As far as I have currently read in “The Little Flowers of St Francis”, I have noticed that penance, prayer, and obedience to the brethren in poverty, have taken precedence over the study of the Bible. A common man of the time would have viewed the Franciscan order as the most holy group of men, and would try to emulate their behavior as well as he could, and hope for the best (namely, to get into heaven) with as little time spent in purgatory as possible. The stories in the “Little Flowers” emphasize the concepts of heaven, hell, and lastly, purgatory, which concept is totally unbiblical and belongs solely to the Catholic church and her supporters.
Not even the friars themselves were certain of their salvation. It appeared that one could gain salvation through many paths ….
1. by the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus,
2. by the stigmata (five wounds of the Passion of Christ) that were on St Francis’ body,
3. by giving up all earthly things and desending into the deepest poverty, praying often, and afflicting yourself with fasting in order that you could “atone” for your own sins, and, in doing so, become more holy than others, and not have to spend so long in purgatory.
Thank you for reading!