The Assisi Compilation - 141 

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[This teacher asked him about the words of Ezekiel: If you do not warn the wicked man about his wickedness, I will hold you responsible for his soul. I'm acquainted with many people, good father, who live in mortal sin, as I'm aware. But I don't always warn them about their wickedness. Will I then be held responsible for their souls?"

Blessed Francis then said that he was an unlettered man, and it would be better for him to be taught by the other rather than to answer a question about Scripture. But that humble teacher replied: "Brother, it's true I have heard these words explained by some wise men; still, I'd be glad to hear how you understand it." So blessed Francis said to him: "If that passage is supposed to be understood in a universal sense, then I understand it to mean that a servant of God should be burning with life and holiness so brightly, that by the light of example and the tongue of his conduct, he will rebuke all the wicked. In that way, I say, the brightness of his life and the fragrance of his reputation will proclaim their wickedness to all of them."

That man went away greatly edified, and said to the companions of blessed Francis: "My brothers, the theology of this man, held aloft by purity and contemplation, is a soaring eagle, while our learning crawls on its belly on the ground" ].

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[A PARABLE ABOUT IMMODEST GLANCES]

[He used to pierce eyes that are not chaste with this parable 1 Cor 13:12. "A powerful] and pious [king sent two messengers to his queen, one after the other. The first returned and simply reported her words verbatim. Truly the eyes of the wise man stayed in his head and did not dart elsewhere. The other returned and, after reporting in brief words, launched into a long story about the lady's beauty. 'Truly, my lord, I saw a lovely woman; happy is he who enjoys her!' And the king said,] 'You [evil servant, you cast your shameless eyes on my wife? It is clear that you would like to buy what you inspected so carefully!' He then called back the first messenger and asked: 'What did you think of the queen?' And he answered: 'I thought very highly of her, for she listened] gladly [and then replied wisely.' 'And don't you think she's beautiful?' the king said. 'My lord,' he said, 'this is for you to see; my job was simply to deliver messages.'

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Compilatio Assisiensis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1509-1511


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1Interrogavit autem dictus magister eum de illo Ezechielis verbo: Si non annuntiaveris impio impietatem suam, animarn eius de manu tua requiram. 2Dixit enim: « Multos, bone pater, ipse cognosco, quos sciens esse in peccato mortali, non semper eis impietatem eorum annuntio. 3Numquid de manu mea talium anime requirentur?

4Cui cum beatus Franciscus idiotam se diceret, et ideo magis docendum ab eo, quam, supra scripture sententiam respondere, adiecit humilis ille magister: 5« Frater, licet ab aliquibus sapientibus verbi huius expositionem audierim, libenter tamen super hoc tuum reciperem intellectum ». 6Dixit ad eum beatus Franciscus: « Si verbum universaliter debet intelligi, taliter ego accipio, quod servus Dei sic debet vita et sanctitate in se ardere, ut luce exempli et lingua conversationis omnes impios reprehendat. 7Sic, inquam, splendor vite eius et odor fame ipsius omnibus annuntiabit iniquitatem eorum ».

8Plurimum itaque vir ille hedificatus abscedens, dixit sociis beati Francisci: « Fratres mei, theologia viri huius, puritate et contemplatione subnixa, est aquila volans; nostra vero scientia ventre graditur super terram ».

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1Solebat non castos oculos enigmate tali configere. 2« Rex pius et potens duos ad reginam successive nuntios misit. 3Redit primus et tantum verbis verba reportat. 4Siquidem sapientis oculi in capite fuerant, nec prosilierant quoquam. 5Redit alius, et post brevia verba que refert, longam de domine pulchritudine texit historiam: Vere, domine, vidi pulcherrimam mulierem. Felix qui fruitur. 6At ille: Tu, inquit, serve nequam, in sponsam meam oculos impudicos iecisti? Liquet quod emere volueris rem prospectam subtiliter. 7Iubet revocari primum et ait: « Quid tibi de regina videtur? 8Et ille: Optime quidem, quoniam libenter audivit, respondit sagaciter. 9Et nichil, inquit, ei formositatis inest? 10Tuum, ait, domine mi, sit hoc inspicere; meum fuit verba proferre.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 141

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