The Remembrance of the Desire of a Soul - 345 

would readily obey a novice of one hour, if he were given to me as my guardian, as carefully as I would obey the oldest and most discerning. For a subject should not consider his prelate a human being, but rather the One for love of whom he is subject. And the more contemptibly he presides, the more pleasing is the humility of the one who obeys."

Chapter CXII
HOW HE DESCRIBES ONE WHO TRULY OBEYS,
AND THREE SORTS OF OBEDIENCE

152 Another time, when he was sitting with his companions, blessed Francis let out a sigh: "There is hardly a single religious in the whole world who obeys his prelate perfectly!" His companions, disturbed, said to him: "Tell us, father, what is the perfect and highest obedience?" And he replied, describing someone truly obedient using the image of a dead body:a "Take a lifeless corpse and place it wherever you want. You will see that it does not resist being moved, does not complain about the location, or protest if left. Sit it on a throne, and it will look down, not up; dress it in purple and it will look twice as pale. This," said he, "is someone who really obeys: he doesn't argue about why he's being moved; he doesn't care where he's placed; he doesn't pester you to transfer him. When he's raised to an office, he keeps his usual humility, and the more he's honored, the more he considers himself unworthy."

On another occasion, speaking about this same matter, he said that things granted because of a request were really "permissions," but things that are ordered and not requested he called "holy obediences." He said that both were good, but the latter was safer. But he believed that the best of all, in which flesh and blood had no part, was the one by which one goes "among the non-believers, by divine inspiration" either for the good of one's neighbor or from a desire for martyrdom. He considered this request very acceptable to God.

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Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 345