The Writings of St. Francis of Assisi, tr. by Paschal Robinson, , at sacred-texts.com
This letter is known to us only by the testimony of the Ven. Francis Gonzaga, O.F.M., 1 who, speaking of the Province of Aragon in his work on the origin of the Seraphic Order, 2 mentions that Bl. John Parenti, first Minister General after St. Francis (1227-1232), brought a copy of the letter into Spain. On the good faith of Gonzaga, Wadding included this letter in his edition of the Opuscula, where it figures as Epist. XV. As the style of the letter and the ideas it embodies corresponded so admirably with the writings of St. Francis, the Quaracchi editors and Professor Goetz, 3 have not hesitated to accept it as genuine. No copy of the letter other than that transcribed by Wadding has so far been found, and it is according to his text of 1623 that it is here translated:—
To all podestàs, and consuls, judges and governors, in whatever part of the world, and to all others to whom this letter may come, Brother Francis, your little and contemptible servant, wishes health and peace to you.
Consider and see that the day of death draws nigh. 4 I ask you, therefore, with such reverence as I can, not to forget the Lord on account of the cares and solicitudes of this world and not to
turn aside from His commandments, for all those who forget Him and decline from His commandments are cursed 1 and they shall be forgotten by Him. 2 And when the day of death comes, all that which they think they have shall be taken away from them. 3 And the wiser and more powerful they may have been in this world, so much the greater torments shall they endure in hell. 4
Wherefore, I strongly advise you, my lords, to put aside all care and solicitude and to receive readily the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ in holy commemoration of Him. And cause so great honor to be rendered the Lord by the people committed to you, that every evening it may be announced by a crier or by another sign to the end that praises and thanks shall resound to the Lord God Almighty from all the people. And if you do not do this, know that you are beholden to render an account before your Lord God Jesus Christ on the day of Judgment. Let those who keep this writing with them and observe it know that they are blessed by the Lord God.
125:1 Minister General of the Order, 1579-1587, afterwards Bishop of Mantua (see Acta Ordinis Minorum, 1904, p. 265).
125:2 De Origine Seraphicae Religionis Franciscanae (Venice 1603), p. 806.
125:3 See Quellen, etc., p. 535.
125:4 See Gen. 47: 39.
126:1 See Ps. 118: 21.
126:2 See Ezech. 33: 12.
126:3 See Luke 8: 18.
126:4 See Wis. 6: 7.