Humble exposition on the evangelical Rule





(Early 16th century – 1614)





Prepared in English by Gary Devery OFM Cap

I FRATI CAPPUCCINI. Documenti e Testimonianze del Primo Secolo. A cura di COSTANZO CARGNONI. Roma 1982, 755-798.

Table of Contents

Here for a digital version in Italian


This exposition of the Rule, unpublished and anonymous, even if, paradoxically, attributed in the manuscripts to Brother Angelo Tancredi, a companion of Saint Francis, is in reality a fine compilation drawn up by an anonymous Capuchin inspired by Angelo Clareno’s Expositio super Regulam, but with a remarkable freedom, to the point of appearing new and original, something more than a “simplex italica adaptatio celebris expositionis Angeli Clareni [a simple Italian adaptation of the famous exposition of Angelo Clareno]”, as Melchiorre da Pobladura wrote many years ago in a fleeting note (cf. CF 9 [1939] 51; MHOC II, p. LV).

This fact is quite relevant, even from a quick comparison of the two writings, and seems to be a deliberate choice for different and very concrete reasons, as was suggested in the general introduction to this section.

If the focus on the words of the Rule is adapted to some of the reflections and insights deduced by A. Clareno, the result is quite different, it acquires a more familiar tone, more attentive to the episodes of Francis’ life reported above all as “sayings” of Brother Leo or of the three companions, according to an option prevalent among the first Capuchins, convinced that the life of Francis was the clearest exegesis of the Rule, while the testimonies of the first companions were the most apt to faithfully and realistically reproduce the true image of Francis and his charism.

It is striking, for example, the frequent repetition of the adjective “divine” joined to the name of Francis, or the continuous reference to the inspiration, presence and action of the Holy Spirit, of whom Francis is “proclaimer” and by whom he is “enlightened”.

All the choices of austerity and poverty and simplicity in food, dress, use of things, dwellings and other circumstances of life, including apostolic life, are purely instrumental to the “precious gem” of fraternity, love and perfect charity. They are “the fruit of holy obedience” which “embraces and includes and makes meritorious all the other virtues” learnt “in the school of Jesus Christ and in the apostolic life”, and they find, finally, in the unceasing prayer to God made with a pure heart, “that ultimate operation to which Francis orders his whole Order”, that is, to have the Spirit of the Lord in the soul. This is, the anonymous writer seems to conclude, “the whole intent of Christ in the Rule”, thus instrumentalising various reflections of A. Clareno to the proposals of the Capuchin reform and offering himself as yet another testimony of the love of the first Capuchins for the life of prayer and contemplation.

Source: Assisi, APC: Nel nome del nostro Signore | Iesu Christo, et della sua Madre Santissima | et del nostro Serafico Padre San Francesco, incomincia il prologo sopra la regola evangelica da Dio rivelata al beato suo I confessore Francesco, con una humile espositione sopra l’istessa, fatta da Frate Angelo Tangredi suo compagno, in Espositioni sopra la Regola di S. Francesco, cod. F. III, 1 [segn: antical, pp. 1067-1191: – Cf. supra: Introduzione, note 44-49.

1. [Brief and Notable Statement of the Bull of Honorius III on the Rule].

Honorius bishop, servant of the servants of God etc.

712 The words uttered by the Holy Spirit through the Vicar of Christ, as instrument and universal head of the holy Church, were not in vain and without purpose, but were full of feeling, words spoken to the Seraphic Francis and to the whole Order together, and to each particular member; for when saying Honorius, he means nothing other than that he assigns and demonstrates to us a man chosen by God and assigned to the universal Church, restricting himself to him alone and excluding all others.[1] In whom, in electing him, God had placed all authority to approve and reprobate all that he wished to absolve and condemn, to unite and excommunicate anyone whom, according to the impulse of the Holy Spirit, he judged worthy or unworthy. During his office, therefore, Honorius alone was expected to have full authority, as were all the successors of Peter.

Again, saying bishop, he comes to declare the office by which he holds the primacy, in the aforementioned judgement. This is what our Lord meant, when of the obstinate and incorrigible he said to Peter: Si te non audient, dic Ecclesiae [If they will not listen to you, tell the whole assembly],[2] that is, to that supreme pontiff and other prelates whom I will elect in the Church.

713 And when he says: Servant of the servants of God, he shows us that he is the vicar and successor of Him who said: Filius hominis non venit ministrari, sed ministrare, et dare animam suam pro multis [The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give his life for many].[3] It also demonstrates the dignity and nobility of the servants of God, for whose benefit our Lord God has ordained the ministry of all the prelates of the holy Church. And what else are all the leaders and prelates in the kingdom of Jesus Christ if not ministers and servants of the servants of Jesus Christ, when the Saviour of the world said: Qui vult inter vos esse maior, sit vester servus [Whoever wishes to be greater among you, let him be your servant],[4] demonstrating that the greater part of the family of Jesus Christ consists in being more humble and more helpful to his neighbour, and these are those who are more worthy of the office and dignity of a prelate who love God and his neighbour more, saying: Simon Petre, amas me plus his?[Simon Peter, do you love me more than these?],[5] wanting to show that if Peter had not loved him more than the others, he would not have been worthy in authority and dignity to surpass his other brothers.

Honorius, therefore, as vicar of Christ and successor of Peter, declares and makes known to the whole Church that the Rule [1077] of the lesser brothers and the manner of living according to it is according to the will of God, and all those who observe it are members and beloved children of the holy Church, and are certain that all the acts done according to it in the grace of God are meritorious of eternal life.

And when he says: To the beloved sons Brother Francis and his successors, he demonstrates the authority that is granted by his Holiness in the Church to elect prelates to rule and govern, the head, that is Saint Francis, being elected by his Holiness; indeed this office is shown to be given him by God, because no can assume this office except the one called by God as was Aaron. [6]

714 And when it says: Health and Apostolic Blessing, it manifests the benevolence and friendship of holy Church towards the observers and those zealous of the Rule, it shows them the desire that it has for the profit that the legitimate sons of Saint Francis must bring forth in holy Church, and it offers and grants them health and perpetual peace and blessing, accepting like a mother her beloved sons in her holy and secure bosom, from which good mother Church they have received and will continue to receive every possible favour to the glory of God.

The blessed father could not think of a safer place for his children than in the acceptance, benevolence, blessing, and reverence of the great Church of Jesus Christ, ruled and administered by the invisible governor Jesus Christ, who said: Ero vobiscum usque ad consummationem saeculi [I will be with you until the end of the ages].[7]

When it says: It is the custom of the Apostolic See to condescend to the pious vows and honest desires of those who ask, etc., it shows us the effect of the office, which is to favour everyone who wishes to honour, cultivate and love the Supreme Creator and Head of the Church, Jesus Christ, since it is the proper Apostolic office to lead the donkey and the colt to Jesus Christ,[8] so that he may be seated over them, that is, the two peoples, Jew and Gentile, and through them the whole world.

715 And when it says: Therefore, O beloved children in the Lord etc., it means: “We, as the Vicar of Christ, by the authority given us above, establish and confirm, what is more, make known to all, that the Rule of the lesser brothers is fixed and established by the divine will, on which it depends, and as lawgiver and arbitrator of those doubts that may arise in the Church, and in all those things that seem to begin anew, I say and affirm that the Rule of the lesser brothers is Catholic, holy and perfect, and for this reason I wish it to be observed and kept in the Church, and from now on it will not be lawful for any person to challenge it, persecute it, or in any other way oppose it, without incurring the indignation of Almighty God as being opposed to and inimical to the divine will, and as being opposed to and persecuting the truth, and as impeding the health of their neighbour and the universal good of the Church and the honour of God; and for this reason with an authentic apostolic writing we fortify and approve it, fulminating the wrath of God, excommunication from the body of the Church and an eternal curse against those who pertinaciously and obstinately challenge the said Rule and its observers”. Amen. […]

2. [Exaltation of obedience and the intention of St Francis]

Living in obedience etc.

716 With great reason the Holy Spirit, through his servant Francis, represents to us the nobility, greatness and profit that holy obedience causes and gives birth to in those who, according to the intent of the Holy Spirit and his proponent Francis, observe it; for it is as much to say: living in obedience, as it is to do true obedience that causes and gives, to those who do it, life to the soul, which is to say, the grace of God. As if to say: “Take notice, blessed sons, who have taken the trouble of following in obedience the Son of God, that your obedience that you have observed is nothing other than by every degree of perfection to be united and transformed in the will of the Son of God, that was nothing other than, nor anything else to be sought by us, except to manifest the glory of the Father[9] and the benefits of heaven, and those means by which they can all be acquired.

717 Therefore the first obedience, and the one to which the lesser brothers are principally obliged, is full subjection and humble obedience to the holy Church and its prelates. This obedience is so absolute that no creature can abstain from it or command us anything that is contrary to the holy Church and its decrees.

The other obedience, which the sons of Francis are bound to carry out, is the perfect observance of the Rule, over which no one has the authority to dispense, except the supreme pontiff and the sacred councils, and this obedience is so absolute that no prelate of this Order can contravene it, nor abstain from it; on the contrary, whenever the professors of this Rule obey in things that are strictly against the Rule, they sin.

