pasch with Hisdisciples, and taking bread,He gave thanks, and blessed and broke it, saying:' Take and eat, this is MyBody and taking the chalice, He said : ' This is MyBlood of the New Testament, whichis shed for you andfor many, for theremission of sins? Soon after He prayed toHis Father, saying: i Father, if itbe possible, let this chalice pass from Me.'And His sweat became as drops ofblood falling down upon the ground. But Heunited His will with that of HisHeavenly Father, saying : (Father, Thy will bedone ; not what I will, but whatThou wiliest?
It was the will ofHis Father that this mostglorious and blessed Son, Whom He gave to us, and Whowas born for us, should,bythe shedding of His Blood, offer Himself as asacrifice on the Altar of theCross, not for Himself, for by Him all thingswere made, but for our sins, *leaving us an example that we should follow inHis footsteps., And He desiresthat we should all be saved by Him, and that weshould receive Him with a puremind and a chaste body. But alas! there are fewwho are willing to receive Himand to be saved by Him, although His yoke issweet and His burden light.
Those who will nottaste how sweet is the Lord,and who love darkness rather than light, beingunwilling to fulfill the law ofGod, are cursed; for the prophet, speaking ofthem, says: Cursed are theythat decline from Thy commandments.' But, onthe contrary, how blessed and happyare they who adore Him (as they ought) inspirit and in truth. Let us praise andbeseech Him day and night, saying : 'Our Father, Who art in heaven/ etc.,for we ought always to pray, and not tofaint.
We ought indeed toconfess all our sins to apriest, that we may receive the Body and Blood of OurLord Jesus Christ, becausewhoever does not eat His Flesh and drink His Bloodcannot enter into the kingdomof God. We must also each of us partake of thisSacrament worthily, for 'he whoeateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth anddrinketh judgment to himself notdiscerning the Body of the Lord.
Let us moreover bearworthy fruits of penance,loving our neighbour as ourselves, and if anyonecannot love him as much as himselflet him at least inflict no evil on him, butdo him good.
Let those who havereceived the power to judge,exercise justice with mercy, as they hope toobtain mercy from God. 'Judgmentwithout mercy to those who show no mercy? Letus have charity and humility, andgive alms, for alms giving cleanses our soulsfrom the filth of sin. At death welose all that we have in this world, but wetake with us charity and thealms-deeds we have done, and for these we shallreceive a great reward from God.
We ought to fast, andto abstain from all vice,and from all that will lead us into sin, as well as fromextravagance andsuperfluity. We should often visit the churches, and venerateand reverence allecclesiastics on account of their office, and because theydistribute the SacredBody and Blood of Christ, which they offer in sacrifice,receive themselves, andadminister to others. And let everyone know and holdforcertain that we cannotbe saved except through the sacred Words and thePrecious Blood of our LordJesus Christ, which priests preach, announce, anddistribute, and of which theyare the sole ministers.
We religiousespecially, and all who have renounced the world, are bound to do more andgreater things; we must give up all that is not necessary, and hate our bodywith its vices and sins, for Our Lord says in the Gospel: * From the heartcomes forth evil things we must love our enemies, and do good to those who hateus ; we must observe the precepts and counsels of our Redeemer, denyingourselves and subjecting our bodies to the yoke of obedience. But no one isbound to obey where there is sin or fault, for we came to religion in order tosave our souls, and to give good example to others.
Those to whompower is entrusted, and who are considered Superiors, must be mindful to becomeas the least, and servants of their brethren, and they must show mercy to theirsubjects as they would wish to have mercy shown to them if they were subjects.Let them not be angry with the brethren on account of their defects, butcorrect them kindly with all patience and humility, and support and assist themby their counsels.
