Front Page Titles (by Subject) PART II.: SIX LETTERS OF ST. FRANCIS - The Writings of Saint Francis of Assisi
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PART II.: SIX LETTERS OF ST. FRANCIS - Saint Francis of Assisi, The Writings of Saint Francis of Assisi 
The Writings of Saint Francis of Assisi, newly translated into English with an Introduction and Notes by Father Paschal Robinson (Philadelphia: The Dolphin Press, 1906).
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SIX LETTERS OF ST. FRANCIS
The Letters of St. Francis.
Or the seventeen letters attributed to St. Francis in Wadding’s edition of the Opuscula, five cannot be admitted as genuine, at least in the form given in that work, and the rest need, with two exceptions, to be reclassified
In the first category, we must place the familiar letter in which St. Francis gives St. Antony permission to teach theology (Epistle III, in Wadding’s edition), and which has been excluded by the Quaracchi editors as doubtful on the ground that it exists in too many different forms.1 The letters to Brother Elias, to the Provincial Ministers, and to the Custodes (Epistles VII, IX, and XIV, in Wadding’s edition), were translated by Wadding into Latin from a Spanish text,2 and have not come down to us in their original form. Hence they do not figure in the Quaracchi edition. Neither does the letter (Epis. XVII, in Wadding’s edition) to “Brother” Giacoma dei Settisoli, which is clearly an extract from Chapter XVIII of the Actus B. Francisci et Sociorum ejus.3 Following the Quaracchi editors, I have excluded these five letters from the present work.
As regards the reclassification of the other letters attributed to St. Francis by Wadding, Epistles IV, V, and XIII in his edition are without doubt genuine writings of St. Francis, but they are not letters; at least, the oldest MSS. do not give them in epistolary form. The two former are fragments of a “rule of life” and a “last wish,” written by St. Francis for St. Clare; No. XIII is an Instruction on the Blessed Sacrament. All three are given elsewhere in the present volume in their proper form.1 For the rest, the Epistles numbered I and II by Wadding form the text of one and the same letter “To all the Faithful,” those numbered VI and VIII seem to be a summary of the genuine letter “To a Minister,” and No. X is part of the letter “To the General Chapter” also given below, while Epistles XI and XII form but one letter in the oldest codices and belong to this same letter to the General Chapter. The only two letters, then, of St. Francis which, both as regards matter and form, may be accepted as Wadding gives them, are numbers VIII and XV, addressed to the Rulers and to Brother Leo respectively. In a word, as a result of this process of elimination and reclassification, only five of the seventeen letters ascribed to St Francis by Wadding remain to us, namely —
1. Letter to all the Faithful (Ep I and II of Wadding).
2. Letter to the General Chapter (Ep. X, XI, and XII of Wadding).
3 Letter to a Minister (Ep. VI and VIII of Wadding).
4. Letter to the Rulers (Ep. XV of Wadding).
5. Letter to Brother Leo (Ep. XVI of Wadding).
To these five letters, the Quaracchi editors have added the undoubtedly authentic letter of St Francis to the Custodes,1 making six in all Such are the six letters which I have here rendered into English. Let us now consider each of them in order
Letter to all the Faithful.
The authenticity of this letter has never been called into question. The text itself and the consensus of codices alike bespeak its genuineness. Its inspiration is, as the Quaracchi editors have pointed out, kindred to that of St. Francis’ other writings. Moreover, many of the sentiments contained in this letter, written in great part in the words of the Gospel, are expressed by the Saint in almost the self-same language in the Rules and elsewhere.1
In the spring of 1215, St. Francis suffered again from an attack of fever similar to that which had prostrated him in Spain. It was then, his biographers tell us,2 that the Saint, unable as he was to preach, was moved by the zeal that devoured him, to put his message into writing. As a result we have this the first and longest of his letters, addressed to all the Faithful,—a precious example of his far-reaching solicitude and all embracing sympathy. There is a simplicity in the superscription and opening words of this letter characteristic of the Middle Ages. Then was the time when men believed that if they had a good idea or a deep feeling on any subject, the world at large had but to learn of this idea or feeling and it would immediately adopt it. It was thus that some bishops of the south of France, having established the Truce of God, wrote “to all the archbishops, bishops, priests and clerics inhabiting all Italy” to recommend to them “this new method come from heaven” of reestablishing and fixing peace among men. Even so Dante, in the excess of his grief, wrote “to all the princes of the earth” to make known to them that, in losing Beatrice, “the earth had lost its spring and the future of the world was threatened”1 Thus too St. Francis undertook in the present letter to recall “to all the Christians who are in the whole world,” those eternal truths which are ever old and ever new, convinced as he was that the world must needs walk in their light if it only realized them more. For the rest, as has been remarked, the description it contains of the death of a rich man is, from a literary point of view, rightly considered the most carefully composed bit of St. Francis’ writing that has come down to us.
A fragment containing this realistic picture was published in 1900 by M. Sabatier,2 who believed it to be a new and complete opuscule of St. Francis. But the very Incipit of the piece, “The body grows feeble, death approaches . . .” and the Explicit, “dies a bitter death,” clearly show that, with the exception of a few words at the opening, this “nouveau opuscule” is nothing more or less than an extract from St. Francis’ letter to all the Faithful.
Wadding, as I have already noted, following the lead of Rodolfo di Tossignano,3 unskilfully divided this letter into two distinct epistles (I and II in his edition). He has also distributed the letter into twelve chapters with separate titles. No doubt he was justified in doing so by the example of some codices, but the Quaracchi editors, following the best MSS, have omitted this division and it will not be found in the present translation.1
The letter to all the Faithful may be found entire in seventeen of the codices mentioned above, to wit, those at Assisi (fol 23), Berlin (fol 105); Florence (Ognissanti MS., fol. 7), St. Floriano (fol. 36); Foligno (fol 25), Lemberg (fol 341); Liegnitz (fol. 136), Munich (fol. 31), Oxford (fol 98), Paris (Maz. MS. 1743, fol. 137; Maz. MS 989, fol 193, Prot. theol. fac MS., fol. 88); Rome (St Isidore’s MSS 1/25, fol. 18 and 1/7, fol. 15; Vatican MSS. 4354, fol 43, and 7650, fol 16), and at Dusseldorf (cod. B 132, fol. not numbered).
Fragments of the letter may also be found in the codices at Luttich (fol 158); Naples (F. 24, fol. 107), and Volterra (fol. 148)2 For the text contained in the Quaracchi edition, the editors took as a basis the MSS. of Assisi and Ognissanti, collating these with the codices at St Isidore’s and with the versions of the letter given in the Monumenta (tract II, fol. 278 r) and the Conformities (fruct. XII, P. 11).3 It is the Quaracchi text that I have here translated as follows:
LETTER TO ALL THE FAITHFUL.
