Miscellaneous Franciscan Sources - 818 

Therefore Saint Francis used to say that for this reason God wanted them to be called Lesser Brothers, because they should show themselves to be below all by humility of heart, of speech, of external deeds and habit and more humble and poorer, and never presume to be greater ones in the Church, but always seek and thirst for the depths of greater humility.

Later Rule II: 1: "If there are any who wish to accept this life and come to our brothers . . ."

Clareno immediately begins his exposition of the Later Rule's second chapter with this statement of Francis, placing it as a description of how the saint understood what it is that draws people to his fellowship and the way in which they are drawn.

When his brothers asked him candidly to encourage a man to enter the religious, Saint Francis answered: "Brothers, it is not for me or for you to induce anyone to take on our life; but it is for us to preach penance to all by the example of our deeds and words, and to attract all to the love and service of Christ and hatred and contempt of the world. It is for the Lord Himself, Who alone knows what people need, to choose and call to this life those He makes suitable, and to whom He will give the grace of taking it on and observing it."

Later Rule II 16: "Let all the brothers wear poor clothes . . ."

Although this passage is attributed to Leo and the companions, it cannot be found among those texts attributed to them and may well be a compendium of Francis's teachings scattered throughout those texts.

And as Brother Leo wrote and other companions of the same Saint testified, who survived many years after his passing from this life, in the desert of this world he taught his brothers to have nothing besides lowly and cheap clothing. And as pilgrims long for their homeland, and those held in prison desire freedom, so the poor of Christ and those who have sworn enmity to the world because of Christ and His kingdom are all the more bound to desire pilgrimage away from the prison of this world and the body.




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 818