Letters of St. Francis of Paola (1470)
From your lordship, (Simeon de Limena, Lord of Montalto), shall be born the great leader of the holy militia of the Holy Spirit, which shall overcome the world, and shall possess the earth so completely that no king or lord shall be able to exist, except he belongs to the sacred host of the Holy Spirit.
These devout men shall wear on their breasts, and much more within their hearts, the sign of the living God, namely, the cross.
The first members of this holy order shall be natives of the city of … where iniquity, vice, and sin abound. However, they shall be converted from evil to good; from rebels against God they shall become most fervent and most faithful in His divine service. That city shall be cherished by God and by the Great Monarch, the elect and the beloved of the Most High Lord. For the sake of that place all holy souls who have done penance in it shall pray in the sight of God for that city and for its inhabitants. When the time shall come of the immense and most right justice of the Holy Spirit, His Divine Majesty wills that such city become converted to God, and that many of its citizens follow the great prince of the holy army. The first person that will openly wear the sign of the living God shall belong to that city, because he will through a letter be commanded by a holy hermit to have it impressed in his heart and to wear it externally on his breast.
That man will begin to meditate on the secrets of God, about the long visitation which the Holy Spirit will make and the dominion that he will exercise over the world through the holy militia. Oh happy man, who shall receive from the Most High the greatest privileges! He will interpret the hidden secrets of the Holy Spirit, and he shall often excite the admiration of men by his revealed knowledge of the internal secrets of their hearts. Rejoice, my Lord, because that Prince above other princes, and King over other kings, will hold you in the greatest veneration, and after having been crowned with three most admirable crowns, will exalt that city, will declare it free, and the seat of the Empire, and it shall become one of the first cities in the world.
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You and your consort desire to have children; you shall have them. Your holy offspring shall be admired upon earth. Among your descendants there will be one who shall be like the sun amidst the stars, he shall be a first-born son; in his childhood he will be like a saint; in his Youth, a great sinner; then he will be converted entirely to God and will do great penance, his sins will be forgiven him, and he shall become a great saint.
He shall be a great captain and prince of holy men, who shall be called ‘the holy Cross Bearers of Jesus Christ,’ with whom he shall destroy the Mahometan sect and the rest of the infidels. He shall annihilate all the heresies and tyrannies of the world. He shall reform the Church of God by means of his followers, who shall be the best men upon earth in holiness, in arms, in science, and in every virtue, because such is the will of the Most High. They shall obtain the dominion of the whole world, both temporal and spiritual, and they shall support the Church of God until the end of time.
God Almighty will exalt a very poor man of the blood of the Emperor Constantine, son of St. Helena and of the seed of Pepin, who shall on his breast wear the sign which you have seen at the beginning of this letter (a red Cross). Through the power of the Most High he shall confound the tyrants, the heretics, and infidels. He will gather a grand army, and the angels shall fight for them; they shall kill all God’s enemies.
From the beginning of the world, after the creation of man, and to the end of human generation, there have been and there shall be seen wonderful events upon the earth. Four hundred years shall not pass when his Divine Majesty shall visit the world with a new religious order much needed (YES 400 YEARS HAS PASSED ALREADY BUT THE 3 DAYS OF DARKNESS IS SUPPOSE TO HAPPEN BEFORE THE TIME OF THE GREAT MONARCH AND PRAYER AND PENANCE AS SAID BY MANY OF THE CHURCH BLESSED CAN PUSH BACK THE DAY OF WRAITH) which shall effect more good among men than all other religious institutions combined. This religious order shall be the last and the best in the Church; it shall proceed with arms, with prayer, and with hospitality. Woe to tyrants, to heretics, and to infidels, to whom no pity shall be shown, because such is the will of the Most High! An infinite number of wicked men shall perish through the hands of the Cross Bearers, the true servants of Jesus Christ. They shall act like good husbandmen when they extirpate noxious weeds and prickly thistles from the wheat field. These holy servants of God shall purify the earth with the deaths of innumerable wicked men.
