The Book of Chronicles (Prologue and the First Tribulation) - 389 

grace. They shall neglect to do violence to themselves that they may seize the kingdom of God. Because of this the religion will diminish and decline from perfection, and the fervor of perfect charity will begin to grow tepid. There shall also be some who innocently and faithfully follow after us in sorrow and weariness, and they shall be afflicted and oppressed by those who differ from them.

201 "Then, after that tribulation of evils and sufferings, the situation will decline toward what is worse and even more bitter. Evil spirits shall attack the religion, and many shall rise against it: those living carnal, animal lives in the religion shall be multiplied, and they shall be entangled and caught in the delights and the cares of life.a

204 "They shall shamelessly throw themselves into lawsuits in order to acquire money, bequests, and legacies. They shall withdraw from love of holy poverty and humility. In hatred they shall persecute and punish those in the religion who resist them. Because of this their words and deeds, internally and externally, shall be very bitter. Internally, they shall move away from poverty, humility, and prayer; they shall give themselves ambitiously to learning and lecturing, and they shall prefer words to virtues, learning to holiness, pride and arrogance to humility. Accusing those who oppose them, they shall call it piety to shame and oppress them by deceit, and will preach that it is justice to wage war upon them. They shall disturb clerics and fall away from reverence for them, contradicting the humility they promised. The laity shall be scandalized by their greed for things, and they shall give an example of frivolity and vanity in their changing places, and in sumptuous and ornate buildings. They will bite and devour each other. They will pant for ecclesiastical honors, competing among themselves to be and to appear superior. But they shall despise as crazy brothers who try to cling to humility and labor to rise up to Heaven through a pure observance of their promises. They will revile such brothers as useless and good for nothing, but they will admire and extol those intent on seeking high offices, and praise their prudence.

220 "Therefore, after these things, their conduct and life will be very bitter and completely unbearable to everyone, and they shall shame and persecute and defame each other. The stench of their conduct will be impossible to hide. Then the religion beloved by God will be so defamed by bad example that the good brothers will be ashamed to go out in public. Then every wicked man will turn the




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 389