The third obedience they are bound to observe is obedience to the prelates of the said Order in all things that are not contrary to the soul and the Rule. Not without cause therefore it says: Living in obedience, for as each creature lives and abides in the place which God has appointed and predestined for it for its proper place, and being out of that place causes it to die, just as the plant out of the soil, the fish out of the water, the birds out of the air and our souls separated from God die, because they are out of their proper place. In this way the Son of God indicates and demonstrates to them their proper place that they have to maintain, which is the holy obedience, outside of which no professor of this Rule can live.[10]

718 And it says: Living in obedience, because it is not enough to obey when the lesser brother is commanded by his prelates, but he must have the firm intention of always obeying, and never resisting holy obedience, as our Lord says: Non enim veni facere voluntatem meam, sed eius qui misit me Patris [For I have not come to do my own will, but that of the Father who sent me];[11] and in another place: Cibus meus est ut faciam voluntatem Patris, qui misit me ut perficiam opus eius [My food is to do the will of my Father, who sent me to complete his work].[12]

The highest of truths is that of the obedience of the Son of God, who did not come by his own will, nor by his own authority, but when he gloried he cried out with a loud voice that the eternal Father had sent him into the world.[13] Paul likewise says: Although he is one with his eternal Father, yet for our salvation he was obedient in all things.[14] Therefore it is of no wonder that the Evangelist says that the Son of God submitted and was obedient[15] [1084] to his most gracious Mother and to his putative father, when he was born, lived, died, and in all his works, words, gestures and signs, he always did and acted according to the obedience of his eternal Father.[16]

Therefore, in order to imitate and conform himself and his children to the obedience of the Son of God, saint Francis wants them to live and rest in holy obedience in such a way that they will not carry out or do anything that does not depend on the obedience to either God, the Church, the Rule or the will of his prelates, and that they will be so united and bound to it that as the holy father says in his Testament: “I want to obey the general minister of this Order and that guardian whom it will please him to assign to me, and so I want to be so taken into his hands, that I may never at any time do anything against his will or obedience, because he is my lord”.[17]

719 The lesser brothers, therefore, must live in obedience, that is, that they be so perfect in it that it confers on their souls divine grace, which is the life of the soul, and a perpetual remembrance of the life and obedience of the Saviour. This is that holy docility, fruit of holy obedience, which the friar, servant of God, receives in himself and which disposes him to renounce and despise all the things of the world, to conquer and overcome temptations. Then, with everything set in order, he finds himself able, at whatever hour God calls him, to fly to heaven and be received there as a legitimate son of holy obedience; he also makes himself fit and disposed for the superior contemplation of the eternal goods.

This is that virtue which, in dying to self, makes one live, because the more dead one is in obedience, the more one lives in God, and in Him rests; because those truly obedient never die; of him it is truer than ever that he never dies when, if sleeping, it is as if he were fully active; if eating, working or thinking about everything, all is done in the minimum time, and the more perfectly they live in this sweet sleep and death of obedience, the more they always gain, and they live in every degree and gift of the grace of God, because they are united and transformed in the vital obedience of the Son of God, the foundation, origin, cause, and life of all our obedience and all our merit.

720 This is that holy virtue which embraces and includes and makes meritorious all the other virtues; outside of this virtue no other virtue pleases God; but under the shadow of holy obedience, great and meritorious are all rendered to God, because nothing else is to be outside of holy obedience, except to be divided and separated from Christ and from the holy Church and the Rule.

For this reason, Francis, the leader and guide of this Order, from the beginning of his conversion to the last hour that he lived in this world, wished by example and doctrine to observe this obedience with every degree of perfection, and to confirm and lead all his children in it. Therefore Brother Leo[18] says that this seraphic father never wanted to be in any place without a superior who commanded him and exercised him in the virtue of holy obedience; and when he went on a journey, [1085] as soon as he left the place, at the door of that place he would call his companion, even though this companion was sometimes a novice of a short time in the Order, and he would say to him: “Brother, I promise you obedience throughout this journey. Take care of me and command me in all those things that you know belong to my salvation and which you most desire”. I heard him say to this blessed father that he would have so gladly obeyed a novice who had been assigned to him as prelate, as if he were the pre-eminent in the Order, and he said that obedience was that which bring us back and regains what our first father had lost through disobedience and lost for all his children, and not obeying was a sign of great pride and ambition.

721 I cannot forget blessed brother Francesco da Pavia, in the province of Saint Francis in the place of Rumita di Cese, standing in prayer in the oratory of the Sasso, talking with Christ and his most gracious Mother, for fourteen years they had been alone together every day appearing there. He was called by the guardian of that place, and that blessed man, hearing that his prelate was calling him, without battering an eyelid, departed from Jesus Christ and Our Lady and went to fulfil the obedience that he had promised to Jesus Christ; and taking the guardian with him to quest at a castle, then returning home, and having fulfilled his obedience, he returned to the oratory of before. Finding Christ and his most gracious Mother still there, he fell to the ground weeping, and asked their pardon, as he thought he had behaved rudely, having left them to obey the guardian; but the Son of God wanted to show him how much obedience pleased him by saying to him: “Know, Francesco, that if you had not gone immediately and obeyed your prelate out of love for me, you would not have deserved to see me any more in this world; but I was so pleased by your prompt obedience, and all your other strong affections, that you have deserved to find me in this place with your most gracious Mother, and I will appear to you in the future and comfort you in all your needs”. Blessed Francesco replied: “My Lord, your presence is sweet paradise and every good. How am I worthy that your Majesty should show such great kindness?” “Know, Franciesco, that the awe and benevolence of my presence is always preserved in the Church by me in those who are in the office of prelates; and whenever you see your prelate, you see me represented in him”. And from then on, Brother Francesco da Pavia, every time he saw his prelate, kneeling on the ground, did reverence to him.[19]

722 What shall we say of Seraphic Francis, in whom humility was now seen on earth, when near his blessed death, full of the Holy Spirit and desiring to be conformed to Jesus Christ in all things, with great fervour took off his robe and threw himself down naked on the ground, waiting to send forth his spirit and render it to his Creator while naked, just as Christ himself wished to die on the wood of the cross, and to show that he had nothing in common with the world and to be more ready to face the naked enemy of Hell, who at such a time can only be fought naked. Nevertheless, the guardian thought that him being so naked could have hastened his death, so he brought him his robe and said, “Reverend Father, put on this habit out of obedience”. Then, the divine Francis hearing speak of holy obedience, inclined his head and with great humility put back on the habit, wishing that, just as he had begun his journey in holy obedience, so also with holy obedience he might end his happy journey and go to the Author of that obedience and the illustrious Captain of the truly obedient ones, Jesus Christ, to whom be honour and glory, now and in eternity.[20]

3. [Vocations to the Order and Francis’ prophecy]

If some would like to take up this life and come to our brothers etc..

723 Experience shows us that the good and the bad of a republic, of a kingdom and of an empire depends on and arises from the concord or discord of the good or bad of those who rule and govern.

The same can be said of an Order and republic of Christ, whether it endures or not in the rigor and observance of the rule and statutes of the Order for good or bad ordering, for union and concord or discord that will be found therein.

For this reason, Francis, the man of God, wished that prelates and superiors should be elected in the Order who were mature, enlightened, zealous observers of the Rule and fervent lovers of Christ and His honour, and should govern themselves in all things with maturity and judgement, especially in receiving laymen into the Order, and so not fill it with persons who are inept and not called by the Holy Spirit.

For this reason, he forbade anyone else except the ministers to receive into this life, so that none may be received except with great maturity of judgement.

For this reason, the three companions[21] say that it lasted many years that all those who came to be received, the ministers sent them to St Francis who received them with great maturity and probation [1098].

724 And when one of his companions asked him to urge a good young man who practiced [his faith] in the place to become a friar, Francis, the man of God, replied to them: “Brothers, it is neither my nor your place to urge anyone to come to religious life; but it is the role of the Holy Spirit who knows and discerns those who are good and fit for this way of life. But our responsibility is by example and good works of penance to exhort everyone to good works, to leave the world and follow Christ”; and he said: “Christ, who planted this way of life, willed that its government, growth and preservation should be entrusted to him; for one of the ways in which the devils have taken to attack this way of life is through indiscreet and inconsiderate receptions, for they will induce many perverse men to enter this way of life, and will provoke the minds of the ministers to receive them without any experience of their good purpose, interior rectitude and fervent desire of their good will; but will be drawn to them if they are noble, rich, learned, industrious in some art, and of great renown in the world, who once received will make a rule of their own opinion and sensuality, and will despise the Rule which they have promised to God.[22]

And for this reason, against the wiles of devils and for the increase and preservation of our way of life, Christ wills that only ministers should receive to this life and that only those should be elected to the office of minister who have Christ and his Spirit in them, and such as those who seek not the things of the flesh, but those things which are of Christ and for his honour, so that from their leadership in this way of life there may arise and be preserved the pure observance of the Rule, honesty of life, divine worship and a good example to the world, and for this Pope Gregory says in his declaration: “The provincial ministers may not grant to others, according to the vigour of the Rule, the reception of brothers, because the Rule forbids the General not to grant such an office except to the provincial ministers, without special permission from the General”.[23]

725 And blessed Francis said that thus it was written in his name by his companions in the Testament and other places, that it was neither his intention nor that of Jesus Christ, according to what he had revealed to them, that the friars should give any other meaning to the Rule, nor in any way should they explain it, than in the simple natural sense, faithfully and purely understood, and that in no way should the brothers presume to have imposed on it any licence or privilege from the Roman court, so as to be able to confess or preach, or to build places or churches, nor for avoiding any persecution that might be done to them; for if they persevere in the pure observance of the Rule and Testament, as it was revealed unto them by Christ, that it was acceptable, upright, and without error in his sight, it will without doubt lead them to the port of salvation.[24] Therefore the four Masters of the Order, who by the commandment of the Father General of the Order composed the Rule and sent it to Friar Aimon, General in those times, say that the privilege which had been imparted from His Holiness, that the ministers may grant to others the reception of the friars is against the purity of the Rule, and those friars who exercise such a thing against the intention of the Rule are not secure in conscience, and all the more so since with the passage of time other privileges have been imposed, as examples of this, and are against the purity of the Rule.[25]

726 And the seraphic Francis, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, said and pronounced the transgressions and relativisations that could come to his Order from carnal and sensual friars, moved by evil spirits: “Not only will they annihilate in themselves every purity of the promised Rule, but they will hate and persecute the zealous observers of it, and to take away the stimulus of conscience they will impart privileges from his Holiness, build sumptuous habitations, receive legacies and burial stipends. They will spend their time in vain studies of sciences that are impertinent to their salvation, and from others they will seek human and secular favours, and in order to abound in worldly favours and the comfort of the body and of gluttony, with great hypocrisy they will feign holiness and to be observers of the Rule. They shall seek the rank of prelate and with great ambition to be recruited as, under the cover of doctrine, holiness and human favour, bishops and cardinals, if they depart from humility, poverty and observance of the promised Rule.

