The Assisi Compilation - 169 

world do not understand divine things. Contrary to the will of God, they use instruments such as lutes, the ten-stringed harps, and other instruments, for the sake of vanity and sin, which in times past were used by holy people to praise God and offer consolation to souls. Therefore, I would like you to obtain secretly from some upright person a lute on which you could play for me a decent song and, with it, we will say the words and praises of the Lord, especially because my body is tormented with disease and pain. So I wish by this means to change that pain of my body to joy and consolation of spirit."

For, during his illness, blessed Francis composed some Praises of the Lord which he had his companions recite sometimes for the praise of God, the consolation of his spirit, and also for the edification of his neighbor.

"Father," the brother answered him, "I would be embarrassed to get one, especially because the people of this city know that I played the lute when I was out in the world. I fear they will suspect me of being tempted to play the lute again."

Blessed Francis told him: "Then, brother, let's let it go."

The following night, around midnight, blessed Francis was keeping vigil. And behold, around the house where he was staying he heard the sound of a lute playing a melody more beautiful and delightful than he had ever heard in his life. The one playing it would go some distance away so that he could barely be heard, and then returned, but was always playing. And he did this for over an hour.

Blessed Francis, considering that it was the work of God and not of any human being, was overjoyed, and with an exultant heart with deep feeling he praised the Lord who was so kind as to console him with such a great consolation.

When he arose in the morning he said to his companion: "My brother, I asked you for something and you did not grant it. But the Lord, who consoles His friends in their sufferings, was kind enough to console me last night."

He then told him everything that had happened.

The brothers were amazed and considered this a great miracle. And they knew that it was truly a work of God for the consolation of blessed Francis, especially since, by a decree of the podestà, no one dared go about the city, either at midnight or even after the third ringing of the bells. And because, as blessed Francis said, it came and went in silence, without a word or a noise from its mouth, for more than an hour to console his spirit.




Compilatio Assisiensis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1566-1567

2« Frater, filii huius seculi a divina non intelligunt; quoniam instrumenta scilicet cytharas, psalteria decem cordarum et alia instrumenta, quibus sancti homines in antiquo tempore ad laudem Dei et consolationem animarum utebantur, ipsi ea ad vanitatem et peccatum contra voluntatem Domini utuntur. 3Vellem igitur ut secreto ab aliquo honesto homine cytharam acquireres, cum qua faceres michi versum honestum et diceremus de verbis et laudibus Domini cum ipsa, maxime quia corpus affligitur magna infirmitate et dolore. 4Unde vellem sub ista occasione ipsum dolorem corporis reducere ad letitiam spiritus et consolationem ».

5Nam beatus Franciscus in sua infirmitate fecerat quasdam Laudes Domini, quas suos socios ad laudem Domini et pro consolatione anime sue ac etiam ad hedificationem proximi aliquando dicere faciebat.

6Respondit frater et dixit ei: « Pater, verecundor eam acquirere, maxime cum sciant homines istius civitatis me in seculo nosse cytharizare; timeo ne suspicentur me esse temptatum de cytharizando ».

7Dixit ad eum beatus Franciscus: « Ergo, frater, dimittamus ».

8Nocte vero sequenti, fere in media nocte, vigilabat beatus Franciscus et ecce circa domum ubi iacebat, audivit cytharam pulchriorem versum facientem et magis delectabilem quam umquam audiverat in vita sua. 9Et cytharizans ibat tantum longe quantum posset audiri et postea revertebatur semper cytharizando. 10Et sic per magnam horam hoc fecit.

11Unde considerans beatus Franciscus quod opus Dei esset et non hominis, maximo repletus est gaudio et cum exultatione cordis toto affectu laudavit Dominum, qui tali ac tanta consolatione ipsum dignatus est consolari.

12Et surgens mane dixit socio suo: « Rogavi te, frater, et non satisfecisti michi; sed Dominus, qui in tribulatione consolatur amicos suos, hac nocte dignatus est me consolari ».

13Et sic narravit ei omnia que acciderant.

14Et mirati sunt fratres, considerantes hoc esse magnum miraculum. 15Et cognoverunt vere quod opus Dei fuisset pro consolatione beati Francisci, et maxime cum, non tantum media nocte, sed etiam post tertiam pulsationem campane, ex consuetudine iussionis potestatis, nullus auderet ire per civitatem. 16Et quia, sicut dixit beatus Franciscus, cum silentio, et sine voce et strepitu oris, sicut opus Dei erat, ibat et revertebatur per magnam horam ad consolandum spiritum eius.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 169