The Assisi Compilation - 183 

his illnesses. When the forty days had ended and he was preaching to a large crowd of people, gathered not far from that hermitage, in the opening words of his sermon he told them: "You came to me with great devotion and believe me to be a holy man. But I confess to God and to you that during this Lent in that hermitage, I have eaten food flavored with lard."

Indeed, if the brothers or the friends of the brothers, with whom he would eat, occasionally prepared a special dish for him because of his illnesses or the obvious need of his body, it frequently happened that he would immediately tell this to the brothers or lay people who did not know about it, whether inside the house or outside, saying publicly: "I ate such and such foods." He did not wish to conceal from people what was known to God.

Moreover, if his soul were ever tempted to vainglory, pride, or any vice, no matter where he was, or in whose presence, whether they be religious or lay, he would immediately and openly confess it to them, without concealing anything. That is why he told his companions one day: "I want to live before God, in hermitages and other places where I stay, just as the people see and know me. If they believe that I am a holy man and I do not lead a life becoming a holy man, I would be a hypocrite."

Thus one time in winter, one of the companions, who was his guardian, acquired a piece of fox fur because of the illness of the spleen and the cold of his stomach. He asked him to permit him to have it sewn under his tunic next to his stomach and spleen, especially because it was then extremely cold. But from the moment he began to serve Christ until the day of his death, in any weather, he did not want to wear or have anything but a single patched tunic.

Blessed Francis answered him: "If you want me to wear that fur under the tunic, allow me to sew a piece of the fur on the outside of my tunic as an indication to people that I have a piece of fur underneath." And this is what he had done; and, although it was a necessity on account of his illnesses, he did not wear it long.

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[HE ACCUSES HIMSELF OF VAINGLORY, NOT WISHING TO BE A HYPOCRITE]

Another time, he was going through the city of Assisi and many people went with him. A poor old woman asked him for alms for the love of God and he immediately gave her the mantle he had on his back. And, at once, he confessed before everyone that on that account he felt vainglory.

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Compilatio Assisiensis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1592-1593


maxime quia oleum in suis infirmitatibus erat valde contrarium, finita .XL. cum predicaret magno populo congregato a non multum longe ab illo heremitorio, in primo verbo sue predicationis dixit illis: 2« Vos venistis ad me cum magna devotione et creditis me sanctum hominem, sed Deo et vobis confiteor quoniam, in hac .XL. in illo heremitorio comedi cibaria de lardo condita ».

3Immo etiam raro [non]numquam fiebat quod si fratres vel amici fratrum, cum apud ipsos comederet, vel manifeste eius corpori aliquando propter suas infirmitates facerent pitantiam, quin statim in domo vel cum exiret de domo, coram fratribus et etiam secularibus qui illud ignorabant, diceret palam: 4 « Talia cibaria comedi », nolens occultare hominibus quod manifestum erat coram Deo.

5Immo ubicumque vel coram quibuscumque religiosis vel secularibus spiritus eius aliquando ad vanam gloriam vel superbiam aut aliquod vitium moveretur, statim coram illis confitebatur nude et sine aliquo cooperimento. 6Unde quodam die dixit sociis suis: « Taliter volo vivere apud Deum in heremis et aliis locis ubi maneo, qualiter homines scirent et me viderent; 7quoniam si credunt me sanctum hominem et non facerem vitam quam convenit facere sancto homini, essem ipocrita ».

8Unde quodam tempore in hieme propter infirmitatem splenis et stomachi frigiditatem, unus de sociis qui erat eius guardianus acquisivit unum corium vulpis, 9et rogavit ipsum ut permitteret ipsum consui subtus cum tunica iuxta splenem et stomachum, maxime quia tunc erat magnum frigus, 10et ipse ex quo Christo servire incepit omni tempore usque ad diem mortis sue noluit portare nec habere nisi tunicam unam repetiatam, cum volebat illam repetiare.

11Cui respondit beatus Franciscus: « Si vis ut habeam intus ad tunicam pellem illam, facias michi poni quandam petiolam illius pellis de foris et consui ad tunicam, in testimonium hominibus quod ego habeo pellem interius ». 12Et ita fecit fieri; sed non multum portavit, licet sibi necessaria esset propter suas infirmitates.

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1Alio tempore ibat per civitatem Assisii et ibant cum illo multi homines; et quedam vetula paupercula petiit sibi helemosinam amore Dei, et ipse statim dedit ei mantellum quem habebat ad dorsum. 2Et statim, confessus est coram ipsis, quod habuerit inde vanam gloriam.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 183

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