For which reason there will arise in the poor Order schisms, disputes and persecutions, one against the other, in such abundance that they will stink to the whole world because of the scandals and bad example that will be seen in them. Then the zealous and true sons of the Rule, indeed of Christ, will reign in God, and blessed will be those who by no temptation of demons and evil men will depart from the pure observance of the Rule.

727 And after many persecutions, the clemency of Jesus Christ through the tears of his children and fervent prayers, will be inclined to grant them to be able to observe the promised Rule, because in the spirit of the founder, in the last days, there will be a reform of some simple and unlearned brothers, and this reform will be different from the first institution of the Rule, for in the beginning the head was given to them, and this reform will be given to them in the last, for after the universal persecution and reform of the Church, those few brothers who will be alive will gather together in the third place and make a congregation of those poor saints to consult among themselves the way of living according to the simplicity and purity of the Rule which was first fully understood by a few; in that congregation by way of God’s revelation they will be certain of the way of living in accordance to the Rule with the sure sign that this is the true reform; and from then on there will be no more disputes among them, nor disparities among some, but all will be gathered together with one mind and united together by virtue of the Holy Spirit, understanding and observing the Rule promised to God with such perfection that the highest state of observance and contemplation has never been nor ever will be in my Order; they will appear more like angels than men, the Lord God will enlighten and preserve that congregation and will not allow demons to send us any of their own; but those novices who come to the Order will not be of those who are born of flesh and blood, but those who by the Holy Spirit are reborn and called, and just as the firstborn and the last children are more loved and beloved by their father, so we who are the firstborn and the last comers to this way of life will be more beloved and privileged by the heavenly Father with gifts and graces.[26]

4. [Expropriation as vocational discernment]

Let the ministers tell them the word of the holy Gospel, that they should go and sell all their things and endeavour to give them to the poor, which if they cannot do, goodwill will suffice.

728 The seraphic Francis desired that the ministers of his Order should endeavour with all diligence in the reception of the novices to know whether they were called by the Holy Spirit or by the devil to disturb the observance of the Rule; And for this reason he wants that they be examined in the Catholic faith and the sacraments of the church, because if they are found corrupted in the faith, it would be a clear sign that they are led there not by Christ, but by the devil; and for greater proof of their good will they must, according to the form of the holy Gospel, be told to dispense all their riches to the poor.[27]

And blessed Francis wished, before they are invested, [that] they should put aside and dispose of their belongings, so that with greater peace of mind, having freed themselves from all worldly cares, they might be founded for that year of probation in the Spirit of Christ, and not wanting to dispense to the poor would be a manifest sign of their tepid and ambiguous desire to persevere; but it cannot be denied, however, that if having poor relatives, that one can leave and dispense his goods to them, as to the poor, as did blessed Francis, who, having told the simple friar John,[28] , that if he wished to make himself one of his brothers, that he should dispense his goods to the poor, the simple friar John went away and took the ox with which he was ploughing the field, and sent it to Saint Francis, saying that he would prefer not to touch his goods any further; “Nevertheless, I beg you,” he said, “my father, give this to the poor”; and when the pious Francis found out that his relatives were poor, he wanted that the ox be left with them for the love of God, as if it were for the more needy of the poor; and so when one cannot do what he wants with his goods, without enmity and quarrels entering in, and with the danger of one being turned away from the service of God, let them be, because their good will is enough.

729 The man of God, Francis[29] [1101] did not want the friars to get involved with the distribution of their goods, nor to give them advice, because these things are prone to breed hatred, enmity, quarrels, and a lot of tensions, all of which must be kept away from the servants of God; however, he wanted them to be able to receive the things necessary for the body and for present necessities and not for future necessities, when they were moved to give alms to the brothers; but he did not allow them to receive money or anything else to make money, but rather those things that the Rule allows them to receive from others.

And when he says that the friars and their ministers should beware that they are not solicitous for their temporal affairs, he means that they should not eye off their goods in order to receive them to build places or for their other designs, and that they should take care that with words or indeed with signs lest they would incline the young man to leave his goods to those whom the friars prefer, so that he may freely and of his own free will, not impeded by others, dispense his goods, when, how and to whom he pleases; for blessed Francis said that it was not lawful to be numbered with the poor of Christ those who did not want that those possessions be distributed to the poor; and a young man of the Marches who had left his goods to rich relatives, he cast him out as unworthy to be received.[30]

730 In confirmation of this, it is worth mentioning what brother Pietro Cattani, his companion and vicar of the whole Order, asked blessed Francis[31] whether it pleased him to receive for the needs of the brothers the things that they had received at St. Mary of the Angels, and some things that were offered to them by novices. The divine Francis replied: “May God forgive you, Brother Peter; may this thought be far from you and from me, for the Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ, would be more pleased that her altar be stripped for the needs of the friars than that the things be offered by novices against the Gospel of her Son; because nothing is more ruinous to our way of life than the abundance of temporal things due to the devotion of the people and the gifts of the rich, because the poor family of Christ has for its foundation holy poverty, which, taken away, every edifice of religion and spiritual life falls over.

This is that by which all of us commit and consign ourselves to the providence of God. This is that which in buildings, clothing and food edifies the world and moves everyone to devotion, that devotion from which are born forth alms and the needs of the brothers and the comfort of being able to serve God and with continual fasting and holy meditations which bring forth worthy fruits of penance, according to the will of the Christ, the institutor. Therefore, blessed children, if you want the door open to be able to bear worthy fruit in the world and to convert souls to God by good example, and to be recognised as legitimate sons of God, and that the doors of contemplation and the secrets of God be opened to you and at your end find [1102] heaven open, go clothed in the pallium of holy poverty, the riches and treasure of the servants of Christ, and I make known to you that those brothers who drive away holy poverty from themselves, will lose the light of God and become blinded and obscured in their own perception, incurring every vice”.

5. [The habit of novices and the defence of the Capuchin habit]

Then let them grant him the clothes of probation, that is, two tunics without the hood and the cord and short trousers and the hood reaching as far as the cord, unless, at times, it seems good to these same ministers, before God, to act otherwise.

731 The habit in which the man of God Francis wished his friars to be clothed consists principally in two things, namely, in the vileness and form of the habit, not departing in this from those first fathers and true servants of God, who, according to the chronicles and writings and ancient paintings of many saints, in which are seen and unquestionably confirmed by solemn writers of solid faith, were clothed in coarse and vile clothes, and their habits and trousers were very short, and the mantels they wore to protect themselves from the cold and many times from the rain were very poor and shabby.

Therefore, the divine Francis, imitator and renovator of their life and customs, conceded to his brothers two pairs of clothing, under the name of two tunics, and to the novices with this difference, that they be both be detached from the hood, as a sign indicating to each one the year of probation, and that they are not yet bound by the vows to this way of life.

As for the form of the habit, Francis took the ancient form that all the religious orders used to have and use in ancient times, as can still be seen today in the Order of the Carthusian monks, who wear a pointed hood. Also testifying to this is the habit of our father in which he received the sacred stigmata, which is preserved with great honour as a relic in the supreme city of Florence; and that which is moth eaten, which is preserved in the convent of Assisi, where the body of this blessed father lies; and I who write these things have seen and touched them with my own hands and, measuring the hood, it was two spans and pointed. What shall we say of the hood of the blessed Ruffino, which is kept in the monastery of Saint Clare in Assisi, very vile of ashy colour and more than two palms long? What shall we say of the habit of the blessed Simone della Contessa, which is reserved in the monastery of Spoleto, which is very shabby, the pointed hood more than two palms long?

732 In S. loanni Laterano, in S. Maria Maggior, in S. Silvestro, the upper church, in the convent of Assisi, in the convent of Pisa, and in almost infinite other places, St. Francis and other saints of the Order are depicted with their hoods pointed up, their habit narrow, ragged and shabby; and those who say that Saint Bonaventure took away the hood from the Order, beware that the blessed [1103] Raniero dal Borgo di S. Sepolcro, the body of whom is found intact, dressed in a very shabby black habit and natural hood, four spans long and pointed, which is moth eaten, as known from a public document made by the hand of a notary, more than 40 years after Saint Bonaventure.[32]

This is also shown by the chronicles of the Order, which say that when the General of the Order, Brother Michael of Cesena, was displeased with Pope John XXII, the General was forced to flee to Lombardy to a fortress and at that time the Order was divided, because the Pope had made another General by his own authority, and one part of the friars adhered with Brother Michael and the other part with the Pope’s General; And in order that they might know their own, the Supreme Pontiff wanted them to wear a rounded hood, and those who adhered with Brother Michael wore the pointed hood, just as the habit was given to them by their father St. Francis; but then, with the passing of time, they all put on the rounded hood so as not to disassociate themselves from the will of the Pontiff, and so the form of the habit, given by our father to the Order, was lost, and this is what the chronicles of the Order say.[33] The width of the habit, as for the aforesaid habits, should not exceed 12 palms; the padded hood should be two spans long, and so long that, when pulled down, it covers the entire face.

733 And our father said that the lesser brother should remain in his habit and be so covered with his hood that, going on a journey, just as the hermit hides himself in his hermitage and covers himself so as not to see or hear the vanities of the world, in such a way must the lesser brother use his hood, so that with it he may protect himself from the sun and the rain and not see the vanities of the world; but as if he were in the oratory with his mind lifted up to God, with his habit in the likeness of a cross, he strives to carry Christ in his heart, and with it show to the world that Christ is crucified.[34]

On one occasion, when two of his French friars came to blessed Francis and it seemed to the man of God that they were not dressed in a shabby manner, according to the purity and simplicity of the Rule, he severely reprimanded them and they, excusing themselves, said that in their regions there was no longer cheaper cloth like that; and blessed Francis, putting on a habit all patched in sackcloth, called them to himself and said: “And is there this type of cloth in your regions?”; and those brothers, after due consideration, humbly acknowledged their guilt.[35]

6. [Religious profession, tunic and mantle]

But when the year of probation is over, they are to be received into obedience, promising always to observe this life and Rule.

734 Not before the end of the year of probation did blessed Francis want the novices to be received into profession, so that in the space of a year they might see and experience all those things that are to be observed in this way of life, so that the novice with maturity [1104] and judgement may know what he can or cannot do; and the brothers themselves, since the novice has passed through all those things that they know to observe, may know his strengths and good or bad nature, whether he is healthy or infirm, and his will is good or bad, and from this experience may arise in them the resolution to receive him or not to receive him.

And not without cause does he say that they are received to obedience, because all virtues are included and contained in the evangelical obedience, and for this reason he calls the reception and vow of the evangelical life obedience, because through the obedience of Christ we are saved and redeemed, and through the same obedience we are called to the life of grace and glory.

What else is the mortification and renunciation of all our wills than obedience, which unites us to our Head Christ, to the Church and to the Order? The observance therefore of the divine precepts is nothing other than obedience to God and to those who reside in his place and command in his name.

735 Profession therefore consists in promising and making a vow to live under holy obedience and to observe the Rule of the lesser brothers simply as it is, without any gloss or quibbling, by which in the observance of this Rule are ordained all those means that are necessary and opportune. And because nothing is more contrary to the Rule than to live in freedom, it shows them that above all, after profession, they should not leave this way of life, and it says: according to the commandment of the Lord Pope, because Saint Francis had placed in the Rule that when, because of the persecution of the evil friars and the relaxation of the observance of the Rule, if it was not possible to observe it spiritually, they could go alone or accompanied to observe it in isolated places. But it seemed to His Holiness that this step could give occasion to many bizarre and proud friars who speciously or in a veiled way hold in contempt subjection to the observance of the Rule, to leave this way of life; therefore, His Holiness wished to moderate this step,[36] as per what is said in its place. It is therefore not lawful for those who profess this Rule to leave this way of life and withdraw from obedience.

It goes on to say that after the profession, they are to have one tunic with a hood and another one without a hood, for whoever wants to have it.

736 All the commentators and the supreme pontiffs, as well as all the scholars of the Order, say that it is not lawful for lesser brothers to wear more than two articles of clothing, except in case of extreme necessity, and the three companions of St Francis say that, out of pure observance of the Rule, he never wanted to use anything other than one tunic, and in extreme cold he used to patch it inside and out, and when travelling he wore a short and shabby mantle, which he never wanted to receive except on the understanding that he would give it away when he found someone who needed it more than he did. Therefore, it happened that he wore few mantles for a long time, because he gave them all away for the love of God, and his companions, after the death of the blessed [1105] Francis, were content with only a short, patched habit and a small and shabby mantle, which did not exceed the extremity of the hands. But because the way of life gradually departed from the pure observance of the Rule, those most fervent imitators of Francis persevered in that form and manner of dress which they had received from him, and for this reason they were called by Brother Elias and his followers the Amantelati [Wearers of short mantles]. It is much better, without doubt, for one to live in the pure observance of the Rule being clothed with only one tunic and a mantle, than with two tunics, because going on journeys one often finds them clothed in three garments […].[37]

7. [The prayer of the clerics and the Roman Church]

Let the clerics perform the divine office according to the order of the Holy Roman Church, except for the psalter.

737 However many are the effects and properties of the Holy Spirit, which He causes in those whom He possesses and rules, it is nevertheless most singular and particular to keep them always united; and as the Scripture says: Ego cogito cogitationes pacis, [I think thoughts of peace][38] having lifted and taken away from their hearts all discord and contention, He generates and gives birth to immense peace and tranquillity of mind in the holy souls whom He possesses.

The same both in external things and in all the difficulties that can be born in human minds, it can be singularly known if they are moved and inspired by the Holy Spirit, when with all humility they submit to the holy Church and her doctrine.

The opposite gives birth to and breeds in human minds [1112] the evil spirit, that is, disparagement, contention, sects, pertinacity, obstinacy and disturbances in oneself, with the Church and one’s neighbour.

The goodness of unity therefore is the property of the Holy Spirit; this unity was that which was communicated by the Holy Spirit in the heart, mind and all the works of the divine Francis. And for this reason, having ordered his sons in the two preceding chapters of the Rule how they are to live and observe the divine precepts, under the obedience, reverence and correction of the holy Church, in this third chapter, wishing to give an orderly and sure and perpetual way to divine worship, he says: The clerics are to perform the divine office, according to the order of the holy Roman Church.

738 Francis takes away all care and concern from those who profess his Rule, to correct, add to, diminish, change, or in whatever way one pleases, to instruct how the divine office is to be said; and as a good son, in all things, he leaves this care to the universal Holy Mother Church, of whom he principally expects to instruct the faithful, what, how and when to pray, and with what ceremonies they are to render to the high Creator due worship and honour. Indeed, in his Testament the man of God Francis forbids his sons to deviate from the Church and her ordinances concerning divine worship and wants them to be punished with the same penalties as if they were heretics.[39]

Therefore, without offending the purity of the Rule, the lesser brothers cannot deviate in the divine office from the order of the Church. Although the lesser brothers in all their affairs must order themselves in perpetual service of Jesus Christ, nevertheless, since the universal good is of greater importance than the particular, as is held by the whole universal Church that the canonical hours and divine Masses are to be said by the clerics who are consecrated to God in public churches and all together with good voices, consonance of spirit, customs, ceremonies and reverence, without coda and descant or other superfluities that diminish and retard devotion; they are to be said with more solicitude than the other private prayers, those being of lesser and particular good. However, all other private devotions are to be left aside at the time of the divine office, because they serve only themselves, although they may still be of benefit to others; nevertheless, in the canonical hours, if they are of value, if they satisfy the Church and the listeners, and for many other circumstances of the divine office, they are to be taken into account, more than for anything else, in order to be carefully ordered toward divine worship.

739 Therefore, as blessed Leo says,[40] the man of God Francis while travelling, when the time came for the divine office, would stop, even though many times it was bad weather, and with great reverence kneel, or stand upright, never sitting or leaning on something, even though he was worn-out or infirm, he rendered due praise to the Lord; the same thing he did while staying in the place.

Therefore, according to what the three companions say,[41] he wanted the brothers who lived in solitary places to say in the morning the first and third hours and at least one Mass; and then to remain in prayer until the sixth hour; And at the sixth hour, the lay ‘mothers’, by the ringing of a bell, were to call their children to take food, and when the priests and clerics went, they were to kneel on the ground and humbly ask their lay ‘mothers’ for corporeal food; and that the lay ‘mothers’ with all kindness should provide and minister to them their necessities. And when they went questing, they were to take care that when they returned to the place, they did not bring back worldly news; nor did the man of God Francis wish that in those places there should ever be any loud talking, or making a racket or other loud noises, nor should lay people ever enter, so that with greater tranquillity of mind the priests consecrated to God could attend to holy contemplation; and these men who led this life, fleeing all worldly conversation, Father Saint Francis called them brothers of the round table and bearers of the secrets of God; and this was his intention, that the brothers, sequestered from the world by the way of poverty, freed from all worldly cares, in spite of the sufferings of human frailty, should always cling to this way of life.

740 And because breviaries and books were very expensive at that time, out of a zeal for poverty and to remove all affection from the hearts of the brothers, he wanted the breviaries to be communal and, if they happened to be needed, to take one according to what came to hand, without any particular affection.[42]

And blessed Leo[43] narrates that he saw in a vision that many friars were passing a great river and all those who were laden remained in it and drowned, and some who carried little weight, with great difficulty passed; and this friar Leo, because he had the breviary, was about to drown. Expounding on this vision Francis said: “This is how it will be, dearest son brother Leo: all those lesser brothers who, troubled and weighted down by temporal things, trying to cross the river of this world, will be drowned and damned”.

741 The same three companions[44] say that one time a great preacher came and asked the blessed Francis about his intention, whether, according to the Rule, the brothers could have books for their own use, and the blessed Francis replied: “I understand the Rule about poverty and about all other things, according to how it sounds, and according to the literal sense, that is, that the brothers do not have anything for their own use except for their habit, tunic, cord and short trousers [1114] and the clerics the breviaries”. The preacher replied: “What then shall I do, since I have so many books that are worth five hundred lire?”, and he said this because he wanted to receive permission from Saint Francis to keep them. Then blessed Francis replied with great spirit: “You lesser brothers want to be called observers of the Rule and you also want to have a money bag; I cannot and will not grant such a licence against the promised Rule”.

742 Another time[45] out of importunity and imprudence he granted a friar a small psalter; but then thinking again the man of God called that very friar and said to him: “My little son, where did I grant you the psalter?”; and leading him to that same place, the man of God knelt and said to him: “Here in that very place I take it back, because it is against the purity of the Rule and I granted it to you imprudently; for it is not lawful for lesser brothers to have anything other than what is granted them by the Rule”.

Here it should be noted that two translations and two interpretations were made of the Hebrew, in Greek and in Latin; the one used by the Greeks, which was used much more in all the churches of the Christians, both by the Latins and the Greeks; the other interpretation is used only by the Roman Church in Rome, more in St. Peter’s than in the other churches of Rome; and because the man of God Francis saw that it was more universally used by the whole Church, and except in Rome, as is the said psalter which the lesser brothers now use, for this reason, in order not to be separated from the other religious orders and from the other clerics, he did not want that psalter to be used which was used by few outside the church of St. Peter; therefore he says “except the psalter’.

8. [The Pater Noster of the lay brothers]

But the laity say 24 pater nostri per Matins etc.

743 Despite various and different opinions having been given by many interpreters of the Rule, they believe that since the Rule was revealed to Saint Francis by Christ our Lord, it is not lacking in spiritual sense and significance: therefore why more than 23 rather than 30 pater noster for Matins? Why 7 at other hours, and 12 at Vespers? It occurs to me to say some words in order to invite the simple and devout lay brothers to say their office more devoutly,[46] in the same way that the Church of God, governed by the Holy Spirit, has ordained the canonical hours in order to render due praise to the Creator; but more particularly to give thanks for the immense benefits we have received from his divine Majesty; but because above all the benefits, two are the principal ones, by which we live corporally and spiritually: the first is the being which God has given us by creating us; the second is the grace which we have received through the merits of the passion of our Lord; and by this shows and demonstrates to us that the Holy Spirit wills that 24 pater noster be said [1115] for Matins, which ends with darkness and begins with light, that is, at the end of the night in the last hour it is called morning; and at the beginning of the day it is called the dawn. The time of darkness lasted from the sin of Adam until the death of Christ, from which darkness we are freed by the merits of the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, hence being born in original sin we are subjected to this darkness; but through the resurrection of Jesus Christ the dawn begins for us when we become members of the body of Jesus Christ, the universal Head, through the sacred baptism.

