The Little Flowers of St. Francis, tr. by W. Heywood, , at sacred-texts.com
THE grace of God and the virtues are a road and a ladder to ascend to heaven; but vices and sins are a road and a ladder to descend to the depths of hell. Vices and sins are a deadly potion and a mortal poison but virtues and good works are a healing theriac. One grace accompanies and brings after it another; one vice brings after it another. Grace desireth not to be praised; and vice cannot endure to be despised. In humility the mind rests and reposes; patience is her daughter. And holy purity of heart sees God; but true devotion tastes Him. If thou lovest, thou wilt he loved. If thou servest, thou wilt be served. If thou fearest, thou wilt be feared. If thou shalt do good unto others, it is fitting that others do good to thee. But blessed is he who truly loves and desires not to be loved. Blessed is he who serves and desires not to be
served. Blessed is he who fears and desires not to be feared. Blessed is he who does good to others and desires not that others do good to him. But inasmuch as these things are very high and of great perfection, therefore the foolish can neither know nor attain unto them. Three things are exceeding high and very profitable, and they who have acquired the same shall never be able to fall. The first is if thou bear willingly and with joy every tribulation which befalleth thee for the love of Jesus Christ. The second is if thou humble thyself every day in everything that thou dost and in everything that thou seest. The third is that thou faithfully love that Highest Good, celestial, invisible, with all thy heart; the which no man is able to behold with the eyes of the body. Those things which are most despised and reviled by worldly men are of a truth most acceptable and most welcome to God and to His Saints; and those things which are most loved and most honoured and most pleasing to worldly men, are those which are most despised and reviled and hated by God and by his Saints. This foul contradiction proceeded) from human ignorance and wickedness; for wretched man loveth rather those which he ought to hate, and hateth those things hick he ought to love. Once Friar Giles asked another friar, saying: "Tell me, most dear brother, hast thou a good soul?" The friar made answer: "This I do not know". Then Friar Giles said: "My brother, I would have thee know, that holy penitence, and holy humility, and holy charity, and holy devotion, and holy joy make the soul good and blessed".