The Assisi Compilation - 176 

His companion closed the door, remaining next to it on the inside. Blessed Francis knocked on the door and he immediately opened it for him. He entered with his hat on his back and with staff in hand, like a pilgrim. When he came to the door of the house where the brothers were eating, he called out to the brothers like a poor man: "For the love of the Lord God, give alms to this poor, sick pilgrim."

That minister and the other brothers recognized him at once. The minister told him: "Brother, we are also poor, and because we are so many, we need these alms we are eating. But, for the love of that Lord you invoked, come into the house, and we will give you some of the alms which the Lord has given us."

When he came in and stood in front of the brothers' table, the minister gave him the bowl from which he was eating and some bread. Taking it, he sat down on the floor beside the fire, facing the brothers who sat at the elevated table. Sighing he said to the brothers: "When I saw the table finely and elaborately prepared, I considered that this was not a table of poor religious, who go door-to-door each day. For more than other religious, we should follow the example of poverty and humility in all things, because we have been called to this and have professed this before God and people. So, now it seems to me I'm seated like a brother."

The brothers were ashamed at this, considering that blessed Francis was speaking the truth. Some of them began to weep loudly, considering how he was seated on the ground, wishing to correct them in such a holy and simple way.

He told the brothers that they have a humble and decent table so as to edify secular people. And if the brothers invite a poor person he should sit with them, and not have the poor man sit on the ground and have the brothers sit on high.

When the Lord Pope Gregory was the bishop of Ostia, he came to the place of the brothers at Saint Mary of the Portiuncula, with many knights, monks, and other clerics. He entered the house of the brothers to see their dormitory and, when he saw that the brothers lay on the ground, with nothing underneath except a little straw, no pillows, and some poor coverings, torn and threadbare, he began to weep profusely before them all. "Look where the brothers sleep," he said. "But we, wretched creatures, enjoy such a surplus. What will become of us?" Both he and the others were greatly edified. He did not see a table there because the brothers ate on the ground. From the very beginning, that place, once it was built, was visited by the brothers of the entire religion more than any other place, for everyone who entered religion was invested there. No matter whether they were few or many, the brothers always used to eat on the




Compilatio Assisiensis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1578-1579

6Socius eius clausit ostium, manens de intus iuxta ipsum. 7Beatus Franciscus pulsavit ostium et ipse statim aperuit ei, et venit cum capello post dorsum et baculo in manibus quasi peregrinus. 8Cumque veniret ante ostium domus ubi fratres comedebant, clamavit sicut pauper, dicens fratribus: « Amore Domini Dei facite helemosinam isti pauperi peregrino et infirmo ».

9Minister ille et alii fratres statim cognoverunt eum. 10Responditque ei minister: « Frater, nos simili modo pauperes sumus, et cum multi simus, sunt nobis necessarie helemosine quas comedimus, sed amore illius Domini quem invocavisti, intra domum et dabimus tibi de helemosinis quas Dominus dedit nobis ».

11Cumque intraret et staret ante mensam fratrum, minister dedit ei scutellam in qua comedebat et de pane similiter. 12Et accipiens sedit in terra iuxta ignem coram fratribus, qui sedebant ad mensam in alto, et suspirans dixit ad fratres: 13« Cum viderem mensam honorifice et curiose paratam, consideravi quod non esset mensa pauperum religiosorum, qui cotidie vadunt ostiatim. 14Nam nobis huiusmodi magis convenit in omnibus sequi exemplum humilitatis et paupertatis quam aliis religiosis, quia [ad] hoc vocati sumus et professi fuimus hoc coram Deo et hominibus. 15Unde modo videtur michi sedere sicut frater ».

16Et verecundati sunt inde fratres considerantes quod veritatem diceret beatus Franciscus, et quidam ex ipsis ceperunt fortiter lacrimari, considerantes quomodo sederet in terra et quod tam sancte et honeste voluit corrigere eos.

17Item dicebat quod fratres ita humiles et honestas mensas habere deberent, ut inde seculares possent hedificari; et si aliquis pauper invitaretur a fratribus, posset sedere iuxta eos, non pauper in terra et fratres in alto.

18Unde dominus papa Gregorius, cum esset episcopus Hostiensis et veniret ad locum fratrum apud Sanctam Mariam de Portiuncula, intravit domum fratrum et ivit ad videndum dormitorium fratrum, quod erat in eadem domo, cum multis militibus et monachis et aliis clericis, qui venerant secum. 19Et cum videret quod fratres iacebant in terra et nichil haberent subtus nisi modicum de palea et capitalia nulla et quasdam cultras pauperculas et quasi fractas totas et dissipatas, cepit multum lacrimari coram omnibus, dicens: 20 « Ecce hic dormiunt fratres; nos vero miseri tot superfluitatibus in omnibus utimur. Quid ergo erit de nobis? ». 21Unde ipse et alii multum inde fuerunt hedificati. 22Mensam nullam ibi vidit, quia fratres comedebant in terra. 23Et quamvis ille locus ab inceptione, quando fuit hedificatus, magis frequentaretur per longum tempus a fratribus totius Religionis quam aliquis locus fratrum, quoniam omnes qui veniebant ad Religionem induebantur ibi, semper fratres illius loci comedebant in terra, sive pauci sive multi essent,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 176