Let us not be wiseand prudent according to the flesh, but simple, humble, and pure. Let usdespise our bodies and hold them in subjection, because on account of our sinswe have become miserable and corrupt, as the Lord says by the prophet: ' I am aworm and no man.' We should never desire to be • above others, but rather to besubject to every human being for the love of God. And the Spirit of God willrest on all those who act in this way, and persevere therein to the end ; Hewill make of them His temple and dwelling-place ; they will become the childrenof the Eternal Father, whose works they perform; the spouses, brothers, andmothers of Our Lord Jesus Christ We are His spouses because all faithful soulsare united to Him through the Holy Ghost; we are His brothers when we do thewill of His Father, Who is in heaven; we are His mothers when we bear Him inour hearts and bodies by love and a pure conscience, and bring Him forth byholy works, which shine as examples to others. Oh, how great and glorious it isto have a Father in heaven! Oh, how holy to have a sweet and loving Paracletefor our Spouse! Oh, how holy, how delightful, how sweet, how peaceful, howamiable, how desirable above all is it to have such a Brother, Who gave Hislife for His sheep, and Who prayed for us to His Father, saying:' Father, keepthem in Thy name whom Thou hast given Me. Father, all those whom Thou hastgiven Me in the world were Thine, and Thou hast given them to Me, and the wordswhich Thou gavest Me, I have given to them ; and they have received them, andhave known for certain that I came forth from Thee, and they have believed thatThou didst send Me. I pray for them ; I sanctify Myself that they may be madeperfect in one as We are One. And I will, Father, that where I am, there alsoMy ministers may be, that they may see the glory of My kingdom?
Oh, how great and glorious it is to have a Father inheaven! Oh, how holy to have a sweet and loving Paraclete for our Spouse! Oh,how holy, how delightful, how sweet, how peaceful, how amiable, how desirableabove all is it to have such a Brother, Who gave His life for His sheep, andWho prayed for us to His Father, saying:' Father, keep them in Thy name whomThou hast given Me. Father, all those whom Thou hast given Me in the world wereThine, and Thou hast given them to Me, and the words which Thou gavest Me, Ihave given to them ; and they have received them, and have known for certainthat I came forth from Thee, and they have believed that Thou didst send Me. Ipray for them ; I sanctify Myself that they may be made perfect in one as Weare One. And I will, Father, that where I am, there also My ministers may be,that they may see the glory of My kingdom?
Therefore let all creatures who are in heaven, on earth,in the sea, and under the earth give praise, honour, glory, and benediction tothe Lord, for all He suffered for us, and for all He has done, and will do foreach one; for He is our strength and our fortitude, He only is good, He onlyMost High, omnipotent, admirable, glorious, and most holy, and worthy to bepraised and blessed for ever and ever. Amen.
But all those who do not the works of penance, who willnot receive the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, but who do the worksof sin and death; who follow their own concupiscence and wicked desires ; whowill not keep what they have promised ; who are slaves to the world and totheir bodies, and are engrossed by the desires, cares, and anxieties of thislife—all these are deceived by the devil, whose children they are, for they dohis works. They are blind, for they cannot see the true light, Jesus Christ OurLord. They have not the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, because the Son of God isnot in them, and He is the Wisdom of the Father. It is of these that it is said: ' Their wisdom has been devoured,’they know, and see, and understand how todo evil; knowingly they lose their souls. See, O ye blind, how you are deceivedby your enemies, that is the world, the flesh, and the devil, because the fleshfinds pleasure in sin, and bitterness in the service of God, for all evils comefrom the flesh, as Our Lord says in the Gospel. You think to possess the vainjoys of this world for a long time, but you are deceived, for the day and thehour are coming of which you will not think, and of which you do not know.
When sickness lays hold of the body, and deathapproaches, the friends and relations of the sick man come round him saying : 'Settle the affairs of thy house/ etc. And behold his wife and his children, hisrelations and friends, pretend to weep, and, seeing their tears, his heart istouched, and being moved by the evil spirit, he says : ' Behold, I place mysoul and my body and all I have in your hands? Truly this man is cursed whoconfides and leaves his soul and body and all he has in such hands. Of him OurLord spoke by the prophet: ' Cursed is the man who places his hope in man?
