“To all my reverend and dearly beloved brothers: to the General Minister of the Order of Friars Minor, its lord, and the other general ministers who will come after him, and to the ministers, custodians, humble priests of this same brotherhood in Christ, and to all simple and obedient brothers, from the first to the last: I brother Francis, a worthless and weak man, your very little servant sends you greetings in Him who has redeemed and washed us in His most precious blood. When you hear His name, the name of the Son of the Most High, our Lord Jesus Christ; He who is blessed forever, adore Him with fear and reverence, prostrate on the ground!
Listen, sons of the Lord and my brothers, pay attention to my words. Incline the ear of your heart and obey the voice of the Son of God. Observe His commands with your whole heart and fulfill His counsels with a perfect mind. Give praise to Him because He is good; exalt Him by your deeds. For this reason He has sent you into the whole world: that you may bear witness to His voice in word and deed and bring everyone to know that there is no one who is all-powerful except Him. Persevere in discipline and holy obedience and, with a good and firm purpose, fulfill what you have promised Him. The Lord God offers Himself to us as He does to all His children.
…Therefore, and with all that love of which I am capable, I implore all my brothers and Sisters to show all possible reverence and honor to the Most Holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ…
I also beg in the Lord all my brothers who are priests, or who will be, or who wish to be priests of the Most High that whenever they celebrate Mass, they offer the true Sacrifice of the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ with purity and reverence; that they offer it with a holy and unblemished intention, and not for any worldly reason or fear or love of anyone, as if they were pleasing people. Let all their will, as much as grace will help, be directed to God; desiring thereby, to please only the Most High Lord Himself; for He Himself says: “Do this in rnemory of me.” If anyone acts differently, he becomes Judas the traitor and guilty of disgracing the Body and Blood of the Lord…
…Listen, my brothers: If the Blessed Virgin is so honored, because she carried Him in her most holy womb; if John the Baptist trembled and did not dare to touch the holy head of God; if the tomb in which He lay for some time is held in veneration, how holy and just must he be who touches with his hands, receives in his heart and mouth, and offers to others the One who has conquered death. May He, whom the angels longed to gaze, be glorified.
See your dignity, my priest brothers, and be holy because He is holy. The Lord God has honored you above all others because of this ministry; for your part, love, revere and honor Him above all others. It would be a great misery and a miserable weakness; if, when you have Him present in this way, you are concerned with anything else in the whole world!
let the whole world tremble,
and let the heavens exult
when Christ, the Son of the living God,
is present on the altar in the hands of a priest!
O wonderful loftiness and stupendous dignity!
O sublime humility!
O humble sublimity!
The Lord of the universe,
God and the Son of God,
so humbles Himself
that for our salvation
He hides Himself
under an ordinary piece of bread!
Brothers, look at the humility of God,
and pour out your hearts before Him!
that you may be exalted by Him!
Hold back nothing of yourselves for yourselves,
that He Who gives Himself totally to you
may receive you totally!
Your humble servant, Francis