Writings of Saint Francis of Assisi

Giovanni Bellini. St Francis in Ecstasy. 1480-85

This copy of the First Letter to the Faithful Penitents was written by St. Francis of Assisi in 1215 as a way of life for the brothers and sisters of the Order of Penitents has became the basic document for tertiary penitents then as well as now.

"In the name of the Lord! Those Who Do Penance ....All who love the Lord with their whole heart, their whole soul and mind, and with their strength, (Mt. 12.-30) and love their neighbor as themselves, (Mt. 22.-39) and who despise the tendency in their humanity to sin, receive the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ and bring forth from within themselves fruits worthy of true penance.

"How happy and blessed are these men and women when they do these things, and persevere in doing them because "the Spirit of the Lord will rest upon them, and the Lord will make "His home and dwelling place with them. They are the children of the Heavenly Father whose works they do."

According to the Chronicle of the Twenty-Four Generals, the friars asked Brother Anthony of Padua to accept the responsibility of teaching the brothers. Brother Anthony was a former Augustinian who entered the Order after the martyrdom of the first friars. Brother Anthony refused to teach without first obtaining the permission of Blessed Francis. St. Francis of Assisi replied (quote)

"I, Brother Francis, send wishes of health to Brother Anthony, my bishop. It pleases me that you teach sacred theology to the brothers, as long as in the words of the Rule you "do not extinguish the Spirit of prayer and devotion" with study of this kind".

St. Anthony of Padua was a young man when he died. Padua was his last home on earth. His relics rest in Padua, his last home on earth. Anthony was a contemporary of St. Francis of Assisi and his most illustrious disciple.

The Testament of St Francis
In the Testament of St. Francis, written near the end of his life, he reflected on his past and the unique way in which God touched him. "so that we may observe in a more Catholic manner which we have promised to the Lord."

Francis warned his brothers against looking on this document as "another rule" yet the Testament has been held as an expression of the profound wisdom and vision of the Seraphic Father and of his care and concern for those who would follow him.

Excerpts from: The Testament of St. Francis (first paragraphs)
"The Lord granted me, Brother Francis, to begin to do penance in this way: While I was in sin, it seemed very bitter to me to see lepers. And the Lord Himself led me among them and I had mercy upon them. And when I left them that which seemed bitter to me was changed into sweetness of soul and body; and afterward I lingered a little and left the world. And the Lord gave me such faith in churches that I would simply pray and speak in this way: "We adore You, Lord Jesus Christ, in all Your churches throughout the world, and we bless You, for through Your holy cross You have redeemed the world." St Francis quote

(final paragraphs) "And whoever shall have observed these things, 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 the Paraclete and with all the powers of heaven and all the saints. And I, little brother Francis, your servant, inasmuch as I can, confirm for you this most holy blessing both within and without. (quotes of St. Francis of Assisi)

St. Francis of Assisi Writings

The Exhortation to the Praises of God

Lord God:
you alone are holy,
you who work wonders! You are strong, you are great,
you are the Most High,
you are the almighty King,
you, holy Father, King of heaven and earth.
Lord God: you are Three and you are One,
you are goodness, all goodness,
you are the highest Good,
Lord God, living and true.
You are love and charity, you are wisdom,
you are humility, you are patience,
you are beauty, you are sweetness,
you are safety, you are rest, you are joy,
you are our hope
and our delight,
you are justice, you are moderation
you are all our wealth
and riches overflowing.
You are beauty, you are gentleness,
you are our shelter, our guard
and our defender,
you are strength, you are refreshment,
you are our hope.
you are our faith.
you are our love,
you are our complete consolation,
you are our life everlasting,
great and wonderful Lord,
all powerful God, merciful Savior!

Praises to be said at all the Hours (from St. Francis Assisi Writings)
God, all powerful, most holy
sublime ruler of all, you alone are good -
supremely, fully, completely good,
may we render to you all praise,
all honor and all blessing:
may we always ascribe to you alone
everything that is good!

Blessing of St Francis of Assisi
May the Lord bless you and keep you;
may the Lord show his face to you
and have compassion on you!
May he turn his face to you
and give you peace!


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