The Assisi Compilation - 164 

father and everyone in my household for many years. Although my portion of the inheritance is small, I want to take this ox as my share and give it to the poor, as you think best according to God."

But when his parents and brothers, who were still small, saw that he wanted to leave them, they and the entire household began to cry so bitterly and wail so loudly that blessed Francis was moved to piety, especially because the family was large and penniless. Blessed Francis said to them: "Prepare and serve a meal so we can all eat together, and don't cry, because I will make you happy." So they prepared it at once, and all of them ate with great joy.

After the meal blessed Francis said to them: "This son of yours wants to serve God, and you should be glad and not sad about this. This will be counted an honor and advantage to your souls and bodies, not only according to God but also according to the world, because God will be honored by your own flesh and blood, and all our brothers will be your sons and brothers. And because he is a creature of God and wishes to serve his Creator, and to serve Him is to reign, I cannot and should not return him to you. But in order that you receive and keep some consolation from all this, I want him to rid himself of this ox by giving it to you, although, according to the counsel of the holy Gospel, it ought to be given to other poor people." They were all consoled by the words of blessed Francis, and they rejoiced especially that the ox was returned to them, since they were poor.

Because blessed Francis greatly loved and was always pleased by pure and holy simplicity in himself and in others, he immediately dressed him in the clothing of the religion and took him as his companion. He was a man of such simplicity, that he believed he was bound to do everything blessed Francis would do.

So, whenever blessed Francis was in some church or in some other place to pray, he wanted to watch and observe him so that he could imitate all his gestures. If blessed Francis knelt, or joined his hands toward heaven, or spat, or coughed, he would do the same. With great joy, blessed Francis began to reprove him for these kinds of simplicity. But he answered: "Brother, I promised to do everything you do. Therefore I want to do everything you do."

And blessed Francis marveled and rejoiced, seeing him in such purity and simplicity. For he began to be perfect in all virtues and good habits, so that blessed Francis and the other brothers greatly marveled at his perfection. A short time afterwards he died in that holy perfection. Therefore, with great inner and outer joy, blessed Francis used to tell the brothers about his manner of living and would call him not "Brother John," but "Saint John."

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Compilatio Assisiensis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1554-1556


tot annis servivi patri meo et omnibus de domo mea; licet parva sit hec portio hereditatis mee, volo istum bovem accipere pro portione mea et dare illum pauperibus, sicut tibi melius videbitur secundum Deum ».

11Videntes autem parentes eius et fratres, qui adhuc erant parvi, quod volebat dimittere eos, ceperunt ipsi et omnes de domo tam fortiter lacrimari et plangere alta voce quod motus est inde ad pietatem beatus Franciscus, maxime quia magna familia et imbecillis erat; 12et ait ad illos beatus Franciscus: « Parate et facite comestionem ut omnes insimul comedamus, et nolite plangere, quoniam vos letos faciam ». 13Illi autem statim paraverunt, et comederunt omnes cum multa letitia.

14Post comestionem dixit ad eos beatus Franciscus: « Iste filius vester vult servire Deo, de quo non contristari, sed gaudere debetis; 15et non solum secundum Deum, verum etiam secundum seculum istud imputatur vobis ad honorem et profectum animarum et corporum, quia de carne vestra honoratur Deus, et omnes fratres nostri erunt vestri filii et fratres. 16Et quia creatura Dei est et suo Creatori vult servire, cui servire regnare est, non possum nec debeo ipsum reddere vobis; 17sed, ut de ipso recipiatis et habeatis consolationem, volo quod ipse expropriet se vobis de isto bove tamquam pauperibus, licet pauperibus aliis deberet dari secundum consilium sancti Evangelii ». 18Et consolati sunt omnes in verbis beati Francisci, et maxime letati sunt quod bos redditus est eis, quia pauperes erant.

19Et quia beatus Franciscus nimis diligebat et ei placebat semper pura et sancta simplicitas in se et in aliis, statim quod induit eum panno Religionis, ducebat illum pro socio suo. 20Erat enim ille tante simplicitatis, quod ad omnia quecumque faciebat beatus Franciscus, credebat se teneri.

21Unde, cum beatus Franciscus staret in aliqua ecclesia vel in alio loco remoto ad orationem et ipse volebat illum videre et respicere, ut eius se gestibus omnibus conformaret. 22Unde si beatus Franciscus flecteret genua aut iungeret manus ad celum aut spueret vel tussiret, et ipse similiter faciebat. 23Et cepit ipsum beatus Franciscus cum multa letitia de huiusmodi simplicitatibus redarguere; 24qui respondit ei: « Frater, ego promisi omnia facere que tu facis; unde volo facere omnia que tu facis ».

25Et mirabatur inde et letabatur beatus Franciscus videns ipsum in tanta puritate et simplicitate. 26Nam tantum cepit in omnibus virtutibus et bonis moribus perfectus esse, quod beatus Franciscus et alii fratres mirabantur plurimum de eius perfectione. 27Et non post multum tempus mortuus est in illa sancta perfectione. 28Unde beatus Franciscus, cum multa letitia utriusque hominis, narrabat inter fratres eius conversationem, et nominabat ipsum non fratrem Iohannem, sed sanctum Iohannem.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 164

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