The Assisi Compilation - 200 

[97]
[HE GOES FOR ALMS BEFORE DINNER WHILE A GUEST OF THE BISHOP OF OSTIA;
 THE STORY OF BROTHER FLY]

Moreover, one time, when he was visiting the Lord Bishop of Ostia, who later was pope, he went out for alms at mealtime, secretly as it were, because of the Lord Bishop. And when he returned, the Lord Bishop was sitting at table and eating, particularly since he had invited to dinner some knights who were his relatives. Blessed Francis put his alms on the bishop's table and came to the table next to the bishop, because the Lord Bishop always wanted blessed Francis, whenever he was with him, to sit next to him at mealtime. The Lord Bishop was somewhat embarrassed that blessed Francis went begging alms, but said nothing to him particularly because of those at table.

After blessed Francis had eaten a little, he took some of his alms and sent a little on behalf of the Lord God to each one of the knights and chaplains of the Lord Bishop. They all accepted them with great devotion. Some ate them, others kept them out of devotion for him. Moreover, because of devotion for Saint Francis, they even took off their emblems when they accepted the alms. From then on, the Lord Bishop was greatly amazed at their devotion, especially since those alms did not consist of wheat bread.

After the meal, the Lord Bishop got up and went to his room, taking blessed Francis with him. Lifting up his arms, he embraced blessed Francis with utmost joy and told him: "Why, my simple little brother,a did you shame me in my own house, which is also the home of your brothers, by going out as you did for alms?"

"On the contrary, Lord Bishop," blessed Francis answered, "I paid you a great honor. Because when a subject exercises and fulfills his duty and the obedience of his lord, he does honor both to the lord and to his prelate."

Then he said to him: "I must be a model and example of your poor. Especially because I know that in the life and religion of the brothers there are and will be Lesser Brothers, in name and in deed, humble in all things, obedient, and of service to their brothers. They are and will be such because of the love of the Lord God and by the anointing of the Holy Spirit, who teaches and will teach them in all things. There also are and will be those among them who, held back by shame and because of bad habit, are and will be scorned by humbling them-

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Compilatio Assisiensis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1626-1628


[97]

1Immo quodam tempore cum visitaret dