In The Simplicity of Saint Francis of Assisi
The Rule, Constitution and Customary
FRANCISCAN FRIARS OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
Mary’s Army in Blue
A Roman Catholic Religious Order
Dedicated To Service in Modern Times
Brother Francis Mary of Our Lady of the Rosary FFBVM
Under The Spiritual Guidance Of
The Most Rev. Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv
Diocese of Savannah, Georgia
Our Lady of the Rosary Friary
P.O. Box 14787
Augusta, Georgia USA, 30919-0787
706-798-2900 or Toll Free: 1-844-416-6274
FRANCISCAN FRIARS of the BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
The Rule and Admonitions of St. Francis of Assisi
Pope Honorius III
The Bull on the Rule of the Friars Minor given November 29, 1223 A. D.
To our beloved sons, Friar Francis and the other friars of the Order of the Friars Minor, health and apostolic Benediction.
The Apostolic See is accustomed to grant the pious desires and to share her kind favor with the upright desires of those petitioning her. Wherefore, beloved sons in the Lord, having yielded to your entreaties. We confirm by our apostolic authority your rule, approved by Our Predecessor, Pope Innocent, of good memory, quoted herein, and we strengthen it with the patronage of this present writing, which is as follows:
In the name of the Lord!
The Life of the Friars Minor begins:
- The Rule and life of the Friars Minor is this, namely this: to observe the Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ by living in obedience, without anything of their own, and in charity. 2. Brother Francis promises obedience and reverence to the Lord Pope Honorius and his canonically elected successors and to the Roman Church. 3. And let the other friars be bound to obey Friar Francis and his successors.
Those who wish to embrace this life
And how they should be received
If any would desire to adopt this life and would come to our brothers, let them send them to their ministers provincial to whom alone, and not to others, is the permission to receive friars conceded. 2. Let the ministers examine them very diligently concerning the Catholic Faith and sacraments of the Church. 3. If they believe all these things and desire to observe them faithfully and firmly unto the end. 4. and [i]f they have no wives, or if they do, their wives have already entered a convent, or having taken a vow of chastity, permission (to enter one) has been granted to them by authority of the bishop of the diocese, 5. and the wives are of such an age that it is not possible that suspicion arise concerning them, let them say unto these the words of the Holy Gospel, that they should go and sell all that is their own and strive to give it to the poor. 6. If they cannot do that, their good will suffices.7. Let the friars and their ministers beware, lest they be solicitous concerning their temporal things, so that they may freely do with their own things, whatever the Lord will inspired them. 8. If however should they need counsel, let the ministers have permission to send them to other God fearing men, by whose counsel they may give their goods to the poor. 9. Afterwards let them grant them the clothes of probation, namely two tunics without a capuche, a cord, pants, and a little cape (extending) to the cord, 10.unless it seems to the ministers [that it should be] otherwise according to God. 11. Having truly finished the year of probation, let them be received into obedience, promising to observe always this very life and rule. 12. And in no manner will it be licit to them to leave this [form of] religious life, according to the command of the Lord Pope, 13. since according to the Holy Gospel “No one putting hand to the plow and turning back is fit for the Kingdom of God.” 14. And let those who have already promised obedience have one tunic with a capuche and if they wish to have it, another without a capuche. 15. And those who are driven by necessity can wear footwear. 16. And let all the friars wear poor clothes, and they can patch these with sack-cloth and other pieces with the blessings of God. 17. I admonish and exhort them, not to despair nor judge men, whom they see clothed with soft and colored clothes, using dainty food and drink, but rather let each one judge and despise his very self.
The Devine Office and Fasting and
The way the Friars should go about the world
Clerics are to perform the Divine Office according to the ordo of the Roman Church, except for the psalter, 2. for which they can have breviaries. 3. Laymen are to say twenty-four “Our Fathers” for Matins; for Lauds five; for Prime, Terce, Sext and None, for each of these seven, for Vespers, however, twelve, for Compline seven, 4. and let them pray for the dead. 5. And let them fast from the Feast of All Saints until Christmas. 6. Indeed those who voluntarily fast the holy Lent which begins at Epiphany and for the forty days, which the Lord consecrated with His own holy fast, let them be blessed by the Lord, and let those who do not wish[to do so] not be constrained. 7. But they shall fast the other [Lent] until the [day of the] Resurrection of the Lord. 8. At other times however they are not bound to fast, except on Fridays. 9. Indeed in of manifest necessity the friars are not bound to the corporal fast.
- I truly counsel, admonish and exhort my friars in the Lord Jesus Christ, that when they go about through the world, they are not to quarrel nor contend in words, nor are they to judge others; 11. but they are to be meek, peaceable and modest, kind and humble, speaking uprightly to all, as is fitting. 12. And they should not ride horseback, unless they are driven [to do so] by manifest necessity or infirmity. 13. And into whatever house they may enter, first let them say: “Peace to this house.” 14. And, according to the Holy Gospel it is lawful for them to eat of the foods, which are placed before them.
The Friars are never to receive money
- I firmly command all the Friars, that in no manner are they to receive coins or money through themselves or through an interposed person. 2. However for the necessities of the infirm and for the clothing of the other friars, the ministers and even the custodies are to conduct a solicitous care, by means of spiritual friends, according to places and seasons and cold regions, as they see expedites necessity; 3. With this always preserved, that, as has been said, they receive neither coins or money.