Then they call the priest, who says to the sick man : 'Dost thou desire to do penance for thy sins ?' He answers: ' I do? ' Wilt thoumake satisfaction out of thy property to all those whom thou hast defrauded anddeceived ?' He replies : ' No.' ' Why not ?' asks the priest. * Because I haveplaced it all in the hands of my relations? And then he loses his speech, andso he dies miserably. But let all know that any man, in whatever place, or ofwhatever quality, who dies in sin without satisfaction, and who can make satisfactionand will not, is seized upon by the devil, who tears his soul from his bodywith such anguish and tribulation, that none will believe it unless they feelit And all the knowledge, the talents, and the powers that he had will be takenfrom him, and his friends and relations, to whom he gave his goods, will dividethem, and then they will curse his soul and say: ' Cursed be he, for he mighthave given us more, only he would not; he might have made more money/ and soon. His body is eaten by worms, his soul is tormented by the devils, and so heloses both soul and body through the love of this short life.
I, Brother Francis, the least of your servants,desiring to kiss your feet, pray and beseech you by that Love which God is, toreceive, keep, and observe these words, and all the words of Our Lord JesusChrist, with humility and charity. And let all those who receive and understandthem, practise them as an example to others. And if they persevere in them tothe end, may they be blessed by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen.
To St. Antony of Padua.
BROTHER FRANCIS to his beloved Brother Antony, health in the Lord.
I am willing that thou shouldst interpret holy theology to the brethren, in such manner, however, that the spirit of prayer (as I most ardently desire) be not extinguished in thyself or others, according to the rule which we follow. Farewell.
To the Blessed Virgin Clare and her Sisters at
To his beloved Sister Clare and the other Sisters of St. Damian's, Brother Francis, health in the Lord.
Since, by the divine inspiration, you have made yourselves daughters and handmaids of the most high and sovereign King, the Heavenly Father, and have taken the Holy Ghost for your Spouse, choosing to live according to the perfection of the holy Gospel, I will and promise to have always, by myself and by my brothers, a diligent care and special solicitude for you, as for them, Farewell in the Lord.
To the same.
To my beloved Sister Clare, and to the other Sisters at St. Damian's, greeting in the Lord.
I, Brother Francis, poor and little, will follow the life and poverty of our most Sovereign Lord Jesus Christ, and of His most holy Mother, and will persevere in the same to the end. And I beseech you all, my ladies, and counsel you to abide always in this most holy life and poverty. And take great care that you never depart from it through the teaching or counsel of anyone. Farewell in the Lord.
To Brother Elias, Vicar-General of the whole Order.
To the Reverend Father in Christ, Brother Elias, Vicar-General of the whole Order, Brother Francis sends greeting in the Lord.
Brother, may Our Lord give thee His holy benediction. Be patient and kind in all things. If the brethren offend thee in anything, offer it to God. By this I shall know if thou art a true servant of God, if thou bringest back the erring brethren to God by mercy, and if thou never ceasest to love those who have most deeply offended. And if through any human fear they dare not approach thee, ask them if they wish for pardon. And if anyone, through the persuasion of the devil, should fall into some grievous sin, let him have recourse to the Guardian, who shall send him to the Provincial. And the Provincial must receive him with kindness; and if he seem contrite, he shall say to him : ‘ Go, and now sin no more.' Farewell in the Lord.
To the same.
To the Reverend Father in Christ, Brother Elias, Vicar-General of the whole Order, Brother Francis, greeting in the Lord.
I recommend much to thee, Brother Elias, in all that thou doest great charity and patience; thou must be prepared to suffer much, for the burden laid upon thee is great and heavy, namely, many souls. In the old law, the High Priest bore suspended from his shoulders, and hanging on his breast, the rational of judgment, on which were engraved the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, signifying that as Supe¬riors have to bear their subjects on their shoulders, they must also bear them on their breast, for they cannot bear them if they cease to love them. Our Lord Jesus Christ, before making St. Peter the head of His Church, and giving him the care of His sheep, questioned him as to his love. Take care then that no brother should sin, but if anyone should fall into sin, let him not depart from thee without correction and pardon; and as thou art a physician, offer medicine to the sick man, because, as Our Lord says : c They that are well need not a physician, but they that are sick.' Watch, admonish, labour, feed, love, wait, and fear. Farewell in the Lord.
（注：在《圣经》旧约历史中，以色列大司祭会穿戴一种叫“breastplate of judgment”的胸牌，见（出谷纪：28：6-30，出谷纪：39：1-21））
To the Minister- General of the Friars Minor.
To the Reverend Father N., Minister-General of the whole Order.
