The First Letter to the Custodians (1220) - 56 

The First Letter to the Custodians

This inspiration for this letter also expresses Francis’s concern for reverence for the Eucharist and the Word of God as well as his awareness of the post-conciliar exhortations of Pope Honorius III. Thus it was probably written after Francis’s return from the Middle East.

1To all the custodians of the Lesser Brothers whom this letter reaches,b Brother Francis, your servant and little one in the Lord God, sends a greeting together with new signs of heaven and earth which are great and extraordinary in the sight of God yet regarded as of little importance by many religious and others.c

2With all that is in me and more I beg you that, when it is fitting and you judge it expedient, you humbly beg the clergy to revere above all else the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ and His holy names and the written words that sanctify His Body. 3They should hold as precious the chalices, corporals, appointments of the altar, and everything that pertains to the sacrifice. 4If the most holy Body of the Lord is very poorly reserved in any place, let It be placed and locked up in a precious place according to the command of the Church. Let It be carried about with great reverence and administered to others with discernment. 5Let the names and written words of the Lord, whenever they are found in dirty places, be also gathered up and kept in a becoming place.

6In every sermon you give, remind people about penance and that no one can be saved unless he receives the most holy Body and Blood of the Lord.




Epistola ad custodes I, Fontes Franciscani, p. 65-66

Epistola ad custodes I

1Universis custodibus Fratrum Minorum, ad quos litterae istae pervenerint, frater Franciscus in Domino Deo vester servus et parvulus, salutem cum novis signis caeli et terrae, quae magna et excellentissima sunt apud Deum et a multis religiosis et aliis, hominibus minima reputantur.

2Rogo vos plus quam de me ipso, quatenus, cum decet et videritis expedire, clericis humiliter supplicetis, quod sanctissimum corpus et sanguinem Domini nostri Jesu Christi et sancta nomina et verba eius scripta, quae sanctificant corpus, super omnia debeant venerari. 3Calices, corporalia, ornamenta altaris et omnia, quae pertinent ad sacrificium, pretiosa habere debeant. 4Et si in aliquo loco sanctissimum corpus Domini fuerit pauperrime collocatum, iuxta mandatum Ecclesiae in loco pretioso ab eis ponatur et consignetur et cum magna veneratione portetur et cum discretione aliis ministretur. 5Nomina etiam et verba Domini scripta, ubicumque inveniantur in locis immundis, colligantur et in loco honesto debeant collocari.

6Et in omni praedicatione, quam facitis, de poenitentia populum moneatis, et quod nemo potest salvari, nisi qui recipit sanctissimum corpus et sanguinem Domini,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 56