To all Christians, religious, clerics, and laics, men and women, to all who dwell in the whole world, Brother Francis, their servant and subject, presents reverent homage, wishing true peace from heaven and sincere charity in the Lord.
Being the servant of all, I am bound to serve all and to administer the balm-bearing words of my Lord.1 Wherefore, considering in my mind that, because of the infirmity and weakness of my body, I cannot visit each one personally, I propose by this present letter and message2 to offer you the words of our Lord Jesus Christ who is the Word of the Father and the words of the Holy Ghost which are “spirit and life”3
This Word of the Father, so worthy, so holy and glorious, whose coming the most High Father announced from heaven by His holy archangel Gabriel to the holy and glorious Virgin Mary4 in whose womb He received the true flesh of our humanity and frailty, He, being rich5 above all, willed, nevertheless, with His most Blessed Mother, to choose poverty.
And when His Passion was nigh, He celebrated the Pasch with His disciples and, taking bread, He gave thanks and blessed and broke saying: Take ye and eat: this is My Body. And, taking the chalice, He said: This is My Blood of the New Testament, which shall be shed for you and for many unto remission of sins.1 After that He prayed to the Father, saying: “Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from Me.”2 “And His sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground.”3 But withal, He gave up His will to the will of the Father, saying: Father, Thy will be done: not as I will, but as Thou wilt.4 Such was the will of the Father that His Son, Blessed and Glorious, whom He gave to us, and who was born for us,5 should by His own Blood, sacrifice, and oblation, offer Himself on the altar of the Cross, not for Himself, by whom “all things were made,”6 but for our sins, leaving us an example that we should follow His steps.7 And He wishes that we should all be saved by Him8 and that we should receive Him with a pure heart and a chaste body. But there are few who wish to receive Him and to be saved by Him, although His yoke is sweet and His burden light9
Those who will not taste how sweet the Lord is10 and who love darkness rather than the light,11 not wishing to fulfil the commandments of God are cursed: of them it is said by the prophet: “They are cursed who decline from Thy commandments.”12 But, O how happy and blessed are those who love the Lord, who do as the Lord Himself says in the Gospel: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and with thy whole soul and . . . thy neighbor as thyself.”1 Let us therefore love God and adore Him with a pure heart and a pure mind because He Himself, seeking that above all, says: “The true adorers shall adore the Father in spirit and in truth.”2 For all who “adore Him, must adore Him in spirit and in truth.”3 And let us offer Him praises and prayers day and night, saying: “Our Father who art in heaven,” for “we ought always to pray, and not to faint.”4
We ought indeed to confess all our sins to a priest and receive from him the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.5 He who does not eat His Flesh and does not drink His Blood cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.6 Let him, however, eat and drink worthily, because he who receives unworthily “eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the Body of the Lord,”7 —that is, not discerning it from other foods.
Let us, moreover, “bring forth fruits worthy of penance.”8 And let us love our neighbors as ourselves, and, if any one does not wish to love them as himself or cannot,1 let him at least do them not harm, but let him do good to them.
Let those who have received the power of judging others, exercise judgment with mercy,2 as they hope to obtain mercy from the Lord For let judgment without mercy be shown to him that doth not mercy.3 Let us then have charity and humility and let us give alms because they wash souls from the foulness of sins.4 For men lose all which they leave in this world; they carry with them, however, the reward of charity and alms which they have given, for which they shall receive a recompense and worthy remuneration from the Lord.
We ought also to fast and to abstain from vices and sins5 and from superfluity of food and drink, and to be Catholics. We ought also to visit Churches frequently and to reverence clerics not only for themselves, if they are sinners, but on account of their office and administration of the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which they sacrifice on the altar and receive and administer to others. And let us all know for certain that no one can be saved except by the Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ and by the holy words of the Lord which clerics say and announce and distribute and they alone administer and not others. But religious especially, who have renounced the world, are bound to do more and greater things, but “not to leave the other undone.”1
We ought to hate our bodies with [their] vices and sins, because the Lord says in the Gospel that all vices and sins come forth from the heart.2 We ought to love our enemies and do good to them that hate us.3 We ought to observe the precepts and counsels of our Lord Jesus Christ. We ought also to deny ourselves and to put our bodies beneath the yoke of servitude and holy obedience as each one has promised to the Lord. And let no man be bound by obedience to obey any one in that where sin or offence is committed.
But let him to whom obedience has been entrusted and who is considered greater become as the lesser4 and the servant of the other brothers, and let him show and have the mercy toward each of his brothers that he would wish to be shown to himself if he were in the like situation. And let him not be angry with a brother on account of his offence, but let him advise him kindly and encourage him with all patience and humility.
We ought not to be “wise according to the flesh”5 and prudent, but we ought rather to be simple, humble, and pure. And let us hold our bodies in dishonor and contempt because through our fault we are all wretched and corrupt, foul and worms, as the Lord says by the prophet: “I am a worm and no man, the reproach of men and the outcast of the people.”1 We should never desire to be above others, but ought rather to be servants and subject “to every human creature for God’s sake.”2 And the spirit of the Lord3 shall rest upon all those who do these things and who shall persevere to the end, and He shall make His abode and dwelling in them,4 and they shall be children of the heavenly Father5 whose works they do, and they are the spouses, brothers and mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are spouses when by the Holy Ghost the faithful soul is united to Jesus Christ. We are His brothers when we do the will of His Father who is in heaven.6 We are His mothers when we bear Him in our heart and in our body through pure love and a clean conscience and we bring Him forth by holy work which ought to shine as an example to others.
O how glorious and holy and great to have a Father in heaven! O how holy, fair, and lovable to have a spouse in heaven!7 O how holy and how beloved, well pleasing and humble, peaceful and sweet and desirable above all to have such a brother who has laid down His life for His sheep,8 and who has prayed for us to the Father, saying: Father, keep them in Thy Name whom Thou hast given Me. Father, all those whom Thou hast given Me in the world were Thine, and Thou hast given them to Me. And the words which Thou gavest Me I have given to them; and they have received them, and have known in very deed that I came forth from Thee, and they have believed that Thou didst send Me. I pray for them: not for the world: bless and sanctify them. And for them I sanctify Myself that they may be sanctified in one as We also are. And I will, Father, that where I am, they also may be with Me, that they may see My glory in My kingdom.1
And since He has suffered so many things for us and has done and will do so much good to us, let every creature which is in heaven and on earth and in the sea and in the abysses render praise to God and glory and honor and benediction;2 for He is our strength and power who alone is good,3 alone most high, alone almighty and admirable, glorious and alone holy, praiseworthy and blessed without end forever and ever. Amen.
