The Life of Saint Francis by Thomas of Celano - 223 

46 In this way holy simplicity filled them,
innocence of life taught them,
and purity of heart so possessed them
that they were completely ignorant of duplicity of heart.
For just as there was in them one faith,
so there was one spirit,
one will, one charity, continual unity of spirit,
harmony in living, cultivation of virtues,
agreement of minds, and loyalty in actions.

For example, they often used to confess their sins to a certain secular priest, even when his wickedness had been reported to them by many people. He had a very bad reputation and was despised by everyone else because of the enormity of his misdeeds. But they did not wish to believe it; so they did not stop confessing their sins to him as usual, nor stop showing him proper reverence.

One day he, or another priest, said to one of the brothers, "Watch out, brother, don't be a hypocrite!" The brother immediately believed that he was a hypocrite because of the priest's statement. For this rea- son, he was crying and weeping day and night, moved by deep sorrow. When the brothers asked him what caused such grief and unusual gloom, he answered, "A priest told me something that has upset me so much that I can hardly think about anything else." The brothers kept trying to console him and urged him not to believe it. But he said, "How can you say that, brothers? A priest told me this. Could a priest lie? Since a priest does not lie, we must believe what he said." Remaining for a long time in this simplicity, he finally gave in to the words of the blessed father who explained to him the priest's statement and wisely excused his intention. For in almost any case of disturbance of mind in one of the brothers, at his burning words the clouds would break up and clear weather would return.

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Vita Prima, Fontes Franciscani, p. 320-321


461Sic enim eos repleverat sancta simplicitas,
sic eos innocentia vitae docebat,
sic eos cordis puritas possidebat,
ut duplicitatem animi penitus ignorarent,
quia sicut una fides,
ita unus spiritus erat in eis,
una voluntas, una charitas, animorum cohaerentia semper,
morum concordia, virtutum cultus,
conformitas mentium et pietas actionum.

2Nam dum cuidam sacerdoti ex saecularibus, qui meritis valde infamis erat et enormitate scelerum ab omnibus contemnendus, confiterentur saepe peccata sua et per multos eis innotuisset illius nequitia, nullo modo tamen credere voluerunt, nec propterea omiserunt peccata sua ei solito confiteri, nec debitam impendere reverentiam.

3Et quidem cum ipse vel alius sacerdos cuidam e fratribus quadam die dixisset: « Vide, frater, ne sis hypocrita », statim, propter sacerdotis verbum, credidit se frater ille hypocritam esse. 4Propter quod die ac noete lamentabatur, nimio dolore affectus. 5Quaerentibus autem ab eo fratribus, quid sibi vellet tanta moestitia et tam insuetus moeror, respondit dicens: « Sacerdos quidam tale verbum mihi locutus est, de quo tanto dolore afficior quod vix possum aliud cogitare ». 6Consolabantur autem eum fratres, et ne sic crederet hortabantur. 7Quibus ipse dicebat: « Quid est quod dicitis, fratres? Sacerdos est qui locutus est verbum hoc, potestne mentiri sacerdos? 8Cum ergo sacerdos non mentiatur, necesse igitur est ut quod locutus est, verum esse credamus ». 9Sicque diu in hac simplicitate perdurans, verbis tandem patris beatissimi acquievit, qui ei verbum sacerdotis exposuit et eius intentionem sagaciter excusavit. — 10Vix alicui fratrum tanta posset mentis inesse turbatio, quod ad eius ignitum eloquium e non discederet omne nubilum rediretque serenum.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 223

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