The Little Flowers of Saint Francis (after 1337) - 582 

by God,' you will respond like this: 'Truly, you deserve to be put among the cursed.' " And Brother Leo responded, "Of course, Father." Then Saint Francis, with many tears and groans and beating his breast said in a loud voice, "O my Lord of heaven and earth, I have committed so many iniquities and sins against you, that I thoroughly deserve to be cursed by You." And Brother Leo responded, "O Brother Francis, God will do so much for you that you will be singularly blessed among the blessed." And Saint Francis, surprised that Brother Leo responded the opposite of what he had told him, rebuked him in this way: "Why don't you respond the way I teach you? I command you by holy obedience to respond as I teach you. I will say this: 'O evil little Brother Francis, do you think God will have mercy on you? You have committed so many sins against the Father of mercy and God of every consolation, 2 Cor 1:3 that you don't deserve to find mercy.' And you, Brother Leo, little lamb, will respond: 'You in no way deserve to find mercy.' " But when Saint Francis said, "O evil little Brother Francis," etc., Brother Leo responded: "God the Father, whose mercy is infinitely more than your sin, will have great mercy on you, and on top of this He will add many graces." At this response, Saint Francis, sweetly angered and patiently upset, said to Brother Leo, "And why have you got the presumption to act contrary to obedience? You've already responded several times the opposite of what I've ordered you!" Brother Leo responded very humbly and reverently, "God knows, my Father: each time I tried in my heart to respond as you commanded me, but God makes me speak as it pleases Him, not as it pleases me." Saint Francis was surprised by this, and said to Brother Leo. "I beg you most dearly that you respond this time as I've told you." Brother Leo responded, "In the name of God, say it, and this time for sure I will respond as you want." And Saint Francis said tearfully, "O evil little Brother Francis, do you think that God has mercy on you?" Brother Leo responded, "More than that, you will receive great grace from God and He will exalt you and glorify you forever, since whoever humbles himself will be exalted. And I cannot say anything else, since God speaks through my mouth." And so, in this humble contest, with many tears and much spiritual consolation, they kept vigil until daybreak.

To the praise of Jesus Christ
and the poor little man Francis.




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 582