But all those who do not do penance and who do not receive the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, but who give themselves to vices and sins and walk after evil concupiscence and bad desires and who do not observe what they have promised, corporally they serve the world and its fleshly desires and cares and solicitudes for this life, but mentally they serve the devil, deceived by him whose sons they are and whose works they do; blind they are because they see not the true light,—our Lord Jesus Christ. They have no spiritual wisdom, for they have not in them the Son of God who is the true wisdom of the Father: of these it is said: “their wisdom was swallowed up”1 They know, understand, and do evil and wittingly lose their souls. Beware, ye blind, deceived by your enemies—to wit, by the world, the flesh and by the devil—for it is sweet to the body to commit sin and bitter to serve God because all vices and sins come forth and proceed from the heart of man, as it is said in the Gospel2
And you have nothing of good in this world or in the future. You think to possess for long the vanities of this world, but you are deceived; for a day and an hour will come of which you think not and do not know and are ignorant of. The body grows feeble, death approaches, neighbors and friends come saying: “Put your affairs in order.” And his wife and his children, neighbors and friends, make believe to weep. And looking, he sees them weeping and is moved by a bad emotion, and thinking within himself he says: “Behold, I place my soul and body and my all in your hands.” Verily, that man is cursed who confides and exposes his soul and body and his all in such hands. Wherefore, the Lord says by the prophet: “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man.”1 And at once they cause a priest to come and the priest says to him: “Wilt thou do penance for all thy sins?” He answers: “I will” “Wilt thou from thy substance, as far as thou canst, satisfy for what thou hast done and for the things in which thou hast defrauded and deceived men.”2 He answers. “No.”—And the priest says: “Why not?”—“Because I have put everything into the hands of my relatives and friends” And he begins to lose the power of speech and thus this miserable man dies a bitter death.3
But let all know that wheresoever or howsoever a man may die in criminal sin, without satisfaction—when he could satisfy and did not satisfy—the devil snatches his soul from his body with such violence and anguish as no one can know except him who suffers it. And all talent and power, learning and wisdom4 that he thought to possess are taken from him5 And his relatives and friends take to themselves his substance and divide it and say afterwards: “Cursed be his soul because he could have acquired and given us more than he did, and did not acquire it.” But the worms eat his body. And thus he loses soul and body in this short life and goes into hell, where he shall be tormented without end.
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.1 All to whom this letter may come, I, Brother Francis, your little servant, pray and conjure you by the charity which God is,2 and with the will to kiss your feet, to receive these balm-bearing words3 of our Lord Jesus Christ with humility and charity and to put them in practice kindly and to observe them perfectly.4 And let those who do not know how to read have them read often and let them keep them by them with holy operation unto the end, for they are spirit and life.5 And those who do not do this shall render an account on the day of Judgment before the tribunal of Christ. And all those who shall receive them kindly and understand them and send them to others as example, if they persevere in them unto the end,6 may the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost bless them. Amen.
Letter to all the Friars.
It was at the end of his days1 when he was ill,2 that St. Francis wrote this letter to the Minister General and to all the Friars. In it he confesses all his sins to God, to the Saints and to the Friars, and in weighty words urges once again what was ever uppermost in his mind and heart reverence toward the Blessed Sacrament, observance of the Rule and the Divine Office. The same desires and counsels contained in this letter may also be found in the Testament, and there is little doubt that both works were composed about the same time.
This letter, like the preceding one, was wrongly divided by Rodolfo di Tossignano.3 Wadding following suit, made three separate epistles out of it,4 an error all the more remarkable since Bartholomew of Pisa in his Conformities (fruct. xii, P. 11, n. 47) and before him Ubertino da Casale in the Arbor Vitae (l. v, c. vii, fol. 224) had edited the text correctly. Moreover, this useless division, which is not called for by the context of the letter but is rather in conflict with it, is not found in any of the early MS. collections containing St. Francis’ writings.
The letter to all the Friars may be found in fourteen of the MSS. mentioned above as containing the letter to all the Faithful, to wit, those of Assisi, Dusseldorf, Florence (Ognissanti), St Floriano, Foligno, Liegnitz, Munich, Oxford, Paris (all three MSS), and Rome (both MSS at St. Isidore’s and cod. 4354 of the Vatican library) It is also contained in eight other codices (1) Capistran (munic lib. cod xxii, fol 85 r); (2) Freiburg in Switzerland (lib. ad Conventual Conv, cod. 23, l 60); (3) Paris (nat lib. cod 18327, fol. 159 v); (4-5) Subiaco (monast. lib cod. 120, fol. 325 and 212, fol. 184), (6-7) Rome (St Antony’s cod, fol. 61 r and 80 r, and Vatic lib, cod B 82, fol 147 v), (8) Volterra (Guarnacci lib, cod 225, fol 151 r). Of these last named codices, the two Roman MSS and that of Volterra date from the fourteenth century, the other five from the fifteenth.
For the Quaracchi text of the letter, which is here translated, the MSS. of Assisi,1 St Antony’s, Ognissanti, and St Isidore’s, were collated with the versions of it given in the Arbor Vitae (l v, cap vii, fol. 224 v), Monumenta (fol 281 v) and Firmamenta (fol. 21 r).2 It may be noted that in placing the prayer, “Almighty, Eternal God,” etc., at the end of the letter, the Quaracchi editors have followed the order of the Assisian, Antonian, Liegnitz, and both Mazarin MSS.3 But enough by the way of introduction to Letter II, which St. Francis addressed —
TO ALL THE FRIARS.
