The Kinship of Saint Francis - 703 


18 If any brother wanted to ask why blessed Francis in his own time did not make the brothers observe a strict poverty as he told Brother Riccerio, and did not order it to be observed, we who were with him would respond to this as we heard from his own mouth. Because he told the brothers this and many other things, and also had written down in the Rule what he requested from the Lord with relentless prayer and meditation for the good of the religion, affirming that it was completely the Lord's will.

Afterwards, when he showed this to the brothers, they seemed harsh and unbearable, for they did not know what was going to happen to the religion after his death. And because he greatly feared scandal for himself and for the brothers, he did not want to argue with them; but he complied with their wish, although unwillingly, and excused himself before the Lord and before them. But, that the word of the Lord, which He put in his mouth for the good of the brothers, would not return to the Lord empty, he wanted to fulfill it in himself, so that he might obtain a reward from the Lord. And, at last, he found peace in this and his spirit was comforted.

18b And Brother Leo added: "We who were with him when he wrote the Rule and almost all his other writings bear witness that he had many things written in the Rule and in his other writings, to which certain brothers, especially prelates, were opposed. So it happened that on points where the brothers were opposed to blessed Francis during his life, now, after his death, they would be very useful to the whole religion. Because he greatly feared scandal, he gave in, although unwillingly, to the wishes of the brothers. But he often repeated this saying: 'Woe to those brothers who are opposed to what I know to be the will of God for the greatest good of the religion, even if I have unwillingly given in to their wishes.'

"He often said to his companions: 'Here lies my pain and grief: those things which I received from God by His mercy with great effort of prayer and meditation for the present and future good of the religion, and which are, as He assured me, in accordance with His will, some of the brothers relying on the skill of their prudence, oppose me saying: "These things must be kept; but not those!" ' "




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 703