A Mirror of the Perfection (The Sabatier Edition, 1928) - 342 

he especially liked in his brothers, and he would, moreover, frequently rebuke them because of their acedia and sadness.a

He used to say: "If a servant of God always strives to have and preserve internally and externally the spiritual joy that proceeds from purity of heart and is acquired through the devotion of prayer, the devils could do him no harm. They would say: 'Since the servant of God has joy both in tribulation and in prosperity, we are not able to find an entrance to enter him and do him harm. The devils would be delighted when they can extinguish or prevent devotion and joy in the heart of a servant of God which spring from clean prayer and other virtuous deeds.

"For if the devil can have something of his own in a servant of God, he will in a short time make a single hair into a beam, always making it bigger, unless the servant of God is wise and careful, removing and destroying it as quickly as possible by means of the power of holy prayer, contrition, confession, and works of satisfaction.

"Therefore, my brothers, because spiritual joy springs from integrity of heart and the purity of constant prayer, it must be your primary concern to acquire and preserve these two virtues, to possess internal, as well as external joy. I so fervently desire and love to see this both in myself and in you, for the edification of the neighbor and the defeat of the enemy. It is the fate of the devil and his minions to be sad, and it is our lot to rejoice always and be glad in the Lord." Phil 4:4


Blessed Francis used to say: "Since I know that the devils envy me because of the gifts that the Lord has given me, I know and see inasmuch as they cannot harm me through myself, they try to hurt me through my companions. If they cannot do harm either through me or through my companions, they withdraw in great confusion. Indeed whenever I feel tempted and depressed and I look at the joy of my companion, because of that joy I immediately turn away from temptation and acedia toward inner and outer joy."

That is why the father rebuked severely those who showed their sadness outwardly. One day he reproved one of his companions who looked sad and long-faced. He told him: "Why do you outwardly




Speculum Perfectionis, Fontes Franciscani, p.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 342