In the name of the Highest Trinity and Holy Unity of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.1
To all the reverend and much beloved brothers, to2 the minister general of the Order of Minors, its lord, and to the other ministers general who shall come after him, and to all the ministers and custodes and priests of the same brotherhood, humble in Christ, and to all the simple and obedient brothers, the first and the last, Brother Francis, a mean and fallen man, your little servant, gives greeting in Him who has redeemed and washed us in His Precious Blood,3 and whom when you hear His Name adore ye with fear and reverence, prostrate on the ground;4 the Lord Jesus Christ, such is the Name5 of the most High Son, blessed forever. Amen
Hear, my lords, my sons and my brothers, and with your ears receive my words.1 Incline the ear2 of your heart and obey the voice of the Son of God. Keep His commandments with all your heart and fulfil His counsels with a perfect mind. Praise Him for He is good3 and extol Him in your works,4 for therefore He has sent you through all the world that by word and deed you may bear witness to His voice,5 and you may make known to all that there is no other Almighty besides Him.6 Persevere under discipline7 and obedience and with a good and firm purpose fulfil what you have promised Him. The Lord God offers Himself to you as to His sons.8
Wherefore, brothers, kissing your feet and with the charity of which I am capable, I conjure you all to show all reverence and all honor possible to the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom the things that are in heaven and the things that are on earth are pacified and reconciled to Almighty God.9 I also beseech in the Lord all my brothers who are and shall be and desire to be priests10 of the Most High that, when they wish to celebrate Mass, being pure, they offer the true Sacrifice of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ purely, with reverence, with a holy and clean intention, not for any earthly thing or fear or for the love of any man, as it were pleasing men.1 But let every will, in so far as the grace of the Almighty helps, be directed to Him,2 desiring thence to please the High Lord Himself alone because He alone works there [in the Holy Sacrifice] as it may please Him, for He Himself says: “Do this for a commemoration of Me;”3 if any one doth otherwise he becomes the traitor Judas4 and is made guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord.5
Call to mind, priests, my brothers, what is written in the law of Moses: how those transgressing even materially died by the decree of the Lord without any mercy.6 How much more and worse punishments he deserves to suffer “who hath trodden under foot the Son of God and hath esteemed the Blood of the testament unclean by which he was sanctified and hath offered an affront to the spirit of grace.”7 For man despises, soils, and treads under foot the Lamb of God when, as the Apostle says,8 not discerning and distinguishing the holy bread of Christ from other nourishments or works, he either eats unworthily or, if he be worthy, he eats in vain and unbecomingly since the Lord has said by the prophet: Cursed be the man that doth the work of the Lord deceitfully1 And He condemns the priests who will not take this to heart saying: “I will curse your blessings.”2
Hear ye, my brothers: If the Blessed Virgin Mary is so honored, as is meet, because she bore Him in [her] most holy womb; if the blessed Baptist trembled and did not dare to touch the holy forehead of God; if the sepulchre in which He lay for some time, is venerated, how holy, just, and worthy ought he to be who touches with his hands, who receives with his heart and his mouth, and proffers to be received by others Him who is now no more to die but to triumph in a glorified eternity. on whom the angels desire to look.3
Consider your dignity, brothers, priests, and be holy because He Himself is holy.4 And as the Lord God has honored you above all through this mystery, even so do you also love and reverence and honor Him above all. It is a great misery and a deplorable weakness when you have Him thus present to care for anything else in the whole world. Let the entire man be seized with fear; let the whole world tremble; let heaven exult when Christ, the Son of the Living God, is on the altar in the hands of the priest. O admirable height and stupendous condescension! O humble sublimity! O sublime humility! that the Lord of the universe, God and the Son of God, so humbles Himself that for our salvation He hides Himself under a morsel of bread. Consider, brothers, the humility of God and “pour out your hearts before Him,”1 and be ye humbled that ye may be exalted by Him.2 Do not therefore keep back anything for yourselves that He may receive you entirely who gives Himself up entirely to you
Wherefore I admonish and exhort in the Lord, that, in the places in which the brothers live, only one Mass be celebrated in the day, according to the form of holy Church.3 If, however, there be many priests in the place, let one be contented, through love of charity, by hearing the celebration of another priest, for the Lord Jesus Christ replenishes those who are worthy of it, present and absent. He, although He may seem to be present in many places, nevertheless remains undivided and suffers no change; but One everywhere He works as it may please Him with the Lord God the Father, and the Holy Ghost the Paraclete, world without end. Amen.
And since “he that is of God heareth the words of God,”1 we who have been more specially destined for the divine offices, ought, in consequence, not only to hear and do what God says, but also—in order to impress upon ourselves the greatness of our Creator and our subjection to Him—to watch the vessels and other objects which contain His holy words. On that account I warn all my brothers and I strengthen them in Christ, wheresoever they may find the divine written words to venerate them so far as they are able, and if they are not well preserved or if they lie scattered disgracefully in any place, let them, in so far as it concerns them, collect and preserve them, honoring in the words the Lord who has spoken. For many things are sanctified by the word of God,2 and by the power of the words of Christ the Sacrament of the Altar is effected
Moreover I confess all my sins to God the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost and to the Blessed Mary ever Virgin and to all the Saints in heaven and on earth and to the minister general of this our religion as to my venerable Lord, and to all the priests of our order and to all my other blessed brothers. I have offended in many ways through my grievous fault, especially because I have not observed the Rule which I have promised to the Lord and I have not said the office as prescribed by the Rule either by reason of my negligence or weakness or because I am ignorant and simple Wherefore, by all means as far as I am able, I beseech my lord, the general minister, to cause the Rule to be inviolably observed by all, and let the clerics say the office with devotion before God, not attending to melody of voice but to harmony of mind, so that the voice may be in accord with the mind and the mind in accord with God, so that they may please God by purity of mind and not coax the ears of the people by voluptuousness of voice. As for myself I promise to keep these things strictly, as the Lord may give me grace, and I leave them to the brothers who are with me to be observed in the office and in the other appointed regulations. But whosoever of the brothers will not observe them, I do not hold them as Catholics or as my brothers and I do not wish either to see them or speak [with them], until they have done penance. I say this also of all others who setting aside the discipline of the Rule, go wandering about; for our Lord Jesus Christ gave His life lest He might lose the obedience of the most Holy Father.1
I, Brother Francis, a useless man and unworthy creature of the Lord God, say to Brother Elias, the minister of our whole religion, by our Lord Jesus Christ, and to all the ministers general who shall be after him and to the other custodes and guardians of the brothers, who are and shall be, that they have this writing with them, put it in practice and seduously preserve it. And I entreat them to guard jealously those things which are written in it and to cause them to be carefully observed according to the good pleasure of the Almighty God now and ever as long as this world may last.
Blessed be you by the Lord who shall have done these things and may the Lord be with you forever. Amen.
Almighty, eternal, just, and merciful God, give to us wretches to do for Thee what we know Thee to will and to will always that which is pleasing to Thee; so that inwardly purified, inwardly illumined and kindled by the flame of the Holy Ghost, we may be able to follow in the footsteps of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and by Thy grace alone come to Thee the Most High, who in perfect Trinity and simple Unity livest and reignest and gloriest God Almighty forever and ever Amen.1
To a Certain Minister.
The tenor of this letter seems to indicate that it was written before the confirmation of the Second Rule by Pope Honorius,1 and very likely in the early part of 1223. All the early MSS attribute it to St Francis and, as regards both matter and form, it closely resembles the Saint’s other writings There is, however, no small diversity of opinion as to whom it was addressed. But from the wording of the last paragraph of the letter, referring to the chapter “thou wilt be there with thy brothers,” it would appear to have been sent to some provincial minister rather than to the minister general. Moreover, as Professor Goetz rightly remarks,2 the beginning of the letter implies that this minister had proposed some doubts or difficulties as to the manner of dealing with brothers who had fallen into sin. Hence the abrupt opening of the letter, “I speak to thee on the subject of thy soul,” etc., refers to some question which the letter is intended to answer, and from the fact that patience is commended “more than a hermitage,” the Quaracchi editors think we might infer that the minister in question was desirous of embracing a solitary life Be this as it may, I am unable to agree with M. Sabatier in so far as he finds in this letter “more objurgations and reproaches than counsels”15
The letter exists in the Vatican MS 7650, St. Isidore’s MS. 1/25 and the Ognissanti and St. Floriano codices above described. The first part of it may also be found in the National Library at Naples (Cod. XII, F. 32). An abridgment of the Letter is given by Rodolfo,2 a different abstract is found in the Conformities.3 In the more complete summary furnished by Wadding,4 it might be possible with M. Sabatier, and Dr. Lempp,6 owing to the omission of a large piece of the letter, to read into St. Francis’ words the precept that a brother guilty of mortal sin should be absolved without any penance But with the full text of the letter before us, any such attempt is, needless to say, impossible, as Mr. Carmichael has clearly shown.7
The complete text of this important letter was first published by Fr. Edouard d’Alençon, Archivist General of the Capuchins, in his Spicilegium Franciscanum,1 next by M Sabatier in his edition of Bartholi,2 and again by Dr. Lempp in his monograph on Elias.3 Besides these we have now the versions of Professor Boehmer and the Quaracchi edition The latter text, which I have here rendered into English, is based on the MSS of Ognissanti and St Isidore’s (cod 1/25) which have been collated with the Neapolitan MS. already referred to and the editions of the letter published by Fr. Edouard d’Alençon and M. Sabatier.
Now for the text of the letter
TO A CERTAIN MINISTER.4
To Brother N. . . Minister; may the Lord bless thee.
I speak to thee as best I can on the subject of thy soul; that those things which impede thee in loving the Lord God and whosoever may be a hindrance to thee, whether brothers or others, even though they were to strike thee,—all these things thou oughtest to reckon as a favor And so thou shouldst desire and not otherwise. And let this be to thee for true obedience from the Lord God and from me, for this I know surely to be true obedience. And love those that do such things to thee and wish not other from them, save in so far as the Lord may grant to thee; and in this thing love them,—by wishing that they may be better Christians.1 And let this be to thee more than a hermitage.2 And by this I wish to know if thou lovest God and me His servant and thine, to wit: that there be no brother in the world who has sinned, how great soever his sin may be, who after he has seen thy face shall ever go away without thy mercy, if he seek mercy,3 and, if he seek not mercy, ask thou him if he desires mercy. And if he afterwards appears1 before thy face a thousand times, love him more than me, to the end that thou mayest draw him to the Lord, and on such ones always have mercy And this thou shouldst declare to the guardians, when thou canst, that thou art determined of thyself to do thus.
Concerning all the chapters that are in the Rule that speak of mortal sins2 we shall at the chapter of Whitsuntide, God helping, with the counsel of the brothers, make such a chapter as this: If any brother, at the instigation of the enemy, sin mortally, let him be bound by obedience to have recourse to his guardian. And let all the brothers who know him to have sinned, not cause him shame or slander him, but let them have great mercy on him and keep very secret the sin of their brother, for they that are healthy need not a physician, but they that are ill.3 And let them be likewise bound by obedience to send him to his custos with a companion. And let the custos himself care for him mercifully as he himself would wish to be cared for by others if he were in a like situation.
[And if he should fall into any4 venial sin, let him confess to his brother priest, and if there be no priest there let him confess to his brother, until he shall find a priest who shall absolve him canonically, as has been said,]1 and let them have absolutely no power of enjoining other penance save only this: go and sin no more.2
In order that this writing may be able to be better observed, have it by thee until Whitsuntide: thou wilt be there with thy brothers. And these and all other things which are less in the Rule, thou shalt, the Lord God helping, take care to fulfil.
To the Rulers of the People.
This letter is known to us only by the testimony of the Ven Francis Gonzaga, O.F.M.,1 who speaking of the Province of Aragon in his work on the origin of the Seraphic Order,2 mentions that Bl John Parenti, first Minister General after St. Francis (1227—1232), brought a copy of the letter into Spain. On the good faith of Gonzaga, Wadding included this letter in his edition of the Opuscula, where it figures as Epist. XV. As the style of the letter and the ideas it embodies corresponded so admirably with the writings of St. Francis, the Quaracchi editors and Professor Goetz,3 have not hesitated to accept it as genuine. No copy of the letter other than that transcribed by Wadding has so far been found, and it is according to his text of 1623 that it is here translated —
TO THE RULERS OF THE PEOPLE.
To all podestas, and consuls, judges and governors, in whatever part of the world, and to all others to whom this letter may come, Brother Francis, your little and contemptible servant, wishes health and peace to you.
Consider and see that the day of death draws nigh.4 I ask you, therefore, with such reverence as I can, not to forget the Lord on account of the cares and solicitudes of this world and not to turn aside from His commandments, for all those who forget Him and decline from His commandments are cursed1 and they shall be forgotten by Him.2 And when the day of death comes, all that which they think they have shall be taken away from them.3 And the wiser and more powerful they may have been in this world, so much the greater torments shall they endure in hell.4
Wherefore, I strongly advise you, my lords, to put aside all care and solicitude and to receive readily the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ in holy commemoration of Him. And cause so great honor to be rendered the Lord by the people committed to you, that every evening it may be announced by a crier or by another sign to the end that praises and thanks shall resound to the Lord God Almighty from all the people. And if you do not do this, know that you are beholden to render an account before your Lord God Jesus Christ on the day of Judgment. Let those who keep this writing with them and observe it know that they are blessed by the Lord God.
To all the Custodes
Wadding seems to have known of this letter indirectly. At least he gives us a shorter letter addressed to the custodes The beginning of the epistle he numbers XIV is similar to the one which is translated here and seems to be an incomplete summary of the latter. It is difficult, however, to decide conclusively, since the original form of the letter, which Wadding translated from the Spanish, is wanting. The solution of the question would be to ascertain from what source this Spanish letter was drawn.
