A Collection of Sayings of the Companions of Blessed Francis - 118 

rough sackcloth, and it showed it was rather ashamed of that sackcloth covering.

3He was amazed at seeing this, and the angel said to him: "Why do you gawk and gaze? This form which you see signifies the beginning, development, and end which your religion will have, until the time it goes into labor, the time of the reform of the life of Christ and of the state of the Church. The golden head is you, with all your companions who are filled with the love of God and carry Christ and His death in your soul and body. But those who will come after you, having put aside prayer, will turn to knowledge which inflates, 1 Cor 8:1 eagerness for lectures and a multitude of books under the pretext of their neighbor's edification and the salvation of souls. And because they prefer verbs to virtues, and science to sanctity,a they will remain cold within and devoid of charity, having changed gold into cold and heavy silver. They will pant for praises and honors, wishing, not to be better than others, but to appear so. Thus, to great loss, like bad merchants, they will exchange the silver of eloquence and learning for a hypocritical simulation in bronze, producing their works in order to get human praise, and always for a good profit. But their simulation and hypocrisy cannot be concealed for long; and they will lose their worth in the eyes of those who praised them, and when they sense this they will start to become angry and indignant against those they once tried so hard to please, eagerly seeking opportunities to persecute and afflict those who have stopped revering and complimenting them. In this way ringing bronze will be transformed into hard and harsh iron, and they will be fragile, and impatient like tile.

10"This cheap, rough and short sackcloth with which I cover my shoulders is the cheapness and austerity of poverty which the brothers promised the Lord they would wear proudly. But abandoning it, they will cling to every kind of relaxation concerning tunics, books, and other things. And they will rejoice so inanely before people in the name and reputation of poverty, but in deeds and behavior will be ashamed of it, and will persecute it among themselves and in others; therefore I show that I wear this habit with deep shame."

12And this is one of the reasons why it is said pointedly in the Rule that all the brothers should wear cheap clothing, so that the brothers who refuse to do this and prohibit doing this may have no excuse in their consciences.




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 118