The Assisi Compilation - 130 

out of reverence for the Son of God, whom His Virgin Mother on that night laid in a manger between an ox and ass, everyone should have to give brother ox and brother ass a generous portion of fodder on that night. Likewise, on the Nativity of the Lord, all the poor should be fed their fill by the rich."

For blessed Francis held the Nativity of the Lord in greater reverence than any other of the Lord's solemnities. For although the Lord may have accomplished our salvation in his other solemnities, nevertheless, once He was born to us, as blessed Francis would say, it was certain that we would be saved. On that day he wanted every Christian to rejoice in the Lord and, for love of Him who gave Himself to us, wished everyone to be cheerfully generous not only to the poor but also to the animals and birds.

Concerning larks, blessed Francis used to say, "Our Sister Lark, has a capuche like religious, and is a humble bird, who gladly goes along the road looking for some grain. Even if she finds it in the animals' manure, she pecks it out and eats it. While flying, she praises the Lord, like good religious who look down on earthly things, and whose life is always in heaven. Moreover, her clothes, that is, her feathers, resemble earth, giving an example to religious not to wear clothes that are colorful and refined, but dull, like earth." And because blessed Francis considered all these things in sister larks, he loved them very much and was glad to see them.

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[TAKING ALMS CAN ROB THE POOR]

Blessed Francis often said these words to the brothers: "I have never been a thief, that is, in regard to alms, which are the inheritance of the poor. I always took less than I needed, so that other poor people would not be cheated of their share. To act otherwise would be theft."

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Compilatio Assisiensis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1494-1495


5Et quod ad reverentiam Filii Dei, quem in presepio inter bovem et asinum reclinavit beata Virgo, mater eius tali nocte omnis homo in ipsa nocte satis debeat dare de annona fratribus bobus et asinis; 6similiter quod in Nativitate Domini omnes pauperes a divitibus debeant saturari ».

7Nam beatus Franciscus maiorem reverentiam habebat in Nativitate Domini, quam in nulla alia solemnitate Domini, quoniam, licet in aliis eius solemnitatibus Dominus salutem nostram operatus sit, tamen ex quo natus fuit nobis, ut dicebat beatus Franciscus, oportuit nos salvari. 8Propterea volebat ut tali die omnis christianus in Domino exultaret et pro eius amore, qui semetipsum dedit e nobis, omnis homo non tantum pauperibus cum hilaritate esset largus, sed etiam animalibus et avibus.

9Dicebat beatus Franciscus de lauda: « Soror lauda habet caputium sicut religiosi, ét est humilis avis, que vadit libenter per viam ad inveniendum sibi aliqua frumenta, etiamsi invenerit ea inter stercora animalium, extrahit tamen ea et comedit. 10Volando laudat Dominum, sicut boni religiosi despicientes terrena, quorum semper in celis est conversatio. 11Preterea eius vestimentum terre assimilatur, videlicet penne eius, exemplum prebens religiosis, ut non colorata et delicata vestimenta habere debeant, sed quasi mortua ad modum terre ». 12Et propterea, quia beatus Franciscus in sororibus laudis considerabat hec predicta, multum diligebat eas et libenter videbat.

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1Dicebat beatus Franciscus frequenter verba ista fratribus: 2« Non fui latro unquam, idest de helemosinis, que pauperum sunt hereditas, 3semper minus accepi quam me contingeret, ne defraudarentur alii pauperes sorte sua, quia contrarium facere furtum esset ».

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 130

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