The Assisi Compilation - 160 

him: "Do you want me to tell you how the places of the brothers should be built?" "I wish you would, Father," he answered.

And he told him: "When the brothers go to any city where they do not have a place, and they find someone who wants to give them enough land to build a place, have a garden, and whatever is necessary for them, they must first consider how much land is enough for them, always considering the holy poverty we have promised, and the good example we are bound to offer to others."

The holy father said this because he did not want the brothers for any reason to go beyond the norm of poverty either in houses or churches, in gardens or in other things they used. And he did not want them to possess the right of ownership to these places, but always to stay in them as pilgrims and strangers. 1 Pt 2:11 For this reason, he did not want the brothers to have to be assigned to places in large groups, because it seemed to him that it was difficult to observe poverty fully. From the beginning of his conversion until the end, at his death, this was his will: that holy poverty be observed to its fullest.

Afterwards they should go to the bishop of that city and say to him: "Lord, for the love of the Lord God and the salvation of his soul, such and such a person wants to give us enough land so that we can build a place there. Therefore we have recourse to you first, because you are the father and lord of the souls of the entire flock entrusted to you, as well as our souls and those of the other brothers who will stay in this place. Therefore, with the blessing of the Lord God and yours, we would like to build there."

The saint would say this because the good of souls the brothers want to produce among the people was better achieved by peace with prelates and clerics, winning them and the people, rather than by scandalizing prelates and clerics, even though they might win the people.

"The Lord," he used to say, "has called us to help His faith and the prelates and clerics of holy Mother Church. This is why we are always bound to love, honor, and revere them as much as we can. For this reason let them be called Lesser Brothers because, in name as well as example and deed, they should be humbler than all other people of this world. From the beginning of my conversion, when I separated myself from the world and father in the flesh, the Lord put His word in the mouth of the bishop of Assisi so he could counsel me well in the service of Christ and comfort me. On account of this, as well as many other excellent qualities that I consider in prelates, not only in bishops, but in poor priests as well, I want to love them, revere them and regard them as my lords.




Compilatio Assisiensis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1546-1548

2Respondit ei beatus Franciscus: « Vis ut dicam tibi quomodo loca fratrum deberent hedificari? ». Respondit ei: « Pater, volo ».

3Et ait ei: « Cum fratres vadunt ad aliquam civitatem, ubi locum non habent, et inveniunt aliquem, quivult eis dare tantam terram, ubi valeant locum hedificare et habere ortum et que necessaria sunt eis, ipsi primo debent considerare quanta terra sufficiat eis, 4semper considerantes sanctam paupertatem, quam promisimus et bonum exemplum, quod tenemur aliis in omnibus exhibere ».

5Hoc autem dicebat sanctus pater, quia nulla occasione volebat, ut fratres in domibus, vel ecclesiis, in ortis vel aliis rebus, quibus utebantur, modum excederent paupertatis nec aliqua loca iure proprietatis possiderent, sed in eis semper tamquam peregrini et advene morarentur. 6Et propterea volebat ut fratres non in multa quantitate per loca collocari deberent, quia sibi difficile videbatur in multa quantitate paupertatem servari. 7Et hec fuit voluntas eius ab initio sue conversionis et ultimo in morte eius, ut sancta paupertas penitus observaretur.

8« Postea deberent ire ad episcopum illius civitatis et dicere ei: Domine, talis homo amore Domini Dei et salute anime sue vult nobis tantam terram dare ut possimus ibi locum hedificare; 9unde ad vos recurrimus primo, maxime quia estis pater et dominus animarum totius gregis vobis commissi et nostrarum et aliorum fratrum, qui permanserint in loco isto. 10Volumus ergo cum benedictione Domini Dei et vestra, ibi hedificare ».

11Hoc autem dicebat sanctus, quoniam fructum animarum quem in populo fratres exercere volunt melius peragunt cum illorum pace, lucrando eos et populum [quam] scandalizando prelatos et clericos, licet populum lucrentur.

12Et dicebat: « Dominus nos vocavit in adiutorium fidei sue et prelatorum et clericorum sancte matris Ecclesie; propter quod tenemur quantum possumus ipsos semper diligere, honorare et venerari.13Nam ideo vocantur fratres minores, quia sicut nomine sic et exemplo et opere ceteris aliis hominibus huius seculi debent esse humiles. 14Et quia ab initio mee conversionis, cum a seculo et patre carnali me separavi, posuit Dominus verbum suum in ore b episcopi Assisii ut michi bene consuleret in servitio Christi, et me confortaret. 15Et propter hoc et multa alia excellentia que in prelatis considero, non tantum episcopos, sed pauperculos sacerdotes volo diligere et venerari et tenere eos pro meis dominis ».

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 160