744 24 therefore are the pater noster to give thanks to God for the benefit of our being; and because this our being has been freed from sin, from the weight of the law, from darkness and being cursed, through the merits of Christ’s passion; for just as the natural day is determined by 24 hours, which, once finished, begins the next day, so through Christ, the dark time of sin has ended and been terminated, so begins the new day of grace and mercy.

Therefore five are the pater noster for Lauds, because we have received all things through the wounds of our Saviour; but because through the abasement of Jesus Christ we are redeemed and healed, he does not want us to spend our time in idleness; wherefore in the first hour when at that morning hour Christ our Lord was taken and presented to Annas, bound, beaten, mocked in the house of Caiaphas, scourged and imprisoned, and was finally condemned by the high priest and all the council of the elders, so at the first hour being presented to Pilate, mocked and scourged, he wants us to practise the works of mercy, and in order that we may better exercise them, according to the will of God and for our benefit, 7 times, in which with 7 petitions we ask God for our spiritual and corporal needs. For the first hour we pray asking of God; we repeat this in the third hour, in which Christ was presented to Herod, and by him was mocked and sent back to Pilate, by whom unjustly he was sentenced to death.

745 Let the lay brothers say 7 pater noster praying to God to give them grace, by the merits of the false accusations and condemnations that Christ received for our healing, never to falsely judge, condemn or in any way offend our neighbour; but to give us grace to fulfil the divine precept: “Love your neighbour as yourself”.

At the sixth Christ was placed on the cross, was given vinegar and gall to drink, his garments were divided by executioners, and mocked by almost all. Let the lay brothers say 7 Our Fathers, that God may give them grace to flee from being of that number and great multitude who mock [1116] Christ, but of that small flock and those few who mourned for Christ and were crucified with Christ out of grief, as was his most gracious Mother and the holy apostles, with a few other friends of Jesus Christ. But because few and rare are to be found, who in the time of trial and temptation do not turn their backs on Jesus Christ unless they are strengthened and sustained by the Holy Spirit, by then imparting the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit, 7 are the Pater Noster.

746 At the ninth hour, Christ our Lord, having in the person of the Good Thief forgiven all those who believed and hoped to finish in good works and in his divine grace, having prayed for his enemies, and having commended his Mother to Saint John, with a loud voice commending to his Eternal Father his most holy soul, sent it out of his most holy body, to bring our redemption to completion; for this reason, seven are the Pater Noster to ask God’s grace that we may use and dispense these things according to His good pleasure, so that, as good and faithful administrators of time, bodily strength, intelligence and goods, we may merit at death to render the spirit immaculate, being, as alive, so still in death, all to Christ. At the hour of Vespers the Son of God was lifted from the cross and was placed in the arms of his most gracious Mother, who did not wish to prove anything other than that Christ from that synagogue was impiously placed on the cross, was taken from that synagogue, as being an unworthy possessor of him, by the Eternal Father and placed in the bosom of the holy Church, by which, through the 12 articles of faith, he was embraced by the grace of the Holy Spirit and buried therein, and in the same way he was resurrected and lives, as the beloved spouse, life, beauty and infinite treasure of the same. Twelve are therefore the Pater Noster to implore from his divine Majesty the stability and perpetual steadfastness of the undoubting faith in the 12 articles with which we are united to Christ and his Church.

747 At the hour of Compline, Christ with much weeping was placed in the holy sepulchre by Josephus and Nicodemus, from which he was resurrected so as to resurrect all those who were and are dead in sin, with baptism and with contrition and confession. 7 therefore are the Pater Noster, that we may implore from God that during the whole time of our burial in religious life, in which we are dead and buried under obedience, we may be so dead and stripped of all our will, that we may merit at the end of our burial to be resurrected with Christ and his glorious elect.

But because there are three Churches, or rather are found in three parts, and in three different states, militant, purgative and triumphant; and since the way of life of the lesser brothers is ordained by God for the benefit of the whole Church, the divine Francis wanted the purgative to be helped by the prayers of the lesser brothers, like the other two, and therefore he says: “Let them pray for the dead”. And if it were not an article of faith, as this sentence alone is, it would be sufficient for us to believe in purgatory, since the Rule of the lesser brothers has been revealed by God and approved by the Holy Church; therefore, every day the lay brothers must make some particular prayers for the holy souls who are in purgatory at the hour of Compline. It does not speak of priests, because it has been ordered by the Church in the seven canonical hours that the clerics pray for the dead.

9. [After prayer, fasting]

And they fast from the feast of All Saints until the Nativity of the Lord

748 There are two principal ways in which lofty contemplation is desired and attained, namely, fasting and silence. For this reason the man of God, Francis, having instructed his sons in the way of life by those opportune and most necessary means that are possible, in order to come to contemplation and to intrinsic union with Christ; now with these two wings of fasting and silence he ordered his sons more particularly and strictly, not departing from the ancient custom of those ancient fathers, both of the Old and New Testaments, who laid a solid foundation in fasting and bodily abstinence, this holy father wants that they fast with great strictness of fasting, solitude, silence and prayer during the said Lent, as we read of him in that Lent which he made at the Speco di Sant’Urbano, where by divine miracle he turned water into wine; likewise of the fast he made on the mountain of La Verna, at the end of which he received from Jesus Christ the sacred stigmata; of that which he made on the island of the lake of Perugia, where in 40 days it is believed that he ate only half a loaf of bread, and as St. Bonaventure says of him, all the time he lived this way of life, he always fasted and mostly of it on bread and water, and only just a little of it.[47]

749 What shall we say of the holy fathers in the desert, with what strictness of abstinence did they macerate their flesh? But leaving aside all the others, the example of the Saviour of the world alone should suffice, who, in order to pay for the debts and sins that we have committed and continue to commit with our stomachs, wished to fast for 40 days, and so to approve and authenticate the holy fast and leave it to the Church as an example to be perpetually observed by it. In this, then, the divine Francis founded the fast that all his sons should observe, because this, [1118] too, was merited by Jesus Christ, who, by virtue of his fasts, made all our fasts pleasing and meritorious to God, done for love of him, from whom we receive the strength and wisdom to be able to fast worthily. Saint Francis fasted with great devotion from the Epiphany to the 40th day and although it is not a religious obligation, nevertheless those who can but do not do that fast lose a lot and show they have little devotion and do not receive the blessing of their father Saint Francis;[48] just as fasting is a devout time which Christ our Lord, for our salvation, consecrated it with his holy fast, and it is an ancient custom of those most fervent servants of God who made this fast with no less diligence than the other two obligatory fasts; and when the brothers become apathetic to fasting this holy fast, they themselves give a bad example of laxity and being of little spirit, and especially to the young and healthy, who instead, with great ease, with great benefit to the soul and body, could fast.

750 I will not be silent about an example given by the man of God John Climacus, the most sublime and solicitous instructor of religious life and contemplation, who said that all monastic perfection consists in 24 Greek letters[49] , that is, in obedience, fasting, hair shirts, tears, contrition, confession, not doing evil for evil, love of one’s neighbour, meekness, simple and firm faith, in being without curiosity and questioning, in subtlety of the difficult passages of Scripture, in having no worldly cares and any solicitude and cares for this world, in hating one’s country and one’s relatives with holy hatred, in fleeing from everyone and removing from oneself all superfluous familiarity, in the perfect mortification of one’s own will, in willingly loathing one’s own self, and so that God grants us these virtues and perfections, some devotions must be said every day.

There were some brothers who, after the death of blessed Francis, said that the lesser brothers are not obliged to fast except for those fasts which are in the Rule, which says: “at other times the brothers are not obliged to corporeal fasting”; these friars were harshly reprimanded by the blessed friar Giovanni da Parma[50] saying that by the Scriptures, as reason demonstrates, we can know that we are obliged to observe those fasts that other Christians are obliged to observe by the Church, such as the four periods and the vigils.

10. [In the world, but not of the world]

I counsel, admonish and encourage my brothers in the Lord Jesus Christ that when they go out into the world, etc..

751 Blessed Francis did not wish to order anything concerning [1119] the governing and way of life of the Order, nor to guarantee it with writings or in any other way, if he did not first seek the blessing and will of Jesus Christ, who, as this Francis said publicly in the general chapter which was celebrated at Santa Maria degli Angeli (Cardinal Ostiense, protector of the Order, being present) that Christ had revealed to him that “only to very few, indeed very rare saints has the Lord himself offered such an abundance of his presence to Francis; and every time that I have recourse to Him for the benefit of Religion, He graciously listens to me, and removes all doubt from me”.[51]

However, finding himself almost at the beginning of this way of life, he began to have doubts as to whether it was the will of Jesus Christ, or whether he should be totally withdraw from the world and lead a contemplative life in harsh and solitary places, or whether he should go and preach to the infidels and attain the palm of martyrdom, or whether he should go about in the world preaching to Christians with words and good example; and desiring to confirm for himself of God’s good pleasure, not only through his prayers and petitions, but those of St. Clare, Blessed Sylvester and other most faithful servants of God,[52] it was confirmed by Jesus Christ that he had called him along with all the Order for the benefit of his neighbour and that the life of the lesser brother should be directed towards these two principal virtues, namely, contemplation and those circumstances that facilitate and perfect contemplation; the second, to the wellbeing of souls by preaching the word of God and by good example.

752 Therefore, the man of God having it confirmed that it was his will that his friars, inflamed in contemplation, full of the love of God and neighbour, should speak to the laity for their salvation, he gave them the form of how they should converse, saying “I beseech you, blessed sons, that when you go into the world, you take care not to quarrel, not to fight or in any way dispute among yourselves, or with any person, either in word or deed, but be meek, peaceful and modest; meek I say in person, modest in manners, peaceful in conversation, speaking to all honestly as is fitting for the servants of God and for the conversion and health of souls.

