II - Those Who Wish to Accept Our Life and the Formation of the Brothers

1. The teaching of the Gospel, completely clear, supremely perfect and
divine, brought down to us from heaven by the supremely wise Son of God,
preached by Him in word and deed perfectly points out the straight path that
leads to God. Therefore all people are obliged to keep and observe it,
particularly Christians, All the more is this true of us Lesser Brothers, for our
Father expressly mentions observance of the Holy Gospel at the beginning and
end of his Rule. And he says in his Testament that God revealed to him that he
should live according to its model.

Therefore we exhort the brothers always to have our Saviour's teaching and
life before the eyes of their mind, and like the virgin Cecilia always to bear the
holy Gospel in their inmost hearts. We ordain that every morning except
Friday, in every house, a passage from the holy Gospel be read at table.

2. And since the Rule of St Francis is like a clear mirror reflecting
evangelical perfection, we direct that each Friday in every house it be read
distinctly, with due reverence and devotion, so that being impressed on our
minds it may be the better observed. On other days, after the Gospel, let some
other spiritual work be read during the meal, and in the evening, for the first reading, some other book of Sacred Scripture, so that not only the body, but
much more so the spirit may be fed, and the brothers be encouraged to follow
Christ crucified.

3. Since it was the desire, not only of our Father Francis, but of Christ our
Redeemer, that the Rule be observed simply, literally and without gloss, as
our first Seraphic Fathers observed it, and since our Rule is clear and capable of
being observed, (so that it may be observed more clearly), we renounce once
again, now and for ever in the future, all privileges and explanations which
relax it and detract from its pure observance and from the merciful, just and
holy intentions of Christ our Lord, who spoke in St Francis. As the single
living commentary on our Rule we accept the declarations of the Supreme
Pontiffs, especially Nicholas III and Clement V of holy memory, and the holy
life, teaching and example of our Seraphic Father.

4. In order that we, as true and legitimate sons of Jesus Christ our Father
and Lord, begotten again by Him in St Francis, may have a share in His
inheritance, we exhort everyone to observe the Testament made by our Blessed
Father when, near to his blessed death and adorned with the sacred stigmata,
full of fervour and the Holy Spirit, he ardently desired our salvation. This we
accept as a spiritual commentary and explanation of the Rule, since he wrote it
in order to ensure that the Rule we had promised would be the better observed
in a more Catholic manner.

5. And since we are true sons of St Francis only in so far as we imitate his
life and teaching, as our Saviour said to the Jews: "If you are children of Abraham,
do as Abraham did". We therefore call upon every brother to strive to imitate our
kind Father, who has been given to us as our guide, model and example, not
only in the Rule and Testament, but also in all his fervent words and divinely
inspired deeds. For this reason his life and that of his blessed companions shall
be read frequently.

6. Considering that our holy Father was so absorbed in the contemplation
of the divine that he saw God in every creature, especially in humanity, chiefly
in Christians, but especially in priests and in a most of all in the Supreme
Pontiff, he therefore wished all his brothers, according to the Apostle's
teaching, to be subject to the Divine Majesty in every human creature, in order
to conform themselves to the profound humility of our crucified Lord who
came to serve us and was made obedient even to dying a painful death on the
cross, and that they should do the will of our Father, who called them lesser
brothers for that reason, so that they should consider themselves lower than
everyone else, and that not only in their hearts, but that being invited in the
Church Militant to the marriage feast of the most holy Bridegroom Jesus
Christ, they should try to stand in the lowest place. Therefore we earnestly
exhort all the brothers to obey in all humility and subjection the Supreme
Pontiff, who is the chief Father of all Christians, and to show fitting honour to
all Catholic Prelates and priests, and indeed, all who show us God’s way, since
we know that the more lowly the person we obey for love of the Lord Jesus
Christ, the more splendid our obedience and the more pleasing it is to God.