The Testament of Saint Francis
1. Thus did the Lord grant to me, friar Francis, to begin to do penance: who when I was exceedingly in my sins, to see lepers seemed a bitter thing to me.
2. And the Lord Himself led me among them and I worked mercy among them.
3. And when I was fleeing from them, because it seemed to be a bitter thing, it was changed for me in to sweetness of soul and body; and I remained for a little while afterward and then I went forth from the world.
4. And the Lord granted me such faith in churches, that I would pray simply and say:
5. "We adore Thee, Lord Jesus Christ, and for all Thy churches, which are in the whole world, we also bless Thee, because by Thy Holy Cross Thou has redeemed the world ."
6. Afterwards the Lord granted me and grants so much faith in priests, who live according to the form of the Holy Roman Church on account of their state in life, that if they would stir up a persecution against me, I want to have recourse to these.
7. And if I would have as much wisdom, as Solomon had, and I would come upon the little poor priests of this age, in the parishes, where they stay, I do not wish to preach beyond their will to do so.
8. And they and all other priests I want to fear, love, and honour, as my lords.
9. And I do not want to consider sin in them, because I discern in them the Son of God, and they are my lords.
10. And I do that on account of this, because I see nothing corporally in this age of the Most High Son of God Himself, except His Most Holy Body and Most Holy Blood, which they receive and which they alone minister to others.
11. And these most holy Mysteries I want above all things to honour, to venerate and to place in precious places.
12. Wherever I find written the most holy Names and His words in unlawful places, I want to gather them together and I pray, that they are gathered together and placed together in an honourable place.
13. And all theologians and those, who minister the most sacred divine words, we should honour and venerate, as those who minister to us spirit and life.
14. And after the Lord made me a grant of friars, no one showed me, what I ought to do, but the Most High Himself revealed to me, that I ought to live according the form of the Holy Gospel.
15. And I with a few words and simply had it written and the Lord Pope confirmed it for me.
16. And those who were coming to receive life, used to give "all that they possibly had" to the poor; and they used to be content with one tunic, patched inside and out, with a cincture and with breeches.
17. And we did not use to want to have more.
18. We clerics used to say the office according to the other clergy, the lay brothers used to say the Our Father; and we used to stay quite freely in the churches.
19. And we used to be idiots and subject to all.
20. And I used to work with my hands, and I want to work; and all the other brothers I firmly want, that they should work at their job, because this pertains to honesty.
21. Those who do not know how, let them learn, not on account of the cupidity to receive a price for work, but on account of the example it gives to repel idleness.
22. And when the price for the work is not given to us, let us have recourse to the table of the Lord, by asking for alms from door to door.
23. The Lord revealed to me a greeting, that we should say: "The Lord grant you peace!"
24. Let all the friars beware of themselves, so that the churches, the little poor, little dwellings and everything, which are constructed for them, they do not inwardly receive, unless they be, as befits the holy poverty, which we have promised in the Rule, always dwelling there as strangers and pilgrims.
25. I firmly command all the friars by obedience, that wherever they are, they do not dare to seek any letter in the Roman Curia, by means of themselves nor by an interposed person, nor on behalf of a church nor on behalf of another place nor under the appearance of preaching nor because of a persecution of their bodies;
26. but wheresoever they have not been received, let them flee into another land to do penance with the blessing of God.
27. And I firmly want to obey the Minister General of this fraternity and any guardian, whom it would please him to give me.
28. And I want to be so captive in his hands, that I would not be able to go or do beyond obedience and his will, because he is my lord.
29. And although I am simple and infirm, nevertheless I want to always have a cleric, who will recite the office for me, as is contained in the Rule.
30. And all the other friars are bound to likewise obey their guardians and recite the office according to the rule.
31. And those, who are found, which would not recite the office according to the Rule, and want to vary it in another manner, or are not Catholics, all the friars, wheresoever they might find any of these, ought to present them before the nearest custos of that place, where they found him.
32. And the custos is firmly bound by obedience to guard him strongly, just like a man in chains day and night, so that he is not able to be snatched from their hands, until he in person presents him into the hands of his Minister.
33. And the minister is firmly bound by obedience to send him by means of such friars, that day and night they may guard him as a man in chains, until they present him before the lord of Ostia, who is the lord, protector and corrector of the whole fraternity.
34. And the friars are not to say: "This is another Rule," because this is a remembrance, an admonition, an exhortation and my testament, that I friar Francis, the tiny one, make for you, my blessed friars, for the sake of this, that we might observe the Rule, which we have promised the Lord, in a more catholic way.
35. And the Minister General and all the other Ministers and custodes are bound by obedience, not to add to these words nor take away.
36. And they are to have this writing with them always, next to the Rule.
37. And in all the chapters that are convened, when they read the Rule, let them read these words also.
38. And all my friars, clerics and lay, I firmly command by obedience, that they are not to place glosses upon the Rule, not even by saying in these words: "Thus they are to be understood."
39. But as the Lord granted me simply and purely to say and write the Rule and these words, so you should understand them simply and without gloss and observe them with holy work until the end.
40. And whosoever will have observed these, may he be filled in heaven with the blessing of the Most High Father and on earth with the blessing of His beloved Son with the Most Holy Spirit and all the powers of Heaven and all the saints.
41. And I, friar Francis, your tiny servant, in as much as I am able, confirm for you, inside and out, this Most Holy Blessing.
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