And because the preaching of words would be in vain without the good example of purity and holiness of life, therefore I exhort you to preach much more by example than by words, being servants as how the Scriptures say, resembling the meek, peaceful, innocent and simple lamb; and you must not go on horseback without manifest necessity or infirmity [1120] because riding a horse is not in conformity with the apostolic state, which we have promised to follow”.

The Son of God went preaching and discoursing through Galilee[53] not on horseback, but on foot, barefoot and poorly clothed; not with much provision of victuals, but with five barley loaves,[54] and passing through the countryside, they picked some heads of grain to feed on wheat;[55] not with pomp and haughtiness, but meek, humble, patient, temperate and very gently in conversation so that, like an innocent lamb, everyone would approach him, every one press against him, and every one took a liking to him, even publicans and harlots, common women and children,[56] to be all things to those who would imitate him; for it is much more with meekness, humility, and charity that the souls of sinners are drawn to penance and to the wellbeing of their souls, than with terse speech, sharpness of knowledge, and other acts of pride and expedience.

753 But when the Son of God, in order to fulfil the Scriptures, had to ride, he humbly wished to ride, not on a horse, but on a small donkey;[57] not on a saddle adorned and gilded, but on the garments of his apostles. Thus the affirmer of the Gospel, needing by necessity to ride, in order to imitate those renowned forebears, the Saviour of the world rode on a small donkey.

The divine Francis was also sent so that, being completely evangelical, he might proclaim the peace that had been made between God and man through Christ his Son; and therefore he wrote in the Rule: “In whatever house they enter, etc.” and the lesser brothers must never use any other greeting, since this was revealed and imposed on them by Christ, as the blessed Francis says in his Testament: “The Lord revealed this greeting to me that we should say: The Lord give you peace”.[58] And blessed Francis did not want his brothers in any way to worry or have concern about bodily needs, but to take what was prepared for them from hour to hour by divine providence; and when he sent his brothers on a journey, he used to tell them that verse from the Psalm: lacta cogitatum tuum in Domino et ipse te enutriet [Cast your care upon the Lord, and he will sustain you].[59] And when they stayed in the house of some honest persons, they should eat of those dishes that were set before them, according to the freedom of the Gospel and the custom of poor people, because the poor of Christ should not be served with special provisions, but should humbly and domestically eat what they eat, meaning appropriate dishes; and not against the obligation to fast in eating meat, nor food that is injurious to the body, but appropriate dishes. […]

11. [Saint Francis’ intentions regarding the friary and the churches of the friars]

Let the brothers take nothing, neither house, nor place, nor anything

754 [1137] In the legend of the three companions,[60] it is said that when Saint Francis had to take a place, the first thing he wanted was to go to the bishop of the diocese and, having obtained permission, to take the site, with the express agreement that it would always be under the jurisdiction of others, and that he would so patronise it that he could say to the friars, “I do not want you to live in my place any more”, and the friars without reply and without showing any sadness will immediately leave; and when some people came to these places, they should show them every kindness and that as if they had more right to be there, as if they were more the patrons than the friars themselves, even if the brigands came, he did not want them to be repulsed, neither with words nor with deeds, nor were they to show any dominion whatsoever over these places.

755 With regard to the construction, he wanted the brothers to make gardens and a small wood around the place, which would be surrounded by ditches and a good hedge, to protect themselves from bad and suspicious conversations, such as with women and others, and to allow the brothers to do their prayers and devotions without being bothered by the laity. He wanted the building to be so low that a large man standing erect could touch the roof of the place; walled up simply, without curves or any curious smoothness, and that the face of the stone could be seen from the outside and not covered with lime; the partitions of the cells should be of wicker woven and implanted with mud and that the brothers should always know the patron of the place, and that at least once a year they should recognise him as patron, as did our father at the place of S. Maria degli Angeli, who, as long as he lived, every year took to the abbot of S. Benedetto a basket of certain small fish that are called dace in exchange for the permission to remain at the said place, to thank him for the time he had granted them and if he wanted them to live there for the time being […].[61]

756 And the churches that St. Francis had built where the brothers said the office and Mass were so small that, with great difficulty, 25 people could fit inside them, just as we can still see today the church of the Spiego di Canale, the church of the Spiego di S. Urbano, the church of the Carcere d’Assisi, the church of the Celle di Cortona and many others, which can be seen, both churches and places, to be very poor, vile and simple buildings […].[62]

12. [Gentleness, domesticity and loving-kindness of the brothers]

757 […The Seraphic Father Francis therefore desires that, just as a great house and a great family is governed and preserved by nothing more than love, kindness and friendliness towards one another, so his Order, the family of Jesus Christ, [1147] composed of so many of different bloods, countries, languages and nations, is to be united and bound together by no other bond than by the bond of friendship and love, that it may be maintained in unity and bound together in so many members with its head Jesus Christ; by which bond God our Lord binds and unites all creation. And blessed Francis wishes this bond to be greater and more noble, inasmuch as by it are unite not profane members and families, but members and families of Jesus Christ.

And therefore let the professors of this Rule take care that their brothers, whom they must love, are spiritual and not carnal; for so much greater must be their spiritual love towards their brothers than that of a mother towards the son of her flesh, as the spirit is greater and nobler than the body.[63]

And just as our Saviour says: “In this men will know if you are my disciples, if you love one another”,[64] so the professors of this Rule in this they will know if they are truly evangelical and of the family of the Son of God, when they love their brother with all their heart, by giving him a good example, good doctrine, an opportunity always to strive for perfection, by giving him security with domestic and familiar conversation, with loving words, and in their needs they will serve and care for him more than a mother does her sick child.

758 And yes, all the words of the Rule of the divine Francis, with spirit and life, being words of the supreme wisdom of the Son of God, in these singularly, happening to speak to him of those things which he had most engraved in his heart, he expresses them in loftier words and more noteworthy examples. So great was the piety that resided in the seraphic Francis that he not only showed it to rational creatures, but with great familiarity even to the brute animals, and this was that precious gem that he so desired his children to be adorned with, love, familiarity and friendliness towards one another, because hatred, discord, harsh words, murmuring, not being united one to another, persecutions and ambitions make the Order and family of Christ become a hell and family of Lucifer.

And if union and harmony edify the world and nourishes all goodness in religion, on the contrary, discord scandalises the world and annihilate it and consumes all goodness in religion; such discord depends on self-love, just as charity and concord arise [1148] and depend on the observance of the Rule and the perfect love of God.

759 The three companions recount[65] that when the divine Francis was in a secular house and had already converted to God, and he was on horseback near a leprosarium, near the city of Assisi, which is called the walled leprosarium, a leper was so severely disfigured, in his face at least, that to see him was frightening, and the stench of the wounds was so great that it was intolerable; being such that the young man seeing him would usually turn away without giving any alms; but no sooner than he had passed, it re-entered into his heart and mind the resolution he had made to himself never to renounce anything that might be asked of him for the love of God, so he took stock of himself and returning to the leper, in order to overcome himself, he embraced him and kissed him on the face where he was most disfigured, and putting his hand to his purse to give him the alms, the said leper with a joyful face disappeared from his embrace, vanishing away; for this reason he knew clearly that the said leper was Jesus Christ who had appeared to him in that form, from which Francis received an immense desire to serve the lepers and the sick, just as he did almost all the time that he lived; and so he wanted his brothers to serve the lepers; how much more must they serve their sick brothers […].

13. [The general chapter of the brothers]

760 According to the Rule, the ministers and custodians are obliged to convene a general chapter; the time and place, and when it is to be held, is in the power of the General.

And blessed Francis[66] wanted the holiest and most exemplary brothers found in the Order to meet in chapters, by whom it would be discussed how the Rule could be better and more strictly observed in this way of life, and that all the relaxations should be attended to, and in particular that the defects of the prelates should be reviewed, and with holy precautions for the future they should be corrected and punished with the oil of mercy and the wine of justice, and especially the transgressors of holy poverty, which he called the most stable foundation of the whole way of life; and just as a palace or a house could not stand without a foundation, so the Order without the foundation of holy poverty is bound to collapse into ruin.

761 Blessed Francis greatly hated the multiplication of ordinances,[67] because he principally wanted the brothers to found themselves in and to attend to the simple observance of the Rule, and for the interpretation of it to study his Testament, which he said was the last manifestation of his will concerning how he wanted the brothers to understand the Rule; and for this reason he forbids the receiving and seeking from the Church privileges or with much massaging to interpret and explain away the true sense he revealed in the Testament, thereby distorting the Rule, saying: “The Rule will never be understood except by those who observe it, and the more they want to explain it with glosses and interpretative teachings, the more they will obscure it,[68] because the Rule is so founded in simplicity that nothing is more contrary to it than curiosity and pride in all things. Therefore, the one who is founded in simplicity speaks [1159] and converses and works with everyone in simplicity; in simplicity he is clothed and dwells in simple, humble, poor and lowly places; in simplicity of heart he is subservient, serves and is obedient to everyone; in simplicity he does all things. This can be called a perfect observer of the Rule”.

And therefore he did not want the brothers to avidly pursue studies, but having some knowledge of the sacred Scriptures, to preach much more to everyone with example than with curious words.[69] This, then, was what he wanted to be discussed in the chapters, that is, to maintain all simplicity in the way of life, and for the prelates to defend it from all curiosity with all solicitude […].

14. [Preaching sermons with brevity]

762 The Seraphic Father wanted that his preachers should not preach with long-winded and unfruitful words, which usually displease everyone, but on things useful and necessary for the salvation of souls. And he says that ” our Lord when on earth kept His word brief”.[70]

The Son of God could not have abridged his speech any more than when he confined and collected all the prophesies, all the law and sacred Scripture, all the figures and promises of the Old Testament, in these four words: Verbum caro factum est [the Word was made flesh],[71] where all the promises, figures and prophecies end; he could not with greater brevity say all the precepts than in the one precept of love.