The Manner of Working
- Let those friars, to whom the Lord gives the grace to work, work faithfully and devotedly, 2. in such a way that, having excluded idleness, the enemy of the soul, they do not extinguish the Spirit of holy prayer and devotion, to which all other temporal things should be subordinated. 3. Indeed concerning the wages for labor, let them receive for themselves and their friars corporal necessities, excepting coins and money; 4. And this [they should do] humbly as befits the servants of God and the followers of most holy poverty.
The Friars shall not acquire anything as their own;
Begging alms; the sick friars
- Let the Friars appropriate nothing for themselves, neither house nor place, nor any thing. 2. And as pilgrims and exiles in this world let them go about begging for alms confidently in poverty and humility as members of the house of God, nor is it fitting that they be ashamed [to do so], since the Lord made Himself poor in this world for us. 3. This is that heavenlyness of most high poverty, which has established you, my most dear friars, as heirs and kings of the Kingdom of Heaven.4. Making you poor in things, it has raised you high in virtues. 5. Let this be your portion, which leads you into the land of the living. 6. Cleaving totally to this, most beloved Friars, may you desire nothing else under heaven in perpetuity for the [sake of] the Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
- And wherever the friars are and find themselves, let them mutually show themselves to be members of the same household. 8. And let them without fear manifest to one another their own necessities, since, if a mother nourishes and loves her own son according to the flesh, how much more diligently should he ought to love and nourish his own spiritual brother?
- And, if any of them should fall into infirmity, the other friars should care for him, as they would wish to be cared for themselves.
The Penance to be imposed on the Friars who sin
If any of the friars, at the instigation of the enemy, sin mortally in regard to those sins about which it may have been decreed among the friars to have recourse only to the Ministers provincial, such must have recourse to them as soon as possible. 2. They shall impose a penance upon them with mercy; but if they are not priests, they shall have it imposed by other priest of the Order as it seems best to them according to God. 3. They must take care not to become angry or disturbed because of the sin of another, since anger and disturbance hinder charity in themselves and in others.
The Election of the Superior General of the Congregation
And the Chapter of Pentecost
- All the Friars are bound always to have one of the Friars of this Order as the superior general and servant of the entire Congregation and they are bound strictly to obey him. 2. When he dies let there be made an election of a successor by the ministers provincials and custodies in the Pentecost Chapter, in which the ministers provincial are bound always to convene together, wherever it will have been determined by the Superior General; 3. And this once every three years or at another interval greater or less, as it will have been ordained by the aforesaid Superior.
- Let the Friars not preach in the diocese of any bishop, when they will have been opposed by him. 2. And let no Friar even dare preach to the people, unless he will have been examined by the Superior General of the Congregation and approved, and there be conceded to him by the same the office of preaching.
I admonish also and exhort these Friars that, in their preaching, their words be well chosen and chaste for the instruction and edification of the people, speaking to them of vices and virtues, punishment and glory in a discourse that is brief, because it was in few words that the Lord preached while on earth.
The Admonition and Correction
Of the Friars
- The Friars who are the ministers and servants of the other Friars should visit and admonish their friars and humbly and charitably correct them, not commanding them anything which might be against their conscience and our Rule. 2. On the other hand, the Friars who are subject to them should remember that they have given up their own wills for God. 3. Therefore I strictly command them to obey their ministers in all those things which they have promised the Lord to observe and which are not against [their] conscience and our Rule. 4. And wherever there are Friars who know and realize that they cannot observe the Rule spiritually, it is their duty and right to go to the minister for help. 5. The ministers on their part should receive them with great kindness and love and should be so approachable that these Friars can speak and deal with the ministers as masters with their servants; 6. For this is the way it should be. The ministers shall be the servants of all the Friars. 7. At the same time I admonish and exhort the Friars in the Lord Jesus Christ that they beware of all pride, vainglory, envy, avarice (cf, Lk 12:15), cares and worries of this world, detraction and complaint. And those who are illiterate should not be eager to learn. 8. Instead let them pursue what they must desire above all things: to have the Spirit of the Lord and His holy manner of working, 9. To pray always to him with a pure heart and to have humility, patience in persecution and weakness, 10. And to love those who persecute us, find fault with us, or rebuke us, because the Lord says: Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute and slander you (Mt 5:44). 11. Blessed are those who suffer persecution for the sake of justice for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Mt 5:10). 12. But whoever perseveres to the end, he will be saved (Mt 10:2).
The friars are not to enter the monasteries of nuns
- I firmly command all the friars not to have any associations or meetings with women which could arouse suspicion. 2. Moreover, they should not enter the monasteries of nuns, except those friars to whom special permission has been granted by the Apostolic See. 3. They should not be godfathers of men or women so that scandal not arise on this account the friars or concerning them.
Those who go among the Saracens and other nonbelievers
- Those friars who, by divine inspiration, desire to go among the Saracens and other nonbelievers should ask permission from their ministers provincial. 2. But the ministers should not grant permission except to those whom they consider fit to be sent.
- In addition, I command the ministers through obedience to petition the Lord Pope for one of the cardinals of the holy Roman Church, who would be the governor, protector, and corrector of this Congregation, 4. So that, always submissive and prostrate at the feet of the same holy Church, and steadfast in the Catholic Faith, we may observe the poverty and the humility and the holy Gospel (cf. Col 1:23) of our Lord Jesus Christ which we have firmly promised.
No one, therefore, is in any way permitted to tamper with this decree of our confirmation or to oppose it rasbly. If anyone, however, should presume to attempt this, let it be known that he shall incur the indignation of Almighty God and of His Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.
Given at the Lateran, the twenty-ninth day of November, in the eighth year of our Pontificate.
This translation has been released to the public domain by its author.