The Assisi Compilation - 150 

And he said: "Dearest brothers, great necessity and charity compelled me to do what I did, namely, that out of love for our brother we ate together with him, so he wouldn't be embarrassed to eat alone. But I tell you, in the future I do not wish to act this way because it wouldn't be religious or decent. Let each one provide his body with what it needs as our poverty will allow. This is what I wish and command you."

The first brothers and those who came after them for a long time mortified their bodies excessively, not only by abstinence in food and drink, but also in vigils, cold, and manual labor. Next to their skin, those who could get them wore iron rings and breastplates and the roughest hair shirts, which they were even better able to get. Considering that the brothers could get sick because of this, and in a short time some were already ailing, the holy father therefore commanded in one of the chapters that no brother wear anything next to the skin except the tunic.

We who were with him bear witness to this fact about him: from the time he began to have brothers, and also during his whole lifetime, he was discerning with the brothers, provided that in the matter of food and other things, they did not deviate at any time from the norm of the poverty and decency of our religion, which the early brothers observed. Nevertheless, even before he had brothers, from the beginning of his conversion and during his whole lifetime, he was severe with his own body, even though from the time of his youth he was a man of a frail and weak constitution, and when he was in the world he could not live without comforts.

One time, perceiving that the brothers had exceeded the norm of poverty and decency in food and in things, he said in a sermon he gave, speaking to a few brothers, who stood for all the brothers: "Don't the brothers think that my body needs special food? But because I must be the model and example for all the brothers, I want to use and be content with poor food and things, not fine ones."

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[HE PERSUADES THE BROTHERS TO GO JOYFULLY BEGGING FOR ALMS]

When Francis began to have brothers, he was so happy about their conversion and that the Lord had given him good company, that he loved and revered them so much that he did not tell them to go for alms, especially because it seemed to him that they would be ashamed to go. Rather, sparing them shame, he himself would go alone for alms every day. His body was worn out by this, especially

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Compilatio Assisiensis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1524-1526


14Et ait: « Carissimi fratres, hoc quod feci, videlicet quod caritate fratris nostri cum ipso pariter comedimus, [ut non] verecundaretur solus comedere, magna necessitas et caritas compulit me facere. 15Sed dico vobis quod de cetero nolo ita facere, quia non esset religiosum neque honestum. 16Sed volo et precipio vobis, ut quilibet secundum nostram paupertatem suo corpori satisfaciat, sicut ei necesse fuerit ».

17Nam primi fratres et alii, qui venerunt post ipsos usque ad magnum tempus, affligebant corpora sua ultra modum abstinentia non solum cibi et potus, sed etiam vigiliis, frigore et labore manuum suarum. 18Portabant igitur subtus ad carnem circulos ferreos et loricas, qui poterant habere et fortissima cilicia; sicut etiam magis poterant habere. 19Propterea sanctus pater, considerans quod fratres hac occasione poterant infirmari, et quidam iam parvo tempore essent infirmati, prohibuit in quodam capitulo, ut nullus fratrum portaret subtus ad carnem nisi tunicam.

20Nos vero, qui cum ipso fuimus, testimonium perhibemus de illo, quod, licet a tempore quo cepit habere fratres, et etiam toto tempore vite sue fratribus esset discretus, ita dumtaxat ut fratres cibis et rebus non deviarent aliquo tempore a modo paupertatis et honestatis nostre Religionis, quibus fratres antiqui utebantur, 21ipse tamen suo corpori, etiam antequam haberet fratres, a principio sue conversionis et toto tempore vite sue fuit austerus, cum a tempore sue iuventutis esset homo fragilis et debilis secundum naturam, et in seculo non posset vivere nisi delicate.

22Unde quodam tempore considerans quod fratres iam excederent modum paupertatis et honestatis in cibis et rebus, in quadam sua predicatione quam fecerat, quibusdam fratribus in persona omnium fratrum dixit: 23« Non putant fratres quod corpori meo necessaria esset pitantia? 24Sed quia oportet me esse formam et exemplum omnium fratrum, volo uti et esse contentus pauperculis cibis et rebus, et non delicatis ».

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1Cum cepisset beatus Franciscus habere fratres, tantum letabatur de conversione illorum, et quod Dominus sibi dedit societatem bonam, in tantum diligebat eos et venerabatur quod non dicebat eis ut irent pro helemosina et maxime quia videbatur ei quod verecundarentur ire; 2sed parcens illorum verecundie, ipse cotidie solus ibat pro helemosina. 3Ex hoc nimis fatigabatur corpus suum,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 150

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