The letter was first published in its present form by M Sabatier in 1900 from a fourteenth century MS in the Guarnacci library at Volterra1 The Quaracchi text is also based on this codex, than which no other version of the letter is known to exist Internal arguments might, however, be adduced to establish the authenticity of the letter, which is as follows —
TO ALL THE CUSTODES
To all the custodes of the Brothers Minor to whom this letter shall come, Brother Francis, your servant and little one in the Lord God, sends greeting with new signs of heaven and earth2 which on the part of the Lord are great and most excellent and which are accounted least of all by many religious and by other men.
I entreat you more than if it were a question of myself that, when it is becoming and it may seem to be expedient, you humbly beseech the clerics to venerate above all the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Name and written words which sanctify the body.1 They ought to hold as precious the chalices, corporals, ornaments of the altar, and all that pertain to the Sacrifice And if the most holy Body of the Lord be lodged very poorly in any place, let It according to the command of the Church be placed by them and left in a precious place, and let It be carried with great veneration and administered to others with discretion. The Names also and written words of the Lord, wheresoever they may be found in unclean places, let them be collected, and they ought to be put in a proper place.
And in all the preaching you do, admonish the people concerning penance and that no one can be saved except he that receives the most sacred Body and Blood of the Lord.2 And while It is being sacrificed by the priest on the altar and It is being carried to any place, let all the people on bended knees render praise, honor, and glory to the Lord God Living and True.
And you shall so announce and preach His praise to all peoples that at every hour and when the bells are rung praise and thanks shall always be given to the Almighty God by all the people through the whole earth.
And to whomsoever of my brothers, custodes, this writing shall come, let them copy it and keep it with them and cause it to be copied for the brothers who have the office of preaching and the care of brothers, and let them unto the end preach all those things that are contained in this writing: let them know they have the blessing of the Lord God and mine. And let these be for them through true and holy obedience.
To Brother Leo.
The authenticity of this letter cannot be challenged The original autograph is jealously preserved at the Cathedral of Spoleto In Wadding’s time it was kept at the Conventual church in that place, but subsequently disappeared in some way and there was no trace of it until 1895, when Father Cardinali, a priest of Spoleto, placed it in the hands of Mgr. Faloci. The latter presented it to Pope Leo XIII and, after reposing for some three years in the Vatican, it was, at the request of Mgr. Serafini, Archbishop of Spoleto, returned to the cathedral there.1 Only one other autograph of St. Francis is known to exist.2 The scope of the letter is obvious: it is a word of tender encouragement and counsel to the Frate pecorello de Dio, St. Francis’ most intimate companion and friend, who at the time was harassed with doubts and fears. The form of the letter seems to present some difficulties to certain critics. For example, St Francis at the outset uses the words. F Leo F Francisco tuo salutem et pacem. It is, of course, clear that this superscription cannot be interpreted in such a way as to make Brother Leo the author of the letter; in that case it would be Francisco suo, and no one, so far as I know, has ever attempted this violence to the text. But there have been some who, thinking St. Francis did not know the difference between a dative and a nominative, have not hesitated to tamper with the text so as to bring the Latin of the Poverello into conformity with what they think to be better grammar.1 I confess that I find no difficulty in translating the superscription as it stands in the original autograph. As a general rule, no doubt, it is the sender of a letter that greets the one to whom it is sent But, in this case, the humility of St Francis has led him to change parts and he appeals for a blessing instead of bestowing one. I find myself therefore in thorough accord with Mr. Carmichael’s clever solution of this question and agree with him that St. Francis, always imaginative, meant what he wrote, and that “there is really a deep, sweet, and most pathetic meaning in the Saint’s peculiar mode of address.” Accordingly, the superscription ought to read “Brother Leo, wish thy brother Francis health and peace.” It is thus, following Mr. Carmichael, that I have translated it here
As regards the use of the plural (faciatis) in the body of the note which perplexed Wadding, since the singular seems to be called for, some think with the Quaracchi editors that the Saint, writing so familiarly to Leo, adopts the Italian form; others, with M. Sabatier,2 that Brother Leo had spoken in the name of a group. Perhaps it may not be amiss to recall in this connection, what Celano tells us of St. Francis’ method of composition3 as well as of the letter of the Saint mentioned by Eccleston, in which there was faulty Latin.1 A French critic2 thinks we might perhaps be justified in identifying the letter referred to by Eccleston with the one to Brother Leo now under consideration Be this as it may, the context of the present letter leads one to suppose that at the time it was written Brother Leo was not yet habitually with St Francis In this hypothesis, we must fix the date of its composition not later than 12203 It need not be wondered at if, after nearly seven centuries, some words in the autograph letter preserved at Spoleto are difficult to read Hence some trifling variants occur in the texts published by Wadding4 and Faloci.5 The Quaracchi text which I have here translated is edited after the original:—
TO BROTHER LEO.
Brother Leo, wish thy brother Francis health and peace!
I say to thee: Yes, my son, and as a mother; for in this word and counsel I sum up briefly all the words we said on the way, and if afterwards thou hast need to come to me for advice, thus I advise you: In whatever way it seemeth best to thee to please the Lord God and to follow His footsteps and poverty, so do with the blessing of the Lord God and in my obedience. And if it be necessary for thee on account of thy soul or other consolation and thou wishest, Leo, to come to me, come!1
[1 ]On this letter see Appendix
[2 ]Wadding drew on the Spanish text of Rebolledo (Chron, P I, l II, c. xxvii) and himself appears to have had misgivings, at least as regards the authenticity of Epistle VII.
[3 ]See Actus B. Francisci, etc, ed. Sabatier, p. 63. M Sabatier attributes the authorship of this compilation (which contains, as is now known, among other matters, the original Latin text of the traditional Fioretti) to Fra Ugolino di Monte Giorgio, and believes its date to be between 1280 and 1320. It is, however, from Thomas of Celano that we know St Francis to have written a letter to the Lady Giacoma (See Tr de Miraculis in Anal. Bolland, t. xviii). See also Spec. Perf (ed. Sabatier), c. XII, for reference to this letter The narrative of Celano renders the text of the letter given in the Actus very doubtful The fact that the expression “St. Mary of the Angels” is used in it to designate the Portiuncula is in itself sufficient to militate against its authenticity. Neither St Francis nor his companions ever employed this term, they invariably said “St. Mary of the Portiuncula.” Any document, therefore, containing the former expression bespeaks a fourteenth century origin at earliest See Frère Jacqueline Recherches Historiques, by Fr. Edouard d’Alençon, Paris, 1899
[1 ]See above, pp. 23, 77, 78
[1 ]The letter which Wadding translated from the Spanish, under this title and numbered XIV, appears to have been an incomplete version of the letter here given in full.
