The Rule, Article 4

Monday, January 18, 2010

To the Brothers and Sisters of Penance - Chapter 2

Earlier Exhortation

Those Who Do Not Do Penance

All those men and women who are not living in penance, who do not receive the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, who practice vice and sin and walk after the evil concupiscence and the evil desires of the flesh, who do not observe what they have promised to the Lord, and who in their body serve the world through the desires of the flesh, the concerns of the world and the cares of this life: They are held captive by the devil, whose children they are , and whose works they do. They are blind because they do not see the true light, our Lord Jesus Christ. They do not possess spiritual wisdom because they do not have the Son of God, the true wisdom of the Father. It is said of them: Their wisdom has been swallowed up and Cursed are those who turn away from your commands. They see and acknowledge, know and do evil, and knowingly lose their souls.

See you blind ones, deceived by your enemies: the flesh, the world and the devil, because it is sweet for the body to sin and it is bitter to serve God, for every vice and sin flow and proceed from the human heart as the Lord says in the Gospel. And you have nothing in this world or in that to come. And you think that you will possess this world’s vanities for a long time, but you are deceived because a day and hour will come of which you give no thought, which you do not know, and of which you are unaware when the body becomes weak, death approaches, and it dies a bitter death And no matter where, when, or how a person dies in the guilt of sin without penance and satisfaction, if he can perform an act of satisfaction and does not do so, the devil snatches his soul from its body with such anguish and distress that no one can know [what it is like] except the one receiving it.

And every talent, ability, knowledge, and wisdom they think they have will be taken away from them. And they leave their wealth to their relatives and friends who take and divide it and afterwards say: “May his soul be cursed because he could have given us more and acquired more than what he distributed to us.” Worms eat his body and so body and soul perish in this brief world and they will go to hell where they will be tortured forever.

In the love which is God we beg all those whom these words reach to receive those fragrant words of our Lord Jesus Christ written above with divine love and kindness. And let whoever does not know how to read have them read to them frequently. Because they are spirit and life, they should preserve them together with a hold activity to the end.

And whoever has not done these things will be held accountable before the tribunal of our Lord Jesus Christ on the day of judgment.

Francis of Assisi, The Saint, Early Documents

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