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
"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."
LETTER TO SAINT ANTHONY
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
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
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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