How spiritually blind are those persons who, having no thought about the things of God, fix their end in earthly objects. Wretched men! by far worse than the very beasts which are guided by their senses, because they cannot have reason; but when men abandon the use of their reason, they become brutalized. Hence they shall ever be in confusion. Let, therefore, the princes of this world be prepared for the greatest scourges to fall upon them. But from whom? First from heretics and infidels, then from the holy and most faithful Cross Bearers elected by the Most High, who, not succeeding in converting heretics with science, shall have to make a vigorous use of their arms. Many cities and villages shall be in ruins, with the deaths of an innumerable quantity of bad and good men. The infidels also will fight against Christians and heretics, sacking, destroying, and killing the largest portion of Christians. Lastly, the army, styled ‘of the Church,’ namely, the holy Cross Bearers, shall move, not against Christians or Christianity, but against the infidels in pagan countries, and they shall conquer all those kingdoms with the death of a very great number of infidels. After this they shall turn their victorious arms against bad Christians, and shall destroy all the rebels against Jesus Christ. These holy Cross Bearers shall reign and dominate holily over the world until the end of time. The founder of these holy men shall, my lord, be one of your posterity. But when shall this take place? When crosses with the stigmas shall be seen, and the crucifix shall be carried as the standard.
The time is coming when his Divine Majesty will visit the world with a new religious order of holy Cross Bearers, who will carry a Crucifix, or the image of our Crucified Lord, lifted up upon the principal standard in view of all. This standard will be admired by all good Catholics; but at the beginning it will be derided by bad Christians and by infidels. Their sneers shall, however, be changed into mourning when they shall witness the wonderful victories achieved through it against tyrant, heretics, and infidels. Many wicked men and obstinate rebels against God shall perish: their souls will be plunged into hell. This punishment shall fall upon all those transgressors of the Divine commandments who with new and false doctrines will attempt to corrupt mankind and turn men against the ministers of God’s worship. The same chastisement is due to all obstinate sinners, but not to those who sin through weakness, because these being converted, doing penance, and amending the conduct of their life, shall find the divine mercy of the Most High full of kindness towards them. Oh holy Cross Bearers of the Most High Lord, how very pleasing you will be to the great God much more than the children of Israel! God will, through your instrumentality, work more wonderful prodigies than he has ever done before with any nation. You shall destroy the sect of Mahomet, and all infidels of every kind and of every sect. You shall put an end to all the heresies of the world by extinguishing all tyrants. You will remove every cause of complaint by establishing a universal peace, which shall last until the end of time. You will work the sanctification of mankind. Oh holy men: People blessed of the Most Holy Trinity! Your victorious founder shall triumph over the world, the flesh, and the Devil.
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One of your posterity shall achieve greater deeds and work greater wonders than your lordship. That man will be a great sinner in his youth, but like St. Paul he shall be drawn and converted to God. He shall be the great founder of a new religious order different from all the others. He shall divide it into three classes, namely:
1. Military knights;
2. Solitary priests;
3. Most pious hospitallers.
This shall be the last religious order in the Church, and it will do more good for our holy religion than all other religious institutes. By force of arms he shall take possession of a great kingdom. He shall destroy the sect of Mahomet, extirpate all tyrants and heresies. He shall bring the world to a holy mode of life. There will be one fold and one Shepherd. He shall reign until the end of time. On the whole earth there shall be only twelve kings, one emperor, and one pope. Rich gentlemen shall be very few, but all saints. May Jesus Christ be praised and blessed; for He has vouched to grant to me, a poor unworthy sinner, the spirit of prophecy, not in an obscure way as to His other servants, but has enabled me to write and to speak in a most clear manner. I know that unbelieving and reprobate persons will scoff at my letters and will reject them; but they will be received by those faithful Catholic souls who aspire to the possession of heaven. These letters shall infuse such sweetness of divine love in their hearts, that they will be delighted in perusing them often, and in taking copies of them, because such is the will of the Most High. In these letters it will be found out who belongs to our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ and who does not, who is a predestinate or a reprobate. Much better will this be known through the holy sign of the living God. He shall be a saint of God who will take it, love it, and wear it.