May the Lord protect thee, and keep thee in His holy love. I recommend to thee, my Brother, patience in all thy works, so that no matter what impediments thou meetest with either from the brethren or from others, even if they were to strike thee, thou shouldst receive it as a favour, and desire that and nothing else. And thou shouldst love those who act thus towards thee, and not wish them to be different until the Lord grants it for thy consolation. But thou must love them by desiring that they become better Christians. By this I shall know if thou truly lovest God, and me, His and thy poor servant, if thou actest in this manner, namely, that thou never allowest any brother who has sinned, no matter how deeply, to leave thy presence without pardon. And if he will not ask it, thou must ask him if he desire it. And if he should afterwards be brought before thee again, even a thousand times, love him still, even more than thou lovest me, in order to draw him to good; and always be compassionate towards such. Enforce this also on the Guardians as much as pos¬sible，telling them thou art determined to act in this manner. And let all the brethren who know him to have sinned be careful not to reproach him for it, nor to speak evil of him, but let them have great com¬passion on such a one, and keep the sins of their brother secret, for those who are whole do not need a physician, but those who are sick. If any brother, by the instigation of the enemy, should sin mortally, he is bound under obedience to have recourse to his Guardian, and the Guardian is equally bound to send him to the Custos. And this Custos has no power to inflict any further punishment upon a brother who is penitent than this: ‘ Go, and sin no more.’ Do this, and farewell.
To the Provincial Ministers of the Order of the Friars Minor.
To the beloved Brethren in Christ, the Provincial Ministers of the Order of Friars Minor.
In your government I beseech you to be careful of two things: first, that you be not respecters of persons ; and secondly, that you be not free in commanding in virtue of holy Obedience, for this is unsheathing the sword, which should not be done except after mature deliberation and on great occasions. Be moderate in your commands, merciful to sinners, easy in pardoning, sparing in food, poor in dress, mild in words, and faithful to God and your office. Preach by your works, if you wish your subjects to listen to your words and obey your precepts, and what you command by your mouth, fulfill in your actions. Farewell in the Lord.
To the Second General Chapter.
To all the Reverend and much-loved Brethren, Brother Francis, greeting in the Lord.
Whenever you hear the Name of God pronounced adore it with fear and reverence, prostrate on the ground. God has sent you into the world to bear testimony of Him by your words and works, and to make known to all men that there is no other God. Persevere in discipline and holy Obedience, and be faithful in everything to the promises you freely made to God. I beseech the Minister-General with all earnestness to cause the Rule to be exactly observed by all. Let the Clerks recite the Divine Office with all possible devotion in the presence of God, attending not so much to the melody of the voices as to the harmony of the mind. Farewell in the Lord.
To the General Chapter.
To the Reverend and much-beloved Brethren, the Minister-General, and others of the Order of Friars Minor, Brother Francis, greeting in the Lord.
Since those who are of God hear the words of God, it behoves us, beloved brethren, who have been chosen to fulfill all divine offices, not only to hear and practise what God has commanded, but also to watch most carefully over the sacred vessels, and the holy Office-books in which His words are contained, that we may become penetrated with the greatness of our Creator, and show our submission to Him. Therefore I desire and exhort my brethren to show all possible respect to the Divine Scriptures wherever they see them, and if they should be found in any improper place, or scattered about in a disrespectful manner, let them collect and put them in a becoming place as far as possible, in order to show reverence to the words of the Lord. For many things are sanctified by the Word of God, and the mystery of the Adorable Sacrament of the Altar is accomplished by the power of the words of Jesus Christ.
Moreover, I confess all my sins to God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; to the Blessed Mary ever Virgin, to all the saints in heaven and on earth, to the Minister-General of the Order, as my venerable Superior, to all the priests of the Order, and to all my beloved brethren. I have sinned in manifold ways and grievously, especially by not observing the Rule as I promised to God, and by not reciting the Office as that Rule prescribes, either through negligence or on account of my infirmities, or because I am an ignorant, simple man.
