Italian Catholic Friar and Preacher, Founder of Men's Franciscan Order and Women's Order of Saint Clare and Lay Third Order of Saint Francis
"Lord, make me an instrument of your peace where there is hatred... let me sow love. Where there is injury... pardon. Where there is doubt... faith. Where there is despair... hope. Where there is darkness... light. Where there is sadness... joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled... as to console, to be understood... as to understand; to be loved... as to love, for it is in giving... that we receive. It is in pardoning, that we are pardoned, it is in dying... that we are born to eternal life."
"When the soul is troubled, lonely and darkened, then it turns easily to the outer comfort and to the empty enjoyment of the world."
"Most high, all powerful, all good Lord! All praise is yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing. To you, alone, Most High, do they belong. No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name. Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures, especially through my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day; and you give light through him. And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor! Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness. Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars; in the heavens you have made them, precious and beautiful. Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air, and clouds and storms, and all the weather, through which you give your creatures sustenance. Be praised, My Lord, through Sister Water; she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure. Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire, through whom you brighten the night. He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong. Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth, who feeds us and rules us, and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs. Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of you; through those who endure sickness and trial. Happy those who endure in peace, for by you, Most High, they will be crowned. Be praised, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death, from whose embrace no living person can escape. Woe to those who die in mortal sin! Happy those she finds doing your most holy will. The second death can do no harm to them. Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks, and serve him with great humility. Amen. Salutation of the Virtues"
"Hail, queen wisdom! May the Lord save thee with thy sister holy pure simplicity! O Lady, holy poverty, may the Lord save thee with thy sister holy humility! O Lady, holy charity, may the Lord save thee with thy sister holy obedience! O all ye most holy virtues, may the Lord, from whom you proceed and come, save you! There is absolutely no man in the whole world who can possess one among you unless he first die. He who possesses one and does not offend the others, possesses all; and he who offends one, possesses none and offends all; and every one [of them] confounds vices and sins. Holy wisdom confounds Satan and all his wickednesses. Pure holy simplicity confounds all the wisdom of this world and the wisdom of the flesh. Holy poverty confounds cupidity and avarice and the cares of this world. Holy humility confounds pride and all the men of this world and all things that are in the world. Holy charity confounds all diabolical and fleshly temptations and all fleshly fears. Holy obedience confounds all bodily and fleshly desires and keeps the body mortified to the obedience of the spirit and to the obedience of one's brother and makes a man subject to all the men of this world and not to men alone, but also to all beasts and wild animals, so that they may do with him whatsoever they will, in so far as it may be granted to them from above by the Lord."
"All the brothers should always be intent on good works, for it is written: 'Always do something good so that the devil will find you occupied.' And again: 'Idleness is the enemy of the soul.' Therefore, the servants of God must always give themselves totally to prayer or to some good work."
"And all the brothers should beware that they do not slander or engage in disputes; rather, they should strive to keep silence whenever God gives them [such] grace. Nor should they quarrel among themselves or with others, but they should strive to respond humbly, saying: I am a useless servant. And they should not become angry, since everyone who grows angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment."
"And He wishes all of us to be saved through Him and receive Him with our heart pure and our body chaste."
"And let all the brothers, both the ministers and servants as well as the others, take care not to be disturbed or angered at the sin or the evil of another, because the devil wishes to destroy many through the fault of one; but they should spiritually help [that one] who has sinned as best they can, because it is not the healthy who are in need of the physician, but those who are sick (Mk. 2:17)."
"And let us be very careful of the malice and the subtlety of the Satan, who wishes that a man not raise his mind and heart to God."
"Be conscious, O man, of the wondrous state in which the Lord God has placed you, for He created you and formed you to the image of His beloved Son according to the body, and to His likeness according to the spirit (cf. Gen. 1:26). And [yet] all the creatures under heaven, each according to its nature, serve, know, and obey their Creator better than you. And even the demons did not crucify Him, but you together with them have crucified Him and crucify Him even now by delighting in vices and sins."
"And let us refer all good to the most high and supreme lord God, and acknowledge that every good is His, and thank Him for everything, from Whom all good things come. And may He, the Highest and Supreme, Who alone is true God, have and be given and receive every honor and reverence, every praise and blessing, every thanks and glory, for every good is His, He Who alone is good."
"'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs (Mt. 5:3).' There are many who, applying themselves insistently to prayer and good deeds, engage in much abstinence and many mortifications of their bodies, but they are scandalized and quickly roused to anger by a single word which seems injurious to their person, or by some other things which might be taken from them. These are not poor in spirit because a person who is truly poor in spirit hates himself (cf. Lk. 14:26) and loves those who strike him on the cheek (cf. Mt. 5:39)."
