The Remembrance of the Desire of a Soul - 358 

CHARITY

Chapter CXXXI
HIS CHARITY
AND HOW HE SHOWED HIMSELF AN EXAMPLE OF PERFECTION FOR THE
SALVATION OF SOULS

172 The power of love
had made him
a brother to other creatures;
no wonder the charity of Christ 2 Cor 5:14
made him even more a brother to those marked
with the image of the Creator.

He would say that nothing should be placed ahead of the salvation of souls and would often demonstrate this with the fact that the Only-begotten Son of God saw fit to hang on the cross for the sake of souls. From this arose his effort in prayer, his frequent travel in preaching and his extraordinary behavior in giving example.

He would not consider himself a friend of Christ unless he loved the souls which He loved. For him this was the principal cause for revering the doctors of theology: they are the helpers of Christ, who carry out with Christ this office. With all the unbounded affection of the depths of his heart, he embraced the brothers themselves as fellow members in the household of the same faith, united by a share in an eternal inheritance.

173 Whenever somebody criticized him for the austerity of his life, he would reply that he was given to the Order as an example, as an eagle that prompts her young to fly. His innocent flesh, which already submitted freely to the spirit, had no need of the whip because of any offense. Still he renewed its punishments because of example, staying on hard paths only for the sake of others. And he was right.

In prelates what the hand does is noticed more than what the tongue says. By your deeds, Father, you convinced more gently; you persuaded more easily, you proved things more certainly. For if they were to speak in the tongues of men and angels, but without showing examples of charity, it profits little; they profit nothing. For if the one who gives correction is not feared, and gives his will as the reason to act,a will

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Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 358