On this liturgical Memorial of Saint Francis of Assisi, the following is a letter from him. One gets the feeling that a piece of paper dropped from heaven and landed in our laps. In our world which struggles so much with peace, this letter offers peace as well as some holy reminders.
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To all Christians, religious, clerics, and laics, men and women, to all who dwell in the whole world, Brother Francis, their servant and subject, presents reverent homage, wishing true peace from heaven and sincere charity in the Lord.
Being the servant of all, I am bound to serve all and to administer the balm-bearing words of my Lord. Wherefore, considering in my mind that, because of the infirmity and weakness of my body, I cannot visit each one personally, I propose by this present letter and message to offer you the words of our Lord Jesus Christ Who is the Word of the Father and the words of the Holy Spirit which are "spirit and life".
This Word of the Father, so worthy, so holy and glorious, Whose coming the Most High Father announced from heaven by His holy archangel Gabriel to the holy and glorious Virgin Mary in whose womb He received the true flesh of our humanity and frailty, He, being rich above all, willed, nevertheless, with His most Blessed Mother, to choose poverty.
We ought to confess all our sins to a priest and receive from him the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who does not eat His Flesh and does not drink His Blood cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. Let him, however, eat and drink worthily, because he who receives unworthily "eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Body of the Lord" — that is, not discerning it from other foods.
Let us, moreover, "bring forth fruits worthy of penance". And let us love our neighbor as ourselves, and, if any one does not wish to love them as himself or cannot, let him at least do them no harm, but let him do good to them.
Let us then have charity and humility and let us give alms because they wash souls from the foulness of sins. For men lose all which they leave in this world; they carry with them, however, the reward of charity and alms which they have given, for which they shall receive a recompense and worthy remuneration from the Lord.
We ought also to fast and to abstain from vices and sins and from superfluity of food and drink, and to be Catholics. We ought also to visit Churches frequently and to reverence clerics not only for themselves, if they are sinners, but on account of their office and administration of the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which they sacrifice on the altar and receive and administer to others. And let us all know for certain that no one can be saved except by the Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ and by the holy words of the Lord which clerics say and announce and distribute and they alone administer and not others.
We ought not to be "wise according to the flesh" and prudent, but we ought rather to be simple, humble, and pure. We should never desire to be above others, but ought rather to be servants and subject "to every human creature for God’s sake". And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon all those who do these things and who shall persevere to the end, and He shall make His abode and dwelling in them, and they shall be children of the heavenly Father whose works they do, and they are the spouses, brothers and mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are spouses when by the Holy Spirit the faithful soul is united to Jesus Christ. We are His brothers when we do the will of His Father Who is in heaven. We are His mothers when we bear Him in our heart and in our body through pure love and a clean conscience and we bring Him forth by holy work which ought to shine as an example to others.
O how glorious and holy and great to have a Father in heaven! O how holy, fair, and lovable to have a spouse in heaven! O how holy and how beloved, well pleasing and humble, peaceful and sweet and desirable above all to have such a Brother Who has laid down His life for His sheep, and Who has prayed for us to the Father, saying: Father, keep them in Your Name whom You have given Me. Father, all those whom You have given Me in the world were Yours, and You have given them to Me. And the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they have received them, and have known in very deed that I came forth from You, and they have believed that You sent Me. I pray for them: not for the world: bless and sanctify them. And for them I sanctify Myself that they may be sanctified in one as We also are. And I will, Father, that where I am, they also may be with Me, that they may see My glory in My kingdom.
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. All to whom this letter may come, I, Brother Francis, your little servant, pray and conjure you by the charity which God is, and with the will to kiss your feet, to receive these balm-bearing words of our Lord Jesus Christ with humility and charity and to put them in practice kindly and to observe them perfectly. And all those who shall receive them kindly and understand them and send them to others as an example, if they persevere in them unto the end, may the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit bless them. Amen.