[1 ]Compare for example the passage on p 101, beginning “Let us therefore love God,” etc., with Chapter XXII of the First Rule (p 58); and the prayer of Christ given on p 105, with the conclusion of the same chapter (p 59).
[2 ]See Le Monnier, l c, p 202, and Knox Little, l c, p 164 Wadding, Annales, ad an. 1213, places the writing of this letter two or three years earlier, which seems less probable
[1 ]See Le Monnier, l c, p 203 To him I am indebted for these quotations
[2 ]See his edition of Bartholi, Tractatus, Appendix, p 132 seq
[3 ]See Historiarum Seraphicae Religionis libri tres (Venice, 1586), fol. 174 r, for that part of the letter which Wadding gives as Epistola I.
[1 ]It has been adopted in the new French edition of St Francis’ works See Opuscules, pp 122-135
[2 ]It was from this fourteenth century MS that M Sabatier edited as a new opuscule the fragment above mentioned
[3 ]Bartholomew of Pisa here inserts the greater part of the letter passim
[1 ]Cod O reads. “all the words of the Lord”
[2 ]Cod O. reads “by this present letter and now”
[3 ]John 6 64
[4 ]See Luke 1 31
[5 ]See II Cor 8 9
[1 ]See Matt 26 26-28, Luke 22 19-20, I Cor 11. 24-25
[2 ]Matt 26 39
[3 ]Luke 22 44
[4 ]See Matt 26 42 and 39
[5 ]Cod O omits “and was born for us”
[6 ]John 1 3
[7 ]See I Peter 2 21
[8 ]Cod O omits “And He wishes that we should all be saved by Him”
[9 ]See Matt 11 30
[10 ]See Ps 33. 9
[11 ]See John 3 19
[12 ]Ps. 118 21
[1 ]Matt 22. 37-39
[2 ]John 4 23
[3 ]John 4: 24.
[4 ]Luke 18 1
[5 ]Cod O adds “For the Lord says, who does not eat,” etc.
[6 ]See John 6 54
[7 ]I Cor. 11 29
[8 ]Luke 3 8
[1 ]Cod As and editions omit “or cannot”
[2 ]Cod O reads “judgment and mercy”
[3 ]See Jas 2. 13
[4 ]See Tob 4 11
[5 ]See Eccli 3 32
[1 ]Luke 11 42
[2 ]See Matt 15 18-19
[3 ]See Luke 6 27
[4 ]See Luke 22 26
[5 ]I Cor 1 26
[1 ]Ps 21 7
[2 ]I Peter 2 13
[3 ]See Is 11 2
[4 ]See John 14. 23.
[5 ]See Matt 5 45
[6 ]See Matt 12 50.
[7 ]Cod As and that of Volterra with the Mon add “the Paraclete”
[8 ]See John 10 15
[1 ]See John 17 6-24
[2 ]See Apoc 5 13
[3 ]See Luke 18. 19
[1 ]Ps 106. 27
[2 ]See Matt 15. 19
[1 ]Jer 17 5
[2 ]Cod O and Pis read “Wilt thou satisfy for the things taken unjustly,—that is, those things by which thou hast cheated thy neighbor”
[3 ]Cod As and Mon omit “a bitter death” Cod Pis and Volterra omit “miserable man”
[4 ]Cod As. and Mon omit “wisdom”
[5 ]See Luke 8 18
[1 ]These words are not found except in Cod As, which omits the following sentence “All to whom this letter may come”
[2 ]See I John 4 16
[3 ]Cod As. and Mon read “that these words and others”
[4 ]Cod As and Mon omit what follows up to “And all those”
[5 ]See John 6 64
[6 ]See Matt 10 22
[1 ]So Ubertino da Casale tells us in his Arbor Vitae, finished on Mount La Verna, September 28, 1305 (l v, cap vii).
[2 ]As we learn from the rubric in the Assisi MS 338 “De lictera et ammonitione beatissimi patris nostri Francisci quam misit fratribus ad capitulum quando erat infirmus”
[3 ]Hist Seraph, fol. 173 v.
[4 ]Epistles X, XI, and XII in his edition.
[1 ]Following this MS, Mgr Faloci edited the first part of the letter (to “world without end Amen,”—see page 116) in his Miss Frances, t VI, p 94
[2 ]The Mon and Firm, like Rodolfo (fol 173 v), give only the first part of the letter, which Wadding makes Epis XII
[3 ]It is placed immediately before the letter in the other family of MSS mentioned in the Introduction, to which the Ognissanti MS belongs
[1 ]Cod As omits this invocation
[2 ]Cod As adds “to Brother A, minister general” It has been surmised that St Francis wished this letter to be read at the opening of all subsequent chapters, with a view to perpetuating his spiritual presence among the brothers In this hypothesis, the copyist was supposed to fill in here the initial of the minister general governing the order at the time he wrote The fact that A is the initial given at the head of the Assisian MS may afford a clue to the date of its composition (Albert of Pisa governed the order 1239-40, and Aymon of Faversham, 1240-44), but in the body of the letter (see below, p 117) the minister general is referred to as Brother H [Helias (?) 1232-39] Cod An at the head of the letter reads Brother T [Thomas of Farignano (?), 1367-73]
[3 ]See Apoc 1 5
[4 ]See Gen 19 1 and elsewhere
[5 ]See Luke 1 32
[1 ]See Acts 2 14
[2 ]See Isa 55 3
[3 ]See Ps 135 1
[4 ]See Tob 13 6
[5 ]Cod An reads “you may make all stand dumbfounded who oppose Him in word or deed”
[6 ]See Tob 13 4
[7 ]See Heb. 12. 7.
[8 ]See Heb 12 7
[9 ]See Col 1. 20.
[10 ]The word priests is added in Cod As, and by Ubertino
[1 ]See Eph 6 6, and Col 3 22
[2 ]Cod As reads “to the Lord”
[3 ]Luke 22 19
[4 ]Cod O., Mon, and Firm, with Ubertino, omit the rest of this sentence
[5 ]See I Cor 11 27
[6 ]See Heb 10 28.
[7 ]Heb 10 29
[8 ]See I Cor. 11 29
[1 ]See Jerem 48 10
[2 ]Mal 2 2.