I therefore earnestly beseech the Minister-General, my lord, to cause the Rule to be strictly observed by all, and to see that the clerics recite the Office devoutly before God, endeavouring to please Him by the concord of their hearts, and not to soothe the ears of the people by the sweetness of their singing; not attending to the melody of the voice, but to the harmony of the mind, so that their voices may be in unison with their hearts, and their hearts with God. As for myself I promise, by the grace of God, to observe these things faithfully, and I will cause them to be observed by those brethren who are with me, both with regard to the Office, and to other regulations. As for those who will not observe them, I do not look upon them as Catholics, nor my brethren ; I will neither see nor speak with them until they have done penance. I say the same of those who wander to and fro, and make no account of the ordinances and precepts of the Rule; for Our Lord Jesus Christ sacrificed His life rather than disobey His Heavenly Father.
I, Brother Francis, a vile man, and unworthy creature of God, command, in the Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Minister-General, all the Ministers- General who come after him, all the Custodes and Guardians present and to come, to have this writing, to keep it carefully, and to practise what it contains. I implore them to have all that is written therein carefully and diligently observed. May those who are faithful to these things be blessed of the Lord, according to the will of Almighty God, now and in future as long as the world exists. May the Lord be with you for ever. Amen.
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.
To all Clerics.
To my Reverend Masters, all the clerics of the whole world, who live according to the rules of the Catholic Faith, little Brother Francis, their least servant, greeting, with all possible reverence, and humbly kissing their feet.
Since I am become a debtor to all, but cannot now, on account of my infirmities, address you personally, I implore you to receive with all love and charity this admonition and instruction, which I write to you in few words. Consider, O clerics, the great sin and ignorance of which some are guilty towards the Sacred Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, His holy Name, and written Words, by which His Body is consecrated; for we know that the Body of Jesus Christ is not present until His Sacred Words are pronounced. We have nothing, and can see nothing corporally of God in this world, except the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, His holy Name and Words, by which we were created, and by which we have been restored from death to life. Let all those who minister in these most holy Mysteries, and especially those who do so carelessly, consider well within themselves whether the chalices, corporals, and linen which are used in the most adorable Sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ, be in a becoming state; whether Our Lord is not left in an improper place, carried about disrespectfully, received unworthily, and indiscreetly given to others. Sometimes even His holy Name and His written Word are trampled under foot, for the animal man cannot understand the things of God. Shall we not be moved to grief by this when we consider that this sweet Lord places Himself in our hands, and that we daily touch Him and receive Him in our mouth ? Do we not know that one day we shall fall into His Hands ? Let us then at once courageously correct ourselves of these faults and others; and wherever we find the Sacred Body of Our Lord kept disrespectfully and neglected, let us remove It thence, and securely place It in a carefully prepared tabernacle. And in like manner, if we find the Name or the written Words of Our Lord in unclean places, let us at once collect them, and put them away respectfully. And let us remember that we are bound to observe these things by the commandments of God, and the constitutions of our holy Mother the Church. And let him who neglects this know that he will have to give an account thereof before Our Lord Jesus Christ in the day of judgment. That this writing may be the better observed, let those be blessed by God who cause copies to be made of it. May Our Lord Jesus Christ fill you all, my Masters, with His grace and strength. Amen.
To all the Custodes of the Friars Minor.
To all the Custodes of the Friars Minor who shall receive these letters, Brother Francis, the least of the servants of God, wishes health and peace in the Lord.
Know that there are things great and sublime in the sight of God, which are often considered vile and despicable by men, and there are others considered by men as very precious and important, but which God looks upon as worthless and contemptible. I beseech you, therefore, very earnestly to deliver to Bishops and other ecclesiastics the letters which treat of the most holy Body and Blood of Our Lord, and to bear well in mind the recommendations I have given on that head. I also desire you to give another letter, which I send you, to all governors, councillors, and magistrates, to make at once many copies of it, and to be very assiduous in propagating it among those to whom it is addressed, that so the divine praises may be heard by the people in the streets and public squares. Farewell in the Lord.
To the Rulers of the People.
To all those who are in authority, to councillors, judges, and governors of all countries in the world, and to others who may read this letter, Brother Francis, their little unworthy servant, wishes health and peace in the Lord.
