The Little Flowers of St. Francis, tr. by W. Heywood, , at sacred-texts.com
How Friar Giles praised obedience more than prayer
ONCE a friar was in his cell at prayer, and his Guardian sent unto him bidding him by virtue of obedience to go and beg for alms. Wherefore he straightway went to Friar Giles and said: "My father, I was at prayer, and the Guardian hath commanded me to go for bread; and to me it seemeth that it were better to continue in prayer". Friar Giles made answer: "My son, hast thou as yet neither learned nor understood what manner of thing is prayer True prayer is that a man should do the will of his Superior; and it is a sign of great pride in him who hath put his neck beneath the yoke of holy obedience, when, for any cause, he shunneth it, to do his own will, albeit to him it seemeth that thereby he doth a more perfect work. The perfectly obedient Religious is like unto the knight who is mounted upon a goodly horse, by the excellence whereof he goeth without fear along the midst of the road; and, on the contrary, the disobedient Religious, grumbling and unwilling, is like unto one who is mounted upon a thin, weak and vicious horse, because, when he hath endured but a little fatigue, he either falleth down dead or is taken by the enemy. I tell thee that if a man were so devout and of such elevation of mind that he spake with Angels, and, while he thus spake, were called by his
[paragraph continues] Superior, he ought forthwith to leave the converse of the Angels and to obey him who is set over him."