"Blessed is the servant who loves his brother as much when he is sick and useless as when he is well and can be of service to him. And blessed is he who loves his brother as well when he is far off as when he is by his side, and who would say nothing behind his back he might not, in love, say before his face."
"Blessed is the one who takes no more pride in the good that God says and does through him than in that which He says and does through someone else."
"Blessed is the servant who esteems himself no better when he is praised and exalted by people than when he is considered worthless, simple, and despicable; for what a man is before God, that he is and nothing more."
"Brother Bernard was the first brother whom the Lord gave me, as well as the first to put into practice and fulfill most completely the perfection of the Holy Gospel by distributing all his goods to the poor; because of this and many other prerogatives, I am bound to love him more than any other brother of the entire Order. Therefore, as much as I can, I desire and command that, whoever the minister general is, he should cherish and honor him as he would me, and likewise the ministers provincial and the brothers of the entire Order should esteem him in place of me."
"But as for me, I desire this privilege from the Lord, that never may I have any privilege from man, except to do reverence to all, and to convert the world by obedience to the Holy Rule rather by example than by word."
"But in the holy love which is God, I beg all brothers, both the minister and the others, as they overcome every obstacle and put aside every care and anxiety, to strive as best they can to serve, love, honor, and adore the Lord God with a clean heart and a pure mind, for this is what He desires above all things."
"But let everyone know that whenever or however a person dies in mortal sin without making amends when he could have done so and did not, the devil snatches up his soul out of his body with so much anguish and tribulation that no one can know it unless he has experienced it."
"By occasions the strong become weak. To converse too frequently with women, and not suffer by it, is as hard as to take fire into one's bosom, and not to be burnt. What has a religious man to do with women, unless it be when he hears their confession, or gives them necessary spiritual instructions? He that thinks himself secure, is undone; the devil finding [something] to take hold on, though it be but a hair, raises a dreadful war."
"Even though I had committed but one little sin, I should have ample reason to repent of it all my life."
"Each one should confidently make known his need to the other, so that he might find what he needs and minister to him. And each one should love and care for his brother in all those things in which God will give him grace, as a mother loves and cares for her son."
"Fear and honor, praise and bless, give thanks and adore the Lord God Almighty in Trinity and in Unity, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit the Creator of all. Do penance, performing worthy fruits of penance since we will soon die. Give and it shall be given to you. Forgive and you shall be forgiven. And if you do not forgive men their sins, the Lord will not forgive you your sins. Confess all your sins. Blessed are those who die in penance, for they shall be in the kingdom of heaven. Woe to those who do not die in penance, for they shall be the children of the devil whose works they do, and they shall go into the eternal fire. Beware and abstain from every evil and persevere in good till the end."
"Grant me the treasure of sublime poverty: permit the distinctive sign of our order to be that it does not possess anything of its own beneath the sun, for the glory of your name, and that it have no other patrimony than begging."
"God is the sovereign Master, the Master of excellence. A melancholy and frowning face is out of place in His service."
"How, thro' her tears, with pale and trembling radiance, the eye of beauty shines, and lights her sorrows! As rises o'er the storm some silver star, the seaman's hope, and promise of his safety."
"I should be accounted a thief by the great Almsgiver were I to withhold that which I wear from him who has greater need of it than I."
"If a superior give any order to one who is under him which is against that man's conscience, although he do not obey it yet he shall not be dismissed."
"He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist."
"If any brother, at the instigation of the devil, commits a sin of fornication, he should be deprived of the habit, which he has lost through his wickedness, and he should put it aside completely, and be totally expelled from our Order. And afterward let him do penance for his sins."
"If we endure things patiently and with gladness thinking on the sufferings of our blessed Lord, and bearing all for the love of Him: herein is perfect joy."
"If we can enter the church day and night and implore God to hear our prayers, how careful we should be to hear and grant the petitions of our neighbors in need."
"If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men."
"In what then can you glory? For if you were so subtle and wise that you had all the knowledge and knew how to interpret all tongues and minutely investigate the heavenly bodies, in all these things you could not glory, for one demon knew more about the things of earth than all men together, even if there may have been someone who received from the Lord a special knowledge of the highest wisdom. Likewise, even if you were more handsome and richer than everyone else and even if you performed wonders such as driving out demons, all those things would be an obstacle to you and none of them would belong to you nor could you glory in any of these things."
"It would be considered a theft on our part if we didn't give to someone in greater need than we are."
"If we had any possessions, we would be forced to have arms to protect them, since possessions are a cause of disputes and strife, and in many ways we would be hindered from loving God and our neighbor. Therefore in this life we wish to have no temporal possessions."