The Assisi Compilation - 177 

ground. As long as the holy father lived, after his example and will, the brothers who lived there used to sit on the ground to eat.

For blessed Francis found the hermitage of the brothers at Greccio to be becoming and poor and the inhabitants, although poor and simple, were more pleasing to him than those of the rest of the region. For this reason he rested and stayed there, especially because there was a poor cell, very isolated, in which the holy father would stay.

Many of these people, with the grace of God, entered religion because of his example and preaching and that of his brothers. Many women preserved their virginity and, remaining in their own homes, dressed in the clothing of religion. And although each remained in her own home, each of them lived the common life decently, afflicting her body with fasting and prayer. Thus it seemed to the people and to the brothers that their manner of living was not among seculars and their relatives, but among holy and religious people who had served the Lord a long time, despite their youthful age and simplicity. That is why, with joy, blessed Francis often said to the brothers about the men and women of this town: "Even in a large city not as many people have been converted to penance as in Greccio, which is only a small town."

For frequently, when the brothers of that place used to praise the Lord in the evening, as the brothers at that time were accustomed to do in many places, the people of that town, both the great and the small, would come outside. Standing on the road in front of the town, they would respond to the brothers in a loud voice: "Praised be the Lord God!" Even children, who could not yet speak, when they saw the brothers, would praise the Lord as best they could.

In those times they endured an awful scourge which they had suffered for many years. Huge wolves would eat people, and every year hailstorms would destroy their fields and vineyards. One day when blessed Francis was preaching, he said to them: "To the praise and honor of God, I tell you that, if each one of you turns away from sin, and turns to God with whole heart, firm resolve, and will to persevere, I trust in the Lord Jesus Christ that, in His mercy, He will soon deliver you from the scourge of the wolves and of the hail from which, for so long a time, you have been suffering. He will make you grow and increase in both spiritual and temporal things. I also tell you if you return to your vomit, this scourge and pestilence will return, and more and worse disasters will afflict you."

Through divine providence and the merits of the holy father, it happened that, from that hour and time, this scourge ceased. Moreover, it was a great miracle when hail came down and destroyed their

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Compilatio Assisiensis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1580-1582


semper fratres illius loci comedebant in terra, sive pauci sive multi essent, 24et quandiu vixit sanctus pater, exemplo suo et voluntate, fratres illius loci sedebant in terra ad comedendum.

25Videns enim beatus Franciscus quod ille locus fratrum de Grecio esset honestus et pauper et quod homines illius castri, licet essent pauperculi et simplices, inter alios de illa provincia placuerunt magis beato Francisco, 26ideo sepe quiescebat et morabatur in eodem loco, maxime quia erat ibi cella una paupercula, que erat valde remota, in qua manebat sanctus pater.

27Unde exemplo suo et predicatione et fratrum suorum, gratia Domini multi ex ipsis intraverunt Religionem, mulieres multe servabant virginitatem suam, permanentes in domibus suis, indute pannis Religionis. 28Et licet unaqueque maneret in domo sua, communi vita vivebat honeste et affligebat corpus suum ieiunio et oratione, ut videretur hominibus et fratribus earum conversatio non inter seculares esse et consanguineos suos, sed inter sanctas personas et religiosas que longo tempore servissent Domino, cum tamen essent iuvencule et simplices valde. 29Unde sepe dicebat cum letitia beatus Franciscus inter fratres de hominibus et mulieribus illius castri: « De una magna civitate non sunt conversi tot ad penitentiam quot de Grecio, quod est ita parvum castrum ».

30Nam sepe cum in sero fratres de loco laudarent Dominum, sicut fratres in multis locis illo tempore solebant facere, homines illius castri, parvi et magni, exibant foras stantes in via ante castrum, respondentes fratribus alta voce: « Laudatus sit Dominus Deus! ». 31Ita quod etiam pueri nescientes adhuc bene loqui, cum viderent fratres, laudarent Dominum sicut poterant.

32Habebant autem illis temporibus tribulationem maximam, quam passi sunt per plurimos annos: quoniam lupi magni comedebant homines et grando omni anno devastabat agros et vineas ipsorum. 33Unde beatus Franciscus cum quadam die predicaret eis, dixit: 34 « Annuntio vobis ad honorem et laudem Dei quod, si unusquisque vestrum a peccatis suis se emendaverit et ad Deum conversus fuerit ex toto corde cum proposito et voluntate perseverandi, 35confido in Domino Iesu Christo, quod ipse per misericordiam suam amodo auferet a vobis istam pestilentiam luporum et grandinis, quam passi fuistis tanto tempore, et faciet vos crescere et multiplicari in spiritualibus et temporalibus. 36Item annuntio vobis, [quod] absit, si ad vomitum reversi fueritis, hec plaga et pestilentia super vos revertetur et multe alie maiores tribulationes cum ipsis ».

37Et factum est [quod], divina dispensatione et meritis sancti patris, ex illa hora et tempore, cessaret illa tribulatio. 38Immo, quod est magnum miraculum, quando grando veniebat et devastabat agros vicinorum suorum,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 177

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