The Rule, Article 4

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Feast Day - April 23

Giles, one of the first disciples of St. Francis, was a man of simplicity and meekness. Urged on by his spirit of devotion he made pilgrimages to various shrines. He earned his own livelihood, however, by helping farmers in their work. Without neglecting to work for the salvation of souls he lived as a hermit. Devoting himself to ascetical practices and contemplation, he spent the last year of his life at Perugia. He died in the year 1262.

From the common of holy men: religious 1470
([Quaracchi 1905] 62-64)

From the Sayings of blessed Giles of Assisi

It is a great thing to preserve devoutly and conscientiously till death in religious life.

Speaking about himself Brother Giles used to say: “I would prefer living in religious life with a small measure of grace to living in the world with abundant grace because there are more dangers and fewer means of assistance in the world than in religious life. A sinful man, however, fears what is good for him more than what is harmful for him because he is more afraid to do penance and enter religious life than to be burdened with sin and remain in the world.”

A man in the world asked Brother Giles’ advice whether it would be better for him to enter religious life. Holy Brother Giles answered: “If a very poor man knew that a valuable treasurer was buried in some public field would he ask another’s advice whether he should go quickly to the treasure? How much more should men hurry to dig up heavenly treasure?

Brother Giles was wont to say: “Many enter religious life and yet do not live as religious should. These men are like a simpleton who put on Roland’s armor without knowing how to do battle in it. I do not consider it a great thing to enter a king’s court, nor do I consider it a great thing to accept a gift from a king, but I do consider it a great thing to know how to conduct oneself at the king’s court. Religious life is the court of the Great King. To enter it and to receive some gifts from God is not great thing, but I do consider it a great thing to live in it and to preserve in it devoutly and conscientiously till death. I would, however, prefer to life in the world devoutly and conscientiously, and to yearn to enter religious life, rather than to live in religious life and be weary of it.”

He likewise used to say: “It seems to me that the religious life of the Friars Minor was given to the world for the great benefit of mankind. Woe to us if we are not the kind of men we ought to be. The religious life of the Friars Minor seems to me to be the poorest and the richest in the world. But this seems to me to be our greatest failing: we are willing to live in religious life with standards that are too low. He is rich who imitates a rich man; he is wise who imitates a wise man; he is distinguished who imitates a distinguished person; he is noble who imitates a noble person, namely, our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 comment:

brother Joseph, SFO said...

Brother Giles was a simple, uneducated man - a peasant. However, what great great wisdom he had! He was a hermit yet knew the world - humanity - extremely well. brother Giles had great insight into spiritual things, including human nature,as well as practical knowledge of the world and how to live in it in a holy manner. The greatest thing I got from reading his words was that Jesus, before all else, is our vocation and focusing all of our efforts on serving Him is our primary obligation in life. He whole-heartedly sought the face of God - and found it - in joy! Peace to you all! brother Joseph, SFO