The Assisi Compilation - 190 

Afterwards, one night when the pain of his illness prevented him from sleeping, he had pity and compassion on himself. He said to his companions: "My dearest brothers and sons, do not grow weary or burdened because of your care for me in my illness. The Lord, on my behalf, His little servant, will return to you, in this world and the next, all the fruit of the good work that you are unable to do because of your care for me in my illness. In fact, you will obtain an even greater profit than those who assist the whole religion and life of the brothers. You should even tell me: 'We're paying your expenses, but the Lord, on your behalf, will be our debtor.' "

The holy father spoke in this way because he wanted to help them and lift them up in their faint-heartedness and weakness. He did this so that they would not be tempted to use this work as an excuse to say: "We can't pray and we can't put up with all this work"; and so that they would not become weary and faint-hearted, and thus lose the fruit of their labor.

One day the doctor arrived with the iron instrument used for cauterizing in eye diseases. He had a fire lit to heat the iron, and when the fire was lit, he placed the iron in it.

To comfort his spirit so it would not become afraid, blessed Francis said to the fire: "My Brother Fire, noble and useful among all the creatures the Most High created, be courtly to me in this hour. For a long time I have loved you and I still love you for the love of that Lord who created you. I pray our Creator who made you, to temper your heat now, so that I may bear it." And as he finished the prayer he made the sign of the cross over the fire.

We who were with him, overcome by piety and compassion for him, all ran away, and he remained alone with the doctor.

When the cauterization was finished, we returned to him. "You, faint-hearted, of little faith," he said to us, "why did you run away? I tell you the truth: I felt no pain or even heat from the fire. In fact, if it's not well cooked, cook it some more!"

The doctor was greatly amazed, and noting that he did not even move, considered it a great miracle. "My brothers," the doctor said, "I tell you, and I speak from experience: I doubt that a strong man with a healthy body could endure such a severe burn, much less this man, who is weak and sick."

The burn was a long one, extending from the ear to the eyebrow, because, day and night for years fluid had been accumulating in his eyes. This is the reason, according to the advice of the doctor, for cauterizing all the veins from the ear to the eyebrow, although, according to the advice of other doctors, it would be very harmful. And this

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Compilatio Assisiensis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1604-1607


8Postea quadam nocte, cum pre doloribus suarum infirmitatum dormire non posset, cum pietate et sui compassione dixit sociis suis: 9« Carissimi fratres et filioli mei, non tedeat vel gravet vos laborare pro infirmitate mea, quoniam Dominus pro me servulo suo restituet vobis omnem fructum operationum vestrarum in hoc seculo et in venturo, quas propter sollicitudinem et infirmitatem operari non valetis; 10immo maius lucrum ex hoc acquiritis quam qui adiuvant totam Religionem et vitam fratrum. 11Immo etiam ita dicatis michi: Super te facimus expensas nostras et Dominus pro te erit debitor noster ».

12Hoc autem dicebat sanctus pater volens iuvare et erigere pusillanimitatem spiritus illorum et debilitatem, ne aliquando temptati occasione illius laboris dicerent: « Nos non valemus orare nec etiam tantum laborem tolerare », et ne efficerentur tediosi et pusillanimes et sic laboris fructum amitterent.

13Et factum est, cum quadam die veniret medicus apportans ferrum cum quo faciebat cocturas pro infirmitate oculorum, et fecisset fieri ignem ad calefaciendum ferrum, et accenso igne misit ferrum in ipsum.

14Beatus Franciscus ad confortandum spiritum suum, ut non expavesceret, dixit ad ignem: « Frater mi ignis, nobilis et utilis inter alias creaturas quas Altissimus creavit, esto michi in hac hora curialis, quia olim te dilexi et adhuc diligam amore illius Domini qui te creavit; 15deprecor etiam Creatorem nostrum qui te creavit, ut ita tuum calorem temperet quod ipsum valeam sustinere ». 16Et, oratione finita, crucis signo signavit ignem.

17Nos vero qui cum ipso eramus, omnes fugimus ex pietate et [com]passione illius, et solus medicus cum ipso remansit.

18Et, facta coctura, reversi sumus ad illum. 19Qui dixit nobis: « Pusillanimes et modice fidei, quare fugistis? 20In veritate dico vobis quod nullum dolorem sensi nec ignis calorem; immo, si non est bene coctum, adhuc coquat melius ».

21Et miratus est inde valde ille medicus, habens illud pro magno miraculo, quoniam penitusse non movit. 22Et ait medicus: « Fratres mei, dico vobis quod non solum de ipso qui est debilis et infirmus, sed de illo qui esset fortis et corpore sanus timerem, ne tam magnam cocturam posset sustinere, etiam in quibusdam sum iam expertus ».

23Nam coctura fuit longa, incipiens iuxta auriculam usque ad supercilium oculi, propter flegma multum quod die et nocte ad oculos per multos annos cotidie descendebat ; 24unde oportuit quod secundum consilium illius medici omnes vene ab auricula usque ad supercilium oculi inciderentur, licet totum sibi esset contrarium secundum consilium aliorum medicorum; quoniam et verum fuit, quia nichil ei profuit.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 190

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