A Mirror of the Perfection (The Sabatier Edition, 1928) - 327 

81
HOW THE LORD SPOKE TO HIM WHEN HE WAS PROFOUNDLY DISTRESSED BY BROTHERS WHO DEVIATED FROM PERFECTION

Because of the boundless zeal that he had at all times for the perfection of the religion, he was naturally grieved when he would hear or see any imperfection in it. He began to realize that some brothers were giving a bad example in religion and that the brothers were already beginning to turn aside from the highest summit of their profession. One time, moved inwardly with very great sorrow of heart, Gn 6:6 he said to the Lord in prayer: "Lord I give back to you the family You gave me."

And the Lord immediately said to him: "Tell me, simple and unlettered little man, why are you so upset when one of the brothers leaves religion and when others do not walk the way I showed you? Also tell me: Who planted this religion of the brothers? Who makes a man convert and do penance? Who gives the strength to persevere in it? Is it not I? I did not choose you as a learned or eloquent man to be over my family. I do not want you nor those I gave you who intend to be true brothers and true observers of the Rule that I gave you to walk the way of learning and eloquence. But I chose you, a simple Acts 4:13 and unlettered man, so that you and the others may know that I will watch over my flock. But I have placed you as a sign to them, so that the works that I work in you, they should see in you, emulate, and do them. For those who walk in the way I showed you, have me and have me more abundantly. Those who want to walk in another way, that which they seem to have will be taken away from them. Mt 25:29 Therefore, I tell you, from now on don't be so sad; do what you do, work as you work, for I have planted the religion of the brothers in everlasting love. Know that I love it so much that if any brother, returning to his vomit, Prv 26:11 2 Pt 2:22 dies outside religion I will replace him with another in religion who will have his crown in his place, and supposing that he has not been born, I will have him born. And so that you know that I love the life and religion of the brothers, suppose that in the whole religion of the brothers only three brothers remained, it would still be my religion and I would never abandon it."

And when he heard these things, his soul was wonderfully comforted.

And, although on account of the great zeal that he always had for the perfection of the religion, he could not totally restrain himself from becoming extremely sad when he heard of any imperfections of the brothers from which bad example or scandal could

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Speculum Perfectionis, Fontes Franciscani, p.


Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 327