Consider and think that the hour of death approaches. I implore you, therefore, with all respect, not to forget the Lord, and not to decline from His commandments on account of the cares and solicitudes of the world which weigh upon you ； for those who forget Him, and neglect His commandments are cursed and will be forgotten by Him ; when the day of death comes, all that they have will be taken from them, and the wiser and more powerful they have been in this world, the greater torments they will have to endure in hell. For this reason I strongly advise you, my lords, to put aside all worldly cares and solicitudes, and to receive with good dispositions the Sacred Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in remembrance of Him. Watch carefully over your people, and cause them to honour this Lord, and every night let them be reminded by a messenger, or by some other sign, to offer their praises and thanksgivings to God, the Lord of all things. If you neglect this, know that you will have to render an account of it at the day of judgment to your Lord Jesus Christ. Those who keep this writing and put it in practice will assuredly be blessed by God.
To Brother Leo,
BROTHER LEO, thy Brother Francis salutes thee and wishes thee peace.
I speak to thee, my son, as a mother, for all that we said on the road is contained briefly in that one word. If later on thou dost wish to come to me for counsel, I advise thee to come. Whatever thou thinkest thou canst do to please the Lord God, and to follow His example and His poverty, thou mayest do, with the blessing of God and my permission. And if for the good of thy soul or thy consolation, thou dost wish to come to me, my Leo, come. Farewell in the Lord.
To the LadyJacoba of Settisoli.
To the LadyJacoba, handmaid of the Most High, Brother Francis, the little poor one ofJesus Christ, wishes health, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost in Our LordJesus Christ.
Know, mybeloved, that Christ the Blessed has revealed to me by His grace that the endof my life is close at hand. therefore, thou dost wish to see me alive, hastenas soon as thou hast read this letter to come to St Mary of the Angels, for ifthou come later than Saturday thou wilt not find me in this world. Bring with theea coarse cloth or shroud in which to envelope my body, and some wax tapers formy burial. I also beg thee to bring some of the food thou were accustomed togive me when I was ill in Rome.
The SaintProphesies great Schisms and Tribulations
in the Church.
A SHORT time before the holy Father's death, he called together his Childrenand warned them of the coming troubles, saying: ‘Act bravely, my Brethren; takecourage, and trust in the Lord. The time is fast approaching in which therewill be great trials and afflictions; perplexities and dissensions, bothspiritual and temporal, will abound; the charity of many will grow cold, andthe malice of the wicked will increase. The devils will have unusual power, theimmaculate purity of our Order, and of others, will be so much obscured thatthere will be very few Christians who will obey the true Sovereign Pontiff andthe Roman Church with loyal hearts and perfect charity.
At the time of this tribulation a man, not canonically elected, will be raisedto the Pontificate, who, by his cunning, will endeavour to draw many into errorand death. Then scandals will be multiplied, our Order will be divided, andmany others will be entirely destroyed, because they will consent to errorinstead of opposing it. There will be such diversity of opinions and schismsamong the people, the religious and the clergy, that, except those days wereshortened, according to the words of the Gospel, even the elect would be ledinto error, were they not specially guided, amid such great confusion, by theimmense mercy of God. Then our Rule and manner of life will be violentlyopposed by some, and terrible trials will come upon us. Those who are foundfaithful will receive the crown of life ; but woe to those who, trusting solelyin their Order, shall fall into tepidity, for they will not be able to supportthe temptations permitted for the proving of the elect.
Those who preserve their fervour and adhere to virtue with love and zeal forthe truth, will suffer injuries and persecutions as rebels and schismatics; fortheir persecutors, urged on by the evil spirits, will say they are rendering agreat service to God by destroying such pestilent men from the face of theearth. But the Lord will be the refuge of the afflicted, and will save all whotrust in Him. And in order to be like their Head, these, the elect, will actwith confidence, and by their death will purchase for themselves eternal life ;choosing to obey God rather than man, they will fear nothing, and they willprefer to perish rather than consent to falsehood and perfidy. Some preacherswill keep silence about the truth, and others will trample it under foot anddeny it. Sanctity of lifewill be held in derision even by those who outwardly profess it, for in thosedays Our Lord Jesus Christ will send them not a true Pastor, but a destroyer.
该预言出自《Works of the Seraphic Father St. Francis OfAssisi》的248-250页，本书链接https://pan.baidu.com/s/1nwi9ubv