He could not take and remove from man every trouble of searching for his salvation by reason and scripture, so much as when he said: Qui crediderit et batizzatus fuerit, salus erit [whoever believes and is baptised, will be saved],[72] as if to want to say: “What cannot be understood, if not very imperfectly with long length of time and great difficulty, just believe it and leave it; and believing, act accordingly, and you will be saved”.[73]

763 Now how could he give the world a clearer book that spoke more highly and that could so easily be understood by all by the light of faith, than the book of his most holy Humanity, which, so that it could be read better and more easily by all the learned and unlearned, small and great, he wanted to set it up in a high place, naked, with his head bowed, arms outstretched, on the wood of the holy cross, and he wanted to leave it as an image in his Church, so that it could always be read and considered. He who reads well the Crucified, well understands and well preaches all the virtues and those things that are necessary for salvation. What book can be found that so well describes faith, hope, charity, humility, patience, poverty, obedience, modesty, kindness, contempt for the world and love of heavenly things, as does the excellent and divine book of the Son of God on the cross?[74]

Therefore, the divine Francis desired that his brother preachers should not be moved and then exhausted in preaching [1165] by avarice, gluttony and other vices, but by the impetus of the Holy Spirit, acquired in silence in solitary places, in abstinence, in holy prayer and in holy contemplation of the crucified Jesus Christ, they should be moved to preach the Word of God out of simple zeal for his honour and the salvation of their neighbour.[75]

15. [The preaching of good example]

764 Therefore the three companions[76] narrate that when once passing through a city, the blessed Francis said to his companion: “My son, we have to preach in this city”. And passing through the midst of the city with great modesty, with his eyes downcast, barefoot, and poorly clothed, and with the hood over his eyes, he passed through without saying a word. And when he had gone out of the city, his companion asked him why he had not preached. And the good father answered, saying, “My son, we have preached well, and soon you shall see the fruit of our preaching”. And being a little away from the city, a young man ran up following them, crying out that they wait for him; when he arrived, he knelt and with many tears said: “Father, I am so edified with your modesty and exemplary life, seeing you pass through the city so modestly, that I have decided to abandon the world and follow you”. Having received this from the seraphic father, he led a very exemplary life in the Order and ended up very holy. Then said blessed Francis to his companion: “Have I not told you, dearest brother, that we preached? Know, my son, that primarily for this the Son of God has elected this way of life of the lesser brothers, so that by the example of the life of Jesus Christ they may preach to the world; and this way of preaching he wills and seeks from every lesser brother, and blessed will be those who will exercise well this most noble way of preaching by example and deed rather than by words; and woe to those brothers who by their bad life and bad example destroy and annihilate that which the holy brothers of this Order have built, for they will receive the curse of Christ”.

765 Blessed Aegidius,[77] hearing a preacher who much praised himself and gloried in his preaching, saying that he would gladly have preached in the square of Perugia; Blessed Aegidius in fervour of spirit cried out loudly: “O brother preacher, I wish to teach you what you must say in your sermon. You will say thus: Bo, bo, bo, much I say, little I do”, wanting to chastise him for his vanity and [1166] show him that vain is the preaching of he who preaches to others and not to himself […].

16. [Desiring the Spirit of the Lord and his holy operation]

766 [1178] The divine Francis could not have summed up and reduced to greater brevity and in graver words all the intentions of Christ in the Rule, when, having stripped his brothers of all earthly things by precepts, warnings, counsels and reasoning, he now shows them in these words all those things to which they must principally attend; for the will of Jesus Christ is not that the hearts of the professors of this Rule should be vacuous and vain, but that he should strip them of earthly things that they may be filled with heavenly things. And because nothing fills, magnifies, ennobles, and enlarges the heart and mind more than the Spirit of the Lord, whose presence moves, uplifts, and spurs the heart to every good endeavour, and for this reason no one is ever sure of salvation and of being able to work rightly if he does not have the Spirit of the Lord in his soul.

This is that which strengthened the holy apostles in every tribulation and persecution; this fills them with spirit and goodness; and therefore, since the lesser brothers know that by their own spirit they cannot observe the Rule, nor do things that are pleasing to God, he admonishes them that they desire nothing other than the Spirit of the Lord, the home, guide and norm of all perfection; of which the Spirit of the Lord seeks nothing else in his most holy passible and mortal Humanity in this world than to perfectly fulfil the will of the Father.

767 Therefore, this is the Order which the Lord our God has established in order to bring the world to its appointed end, so that no spirit other than the Holy Spirit might work in all things and in each of them for their good, the eternal Father having called forth his Spirit, communicating to him from eternity the divine essence, and by his intelligence generating his own divine and blessed Son, so that the spirit of the Son is not dissimilar to that of the Father, but that two persons in one divine essence have one will, one understanding, and one power between them, and that there might be nothing but one God in three persons and one divine essence; in order that all the divine perfection found in one person might be found in all three of them and each of them might return to the other (excluding the personal attribute that cannot be communicated); so it was the will of the Eternal Father, his blessed Son having taken on human flesh and clothed himself with our humanity, that no other should preach to us and no other should lead us by example and doctrine to do anything except the will [1179] of the Eternal Father.

768 And therefore the Son of God said: “I have not come to do my will, but the will of Him who sent me.[78] Moreover he says: Ego et Pater unum sumus [The Father and I are one];[79] and in another place: Omnia mea tua sunt et omnia tua mea sunt [All that is mine is yours and all that is yours is mine].[80] And therefore he said: Exivi a Patre et veni in mundum. Iterum relinguo mundum et vado ad Patrem [I came forth from the Father and came into the world. Again I leave the world and go to the Father];[81] and then he adds: Pater, manifestavi nomen tuum et ecce venio ad te [Father, I have revealed your name and behold, I am coming to you],[82] to show us that for no other reason he has come in this way than to manifest the Name of His Eternal Father to man, His glory, His goodness, His richness and infinite goodness, to excite the heart of man to desire them and with all his strength seek them; and no other spirit was sufficient to work in the Humanity of Jesus Christ the things which the divine Word worked, if not this Spirit and Word Incarnate. The same Spirit gave this divine Word to his apostles, so that that Spirit, which among divine things makes and governing all in the Humanity of Christ, might work in the apostles, so that our redemption might be brought about by none other than this Christ, although it depends on many other things, as instruments which this Spirit is pleased to make use of for our salvation.

The same Spirit left the Son of God to the Church, his bride, by whom she must be guided and governed.

This is that divine Spirit which the Seraphic Francis wanted to be desired and sought after by the professors of his Rule; but because he is not worthy of that Spirit who does not fulfil the precept of the Saviour and his doctrine, who said to that young man who wished to be saved: “If you wish to be perfect and make yourself worthy of my Spirit, and to be introduced to understand in my school the deep secrets of God, go and dispose of all things, sell them and give them to the poor and come and follow me”.[83]

769 Therefore the divine Francis, having led his sons by the Rule into the school of Jesus Christ and the apostolic life, admonishes them to follow none other than Jesus Christ. But because they cannot enjoy the bodily presence of the Son of God, he urges them to seek the spiritual presence of his divine Spirit, who always remains with the elect,[84] which alone must suffice for the servants of God, nor should they desire anything other than the Spirit of the Son of God, who guides those whom he possesses by holy virtues.

Therefore he says: and his holy operation, which is nothing other than by means of this Spirit to acquire and put into operation all the holy virtues [1180] that adorn and make perfect the soul; all of which, having been acquired, can easily always pray to God with a pure heart. No one understands or knows the Father except the Son.[85] For this reason, whoever possesses the Holy Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit easily induces and spurs him to pray with purity of heart, because God is spirit and seeks such spiritual persons, who in spirit and truth worship him.[86] And he says with a pure heart, for this is not stained with any other mixture; he does not want there to be any other intention in this heart, which is not possessed by anything but God. It is called pure when it is stripped of all desire for earthly things.

770 Let the lesser brothers therefore take heed and consider well the most noble state that has been given them by God to hold in this world. He could not say more than to pray, wishing to show them the office and the exercise that the Rule has given them, which is to pray the office of the blessed spirits, who do nothing else in heaven; an exercise that the Son of God has exercised more than any other in this world. This is what the Son of God in the last hour constituted and left as an eternal testament to the holy Church in the person of the apostles, when he said to them: Usquemodo non petistis quidquam in nomine meo. Petite et accipretis [Hitherto you have asked nothing in my name; ask, and you will receive].[87]

This is that exercise that so strengthened the holy martyrs in their tribulations. This was that which in so many temptations gave the palm of victory to those early fathers who with such abstinence and loftiness of life dwelt like angels of God in harsh places, having known by the Holy Spirit that prayer is that which principally God seeks from his servants.

771 And therefore, so that they may be able to pray comfortably and expediently, they should divest themselves of all earthly things and retire to the places of solitude. This, then, is that ultimate operation to which Francis orders his whole way of life. And for this reason, he says: Pray always to God with a pure heart. And so that by his holy prayer they may not be disturbed, and instructed to leave the vice of pride and put on humility: and to have humility and patience in persecutions and infirmities, as if to say: “So do I want them to be rooted in their heart to holy prayer, that no passion can remove or detach them from it. As the Apostle Paul says: Who shall separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus? [1181] Distress, tribulation, etc.? And he then concludes: I say that nothing will be able to separate us”,[88] wanting to show us perfect charity, with which the divine Francis desires the lesser brothers to be clothed. And therefore he says: And to love those who persecute you, which is the effect of perfect charity. And because perseverance brings the victory of the crown, therefore he says: Whoever perseveres to the end, this will be saved, wanting to arrive at the fruit of perfect observance of the Rule, which is one’s own salvation and the acquisition of eternal goods. […]

17. [Conclusion]

Blessed will be those, then, who will perfectly taste and feed on this divine outpouring of the holy Rule, made up of many grains and small morsels that from the living Bread of the divine Word proceed the evangelical doctrine. So many grains of the excellent Sower[89] have fallen [1191] in the great field of the world, some along the roads, some among the hedges and hard stones of carnal and sensual men and their sects. But this divine seed having fallen in the fertile field of the holy Church, it has produced, produces and will produce twice as much fruit to fill the granary of the Son of God in the heavenly homeland.

