Taken from the book ‘The Little Flowers of St Francis’ by Raphael Brown (Franciscan Tertiary). The book has the Nihil Obstat and the Imprimatur.
Once the Lord Jesus said to St Francis after he had prayed for people:
‘You pray well, and I willingly grant your prayer, because they mean much to me and I have paid a great price for them. Nevertheless make a pact with me, and I will have mercy on all the people, namely, that your Order remain with Me and only Me. Yet the time will come when it will turn away from Me, but I will sustain the Order for a while for the world’s sake, which has faith in it and considers the Order its guide and its beacon. But afterwards I shall give power to the devils who will everywhere arouse against it so many scandals and tribulations that they will be expelled and avoided by everyone. And if a son goes to his father’s house for bread, he will strike him on the head with a stick. If the friars knew the tribulations of those days they would begin to flee, and many of them shall flee into the wilderness, that is those zealous for my honour.’
**And St Francis asked the Lord,‘How will they live there?’ Christ answered 'I who fed the sons of Israel in the wilderness shall feed them there with herbs. And I shall give those herbs different tastes, as formerly the manna. And afterward they shall go forth and rebuild the Order in its first perfect state. **
But woe to those who congratulate themselves on having only the appearance of conversion and who grow inert from idleness and do not steadfastly resist tempations that are permitted for the testing of the elect, since only those who have been tried shall receive the crown of eternal life, who have meanwhile suffered from the malice of the reprobate.’
It struck me when I read this that the Lord is warning of a false conversion and the people and the friars being mislead, but that Jesus will not let the whole Order fall into this and the Order will be restored.
I thought further about false conversion and recalled the Lord’s words ‘You shall know them by their fruit’. The Lord seems to be warning that there is false conversion and the fruit is not always as it seems; an apple can look good from the outside but when bitten into can be rotten on the inside at its core.
Any thoughts on this anyone?