[3 ]See I Pet. 1 12
[4 ]See Levit 11 44
[1 ]See Ps 61 9
[2 ]See 1 Pet 5 6
[3 ]Philip Melanchthon in his Apology (Augsburg Confession, art on the Mass) usurped these words of St Francis to defend his erroneous teaching against private Masses But there is nothing in this letter or elsewhere to show that St Francis reprehended such Masses in any way On the contrary, as the Bollandists point out, the words “according to the form of holy Church” refer to the rite of the Roman Church to be followed in the celebration of Mass and not to the one Mass to be celebrated daily (See Acta S S, t II, Oct, pp 998-999)
[1 ]John 8 47
[2 ]See 1 Tim 4: 5
[1 ]See Philip. 2. 8.
[1 ]This prayer, which, as I have said, is found in some MSS at the head and in others at the foot of the present letter, is separated from it altogether by Wadding, who (p 101) places it immediately after the sheet given by St Francis to Brother Leo There it is also found in the new French edition of the Opuscula (p 25)
[1 ]It refers to “the chapters which speak of mortal sin” which are only found in the First Rule (see pp 37, 47, 53), and speaks of proposed changes in the Rule which could not, as is clear, have been made after November, 1223 In particular the subject of the tenth chapter of the new Rule discussed in the Chapter held at Portiuncula, June 11th of that year (see Spec Perf, ed Sabatier, c 1), is mentioned as not yet definitely settled
[2 ]See Quellen, etc, t XXII, p 547
[1 ]“ plus des objurgations et des reproches que des conseils”—Sabatier, Bartholi, p 120
[5 ]See his edition of Bartholi, pp 113-131.
[2 ]Hist Seraph, fol 177 v
[3 ]Fruct XXII, P 11, n 46 The part here given is that which Wadding exhibits as Epis VI M Sabatier is clearly mistaken in regarding these different abstracts of the letter published separately as so many complete epistles He says “ Frère Elie ne se corrigeant pas, le saint ne cessa pas de lui faire des recommendations identiques,” l. c., p. 119
[4 ]See Epis VIII This is a different and longer version than that given in the Conformities Wadding gives yet another abstract of the letter as Epis VII This he translated from the Spanish, though he confesses misgivings as to the authenticity of its form
[6 ]See Frère Elie de Cortone, p 51, where the idea of abolishing penances is described as “so Franciscan”
[7 ]See “The Writings of St Francis,” in the Month, January, 1904, pp 161-164
[1 ]In 1899, after the Vatican MS 7650, and the Foligno codex See Epistola S Francisci ad ministrum generalem in sua forma authentica cum appendice de Fr Petro Catanii
[2 ]In 1900, after the Ognissanti MS See his Bartholi, p 113
[3 ]In 1900 See his Frère Elie de Cortone, p 50 seq
[4 ]This is the superscription of the Neapolitan MS According to the greater number of codices the letter is addressed “To Brother N Minister” The MSS of Foligno and St Isidore’s read “To Brother N Minister General,” and some Italian versions cited by M Sabatier (see Bartholi, p 121, note 1) add the name of Brother Elias (see also Rodolfo, l c, fol 177 v) The rubric in the second family of MSS already described (See Introd) reads simply “Letter which St Francis sent to the Minister General as to the way to be followed regarding brother subjects sinning mortally or venially” Wadding (Opusc, p 25, n 1) thinks the letter was addressed to Peter of Catana See Speculum Minorum, fol 218 v
[1 ]For the rendering of this doubtful passage et in hoc dilige cos ut velis quod sint meliores Christiani, I have translated the Latin text as given in the Isidorean MS 1/25, in the Conformities (fol 132, v), in Wadding’s edition (Epis VIII), and in that of Quaracchi (p 108) In the Ognissanti MS, however, this passage reads et non velis “and do not desire that they be better Christians” This reading has been followed by Fr Edouard d’Alençon and M Sabatier The latter thinks St Francis is here referring to ungrateful and recalcitrant lepers whom he was wont to call Christians But in that hypothesis the passage might be translated “and do not desire to make them better lepers!”
[2 ]Cod O for eremitorium reads meritorium But may not this very improbable reading be that most common thing in early MSS,—the slip of a copyist?
[3 ]Cod O omits the remainder of this sentence
[1 ]The Neapolitan MS for “appears” reads “sins”
[2 ]Chaps V, XIII, and XX of the first Rule (See above, pp 37, 47, and 53)
[3 ]See Matt 9 12
[4 ]Cod O. reads “another”
[1 ]In chap XX of the First Rule (see above, p 53) The passage enclosed in brackets is the part omitted by Wadding and those who have followed him
[2 ]See John 8 11
[1 ]Minister General of the Order, 1579-1587, afterwards Bishop of Mantua (see Acta Ordinis Minorum, 1904, p 265)
[2 ]De Origine Seraphicae Religionis Franciscanae (Venice 1603), p 806
[3 ]See Quellen, etc, p. 535
[4 ]See Gen 47 39
[1 ]See Ps 118 21
[2 ]See Ezech 33 12
[3 ]See Luke 8 18
[4 ]See Wis 6 7
[1 ]Cod 225, mentioned above (p 110) See Sabatier’s Bartholi, p 135
[2 ]Seemingly an allusion to the mysteries of the Eucharist
[1 ]An obvious reference to the formula of consecration
[2 ]See John 6 54
[1 ]See Gli Autografi di Francesco, by Mgr Faloci (Misc Franc, t VI, p 33), and La Calligrafia di S Francesco, by the same author (Misc. Franc., t VII, p 67)
[2 ]The Blessing given to Brother Leo (see below, Part III).
[1 ]See, for example, the parallel Latin and Italian text given by Father Bernardo da Fivizzano, O M Cap, in his edition of the Oposculi (Florence, 1880), which reads. “F Leo Frater Franciscus tuus salutem et pacem”
[2 ]“Ce pluriel montre bien que Frère Léon avait parlé au nom d’un groupe”—Sabatier Vie de S François, p. 301.
[3 ]When he caused any letters to be written by way of salutation or admonition, he would not suffer any letter or syllable in them to be erased, though they were often superfluous or unsuitably placed (See 1 Cel 82)
[1 ]See Eccleston De Adventu Minorum in Angliam (Mon Germ hist, Scriptores, t XXVIII, p 563), although another reading is given in the Anal Franc, t I, p 232, and by Fr Cuthbert, O S F C, The Friars, etc, p 167
[2 ]Fr Ubald d’Alençon, Opuscules, p 23
[3 ]See Spec Perf (ed Sabatier), p lxiv, note 3
[4 ]Opuscula, Epist XVI
[5 ]Misc Franc, t VI, p 39
[1 ]It is interesting to compare with this letter the somewhat similar expressions of encouragement used by St Francis to Brother Richer See 1 Cel. 1, 49, Spec Perf (ed Sabatier), c 2 and 16, Actus B Francisci, c 36 and 37