The Little Flowers of St. Francis, tr. by W. Heywood, , at sacred-texts.com
FRIAR GILES used to say, speaking of himself: "I would rather have a little of the grace of God, being a Religious in the Religion, than I would have many graces of God being a layman and living in ''the world; for in the world there are many more hindrances and perils, and much less remedy and help than there is in the Religion." Also Friar Giles said: "Meseemeth that sinful man feareth more his own good than he doth his loss and hurt; for he feareth to enter into the Religion and to do penance; but he feareth not to offend God and his soul, by remaining in the hard and obstinate world, and in the loathesome mire of his sins, awaiting his last eternal damnation". A layman asked Friar Giles, saying: "Father, what dost thou counsel me to do? to enter the Religion or to remain in the world doing good works?" To whom Friar Giles made answer: "My brother,
certain is it that if any needy man knew that a great treasure was hidden in the public land, he would not ask counsel of any person to assure himself whether it would be well to dig it up and hide it in his house; how much more should a man endeavour and hasten with all zeal and diligence to possess himself of that celestial treasure which is to be found in the holy Religious and spiritual congregations, without asking so much advice!" And that layman, hearing this answer, forthwith distributed that which he possessed among the poor, and thus despoiled of everything, forthwith entered the Religion. Friar Giles was wont to say: "Many men enter the Religion, and yet do not put into effect and operation those things which belong to the perfect state of the holy Religion; but these men are like unto that ploughman who clad himself in the armour of Orlando, and knew not how to fight or joust therewith. Every man knoweth not how to ride a restive and vicious horse; and, even if he rideth him, perchance he would not know how to keep himself from falling, when the horse ran or grew restive." Also Friar Giles said: "I hold it not a great thing that a man gaineth entrance to the court of the king; nor do I hold it a great matter that he should know how to obtain some graces or benefits from the king; but the great matter is that he should know well how to remain and dwell and bear himself aright in the court of the king, continuing to act prudently according to that which is meet. The court of the great Celestial King is the holy Religion, wherein it is not difficult to enter and to receive some gifts and graces from God; but the great matter is that a man know well how to live and bear himself and persevere therein with prudence even unto his death." Likewise Friar Giles said: "Rather would I be a layman
and continually hope and desire with devotion to enter the Religion, than I would be clad with the habit in the holy Religion, without the practice of virtuous works, continuing in sloth and in negligence. And therefore the Religious man should always strive to live well and virtuously, knowing that he cannot live in any other state save only in his Order." Once Friar Giles said: "Meseemeth that the Religion of the Minor Friars was verily sent by God for the profit and great edification of the people; but woe unto us friars, if we shall not be such men as we ought to be! Certain it is that in this life men more blessed than we could not be found; because holy is he who followeth him who is holy, and he is truly good who walketh in the path of the good; and rich is he who goeth in the footsteps of the rich; and the Religion of the Minor Friars, more than any other Religion, followeth the footsteps and the way of the most good, of the most rich and of the most holy that ever was or ever shall be, to wit of our Lord Jesus Christ."