Of these loaves, therefore, Francis forms the bread,[90] with which he intends to feed his brothers, so that, well fed, they may live with Christ luminous and glorious and reigning forever in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

  1. Tridentine and Counter-Reformation Ecclesiology.
  2. Cf. Mt 18:17.
  3. Mt 20:28.
  4. Mt 20:27; Mk 10:44.
  5. Jn 21:15
  6. Heb 5:4.
  7. Mt 28:20.
  8. Mt 21:1-7.
  9. Cf. Jn 17:4, 26.
  10. A forceful and profound concept of religious life.
  11. Jn 6:38.
  12. Jn 4:34.
  13. Jn 17:18.
  14. Phil 2:6-8.
  15. Lk 2:51.
  16. Cf. Jn 8:29.
  17. Test. 33-34 (FF No. 124).
  18. The reference is found in various source texts, such as 2Cel. 151; Leg maior 6.4; Leg. per. 106; Spec. perf. 46 (FF nos. 735, 1106, 1662-63, 1734).
  19. It is an episode that Giovanni da Fano also briefly refers to in his amended Dialogo. For sources cf. ibid., footnote 293.
  20. Cf. 2Cel. 214-215; Leg. mairor 14,3-4 (FF nos. 804-805, 1239-40).
  21. This information is taken from A. Clareno, but without referring to the Three Companions. Cf. Expositio, ed. L. Oliger, 51.
  22. This is a very loose translation of the beginning of the 2nd chapter of the Expositio cit. by A. Clareno, 50.
  23. 23. Bull Quo elongati, in BF I, 68-70 (FF nn. 2729-2739).
  24. Allusion to the fact of Fonte Colombo, narrated in Spec, perf. 1-2; but the whole passage is taken from A. Clareno, Expositio cit., 51f., who adapts it to his spiritualism.
  25. Quat. Mag., 123f; Spec. Minorum, pars III, f. 15rb; also in A. Clareno, Expositio cit., 52.
  26. Many concepts of these predictions and prophecies of St Francis can be found in A. Clareno, Expositio cit., 53f; Hist. 7 trib. 1,4, ed. A. Ghinato, 21-23, 124; and also in the Leggenda antica, ed. S. Minocchi, c. 28, p. 59f, and now in the new edition entitled: Vita del povero et humile servo de Dio Francesco from the ms. Capponiano-Vatican 207, edited by M. Bigaroni. Introduction by A. Marini, Santa Maria degli Angeli-Assisi 1985, c. 29, p. 87f.
  27. Cf. A. Clareno, Expositio cit., 55f.
  28. Cf. 2Cel. 190; Leg. per. 19; Spec. perf. 57 (FF nos. 776, 1566, 1747).
  29. Cf. A. Clareno, Expositio cit., 58.
  30. Cf. 2Cel. 81; Leg. per. 20; Leg. maior 7.3 (FF nos. 668, 1567, 1122).
  31. The fact, briefly, is narrated in 2Cel. 67; Leg. maior 7,4 (FF nos. 653 and 1123); cf., Ancient Legend cit., c. 32, p. 70; Life of the Poor cit., c. 33, p. 1035.
  32. This entire page on the habit is clearly written by a Capuchin defending the legitimacy of the habit with the pointed hood. The inspiration is taken from A. Clareno, repeated by the Ancient Legend (c. 27, p. 57) and has many similarities with certain pages of the early Capuchin chronicles. Cf. МНОС II, 86-91, 509-511; IV, 72f, n. 28-30; Vita del povero cit., c. 28, p. 85f; see also Hist. 7 trib. VIII, 3, ed. A. Ghinato, p. 221f; Conf. IV, 81.
  33. Cf. Marianus a Florentia, Compendium chronicarum (excerpt from AFH), Quaracchi 1911, 71. – MHOC I, 143f; II, 80s, n. 66-67 speak of this.
  34. It is a synthesis of two different pieces: one in Leg. per. 80, or Spec. Perf. 65 (FF nos. 1636, 1757), the other is the passage in Hist. 7 trib. VIII, 3 cited in footnote 32.
  35. I have not identified the source of this episode, which is positively reflected in the two devout French friars to whom Francis gives his patched tuniche. Cf. 2Cel. 181 (FF n. 767).
  36. The fact is narrated by A. Clareno, Expositio cit., 204-206; Hist, 7 trib. II, 13, ed. A. Ghinato, p. 62f.
  37. It is a clear resonance of the Declarations of Bernardine of Asti and some reflections of A. Clareno. Cf. footnotes 86-87 of commentary on the Rule entitled evangelical love (above, n. 481).
  38. Jer 29:11.
  39. Test 37-38 (FF No. 126).
  40. Cf. 2Cel. 96; Leg, per. 95; Spec. perf. 94 (FF nos. 683, 1651, 1792).
  41. It is a synthesis of two texts: the Regula pro eremitoriis data, by St Francis and Leg. per. 9-10, corresponding to Spec. perf. 55 and 2Cel. 19 (FF nos. 136-138, 605, 1553-55, 1745).
  42. Expositio cit. by A. Clareno, c. III, p. 82. – For sources cf. 2 Cel. 62; Leg. 3 Comp. 43; Spec. perf. 5 (FF nos. 648, 1450, 1685); see also Conf. IV, 397.30s; V, 110.65.
  43. Cf. Fioretti 36 (FF n. 1870); Chron. XXIV Gen., in AF III, 69; Verba Fr. Conradi, § 4, in MF 7 (1899) 133f.; Conf. IV, 190, 18-28; V, 110, 8-16.
  44. Cf. 2Cel. 62; Leg. per. 69; Spec. perf. 3 (FF Nos. 648, 1621, 1681).
  45. Cf. Leg. per. 74; Spec. perf. 4 (FF Nos. 1628, 1683).
  46. 46 The author inserts here a solid litte treatise to help the laity meditate on the mysteries of Christ distributed among the different liturgical hours.
  47. Cf. 1 Cel. 61; 3 Cel. 17; Leg. maior 5,10; Fioretti 7: Cons. Stigmata 1 (FF nos. 429, 839, 1099, 1835, 1900).
  48. As Rb 3,7 says (FF n. 84). We know that Blessed Lent was observed almost as an obligation for Capuchins.
  49. Cf. Scala Paradisi, gradus XXVI 1014; CPS, Serie Greca, vol. IX, Turin 1941, 134f). The text here, however, is taken, synthetically, from A. Clareno’s Expositio, c. 3, p. 83f, and notes 5-6.
  50. Cf. Expositio cit., 91 and footnote 2.
  51. Cf. Hist. 7 trib., 19 (FF no. 2133).
  52. This is the well-known episode narrated in Leg. maior 12.2 and Fioretti 16 (FF nos. 1205, 1845).
  53. Cf. Mt 9:35.
  54. Cf. Jn 6:9.
  55. Cf Mt 12:1; Mk 2:23.
  56. Cf. e.g. Lk 8:45.
  57. Cf. Mt 21:5.7; Jn 12:14-15.
  58. Test. 27 (ff. no. 121).
  59. Cf. Ps 54:23 (Vulg.) = 55:23; 1 Cel 29; Leg maior 3,7 (FF nn. 367, 1059).
  60. Cf. Leg. Per. 14-16; Spec. perf. 10; Hist. 7 trib. 1,2 (FF nos. 1561-63, 1961-92, 2126); the mention of “brigands” refers to Rnb 7,15 (FF no. 26).
  61. Cf. Leg. per. 8; Spec. perf. 55 (FF nos. 15522, 1744).
  62. A similar succession of early Franciscan places is also found in Bernardino da Colpetrazzo, so it could be assumed that he had this large Assisian codex in his hand, Cf. MHOC IV, 22.
  63. Argument often repeated by commentators on the Rule.
  64. Jn 13:35.
  65. Cf. 1Cel 17; 2Cel, 9; Leg. maior 1,3; Leg. 3 Comp, 11; Leg per. 102 (FF nn, 348, 592, 1034, 1407-08, 1658). The specification of the name of the lepers’ hospital ‘ospetale de parete’ is difficult to identify.
  66. Cf. 2Cel. 188 and 200 (FF Nos. 744 and 788), but here it is all deduced by the compilator without precise reference to particular sources.
  67. One can refer to some passages from sources such as Leg. per, 114; Spec. perf. 68-69 (FF nn, 1673, 1761-62).
  68. A very common thought among early Capuchins!
  69. Cf. Spec. perf. 72-73; Leg. maior 8.2 etc. (FF nos. 1766-68, 1136-37).
  70. Rb 9,6 (ff. n. 99).
  71. Jn 1:14.
  72. Mk 16:16.
  73. Crede, ut intelligas! Just as Saint Anselm of Aosta said in upholding the primacy of faith over reason, contrary to Scotus Eriugena. Here the author advocates a very practical and simplifying evangelical exegesis!
  74. Compare with Const. 1536, nos. 116 and 121 (nos. 370 and 377).
  75. Cf. Const. 1536, nos. 111-112 and 114 (nos. 362-363 and 365) and supra, note 69.
  76. This anecdote, here rather amplified, according to A. Ghinato “is not to be found in any of the Franciscan sources”, but “he has interpreted the Seraphic Father’s thought well… and has clothed it in a sympathetic form that is close to the grace of the Fioretti” (A. Ghinato, Il buon esempio francescano, Roma 1951, 7).
  77. Cf. Chron. XXIV Gen., in AF III, 86.
  78. Jn 6:38.
  79. Jn 10:30.
  80. Jn 17:10.
  81. Jn 16:28.
  82. Jn 17:6,11,13.
  83. Cf. Mt 19:21.
  84. Cf. Jn 16:16.
  85. Cf. Mt 11:27.
  86. Cf. Jn 4:23-24.
  87. Jn 16:24.
  88. Rom 8:38-39.
  89. It refers to Lk 8:5-15, in an identical context to Rnb 22:10-18 (FF n, 58).
  90. Cf. 2Cel; Leg. maior 4.11 (FF nos. 799, 1082).