The Kinship of Saint Francis - 702 


17 Brother Riccerio of the Marches of Ancona, whom blessed Francis loved with great affection, came one day to visit the sick blessed Francis in the palace of the bishop of Assisi. Among other points he discussed with blessed Francis about the state of the religion and the observance of the Rule, he said to blessed Francis: "Tell me, Father, when you first began to have brothers, what was your intention? And what is it now, and what do you believe it will be until the day of your death? Because I want to be sure of your intention and of your first and last wish, so that we, cleric brothers who have many books, may keep them, although we will say that they belong to the religion?"

Blessed Francis told him: "I tell you, Brother, that it has been and is my first intention and will, if the brothers would only heed it, that no brother should have anything except a tunic as the Rule allows us, together with a cord and underwear."

17a Another time the holy man said: "Our religion and that of the brothers is a little flock, which the Son of God in this very last hour has asked of His heavenly Father, saying: 'Father, I want you to make and give me a new and humble people in this very last hour, who will be unlike all others by their humility and poverty, and be content to have me alone.' And the Father said to His beloved Son: 'My Son, Your request has been fulfilled.'"

This is why blessed Francis would say: "Therefore, the Lord willed and revealed to him that they be called Lesser Brothers, because they are the poor and humble people whom the Son of God asked of the Father. They are the ones of whom He said in the Gospel: 'Do not be afraid, little flock, for it has pleased Your Father to give you the kingdom;' and again, 'What you did for one of the these, the lesser of my brothers, you did it for me.' For, although the Lord may be understood to be speaking of all the spiritually poor, he was nevertheless predicting the religion of the Lesser Brothers that was to come to His Church."

17c And blessed Francis added: "Isn't it great that the Lord wanted to have one, new, and little people among all those who preceded them, who would be content to have Him alone, the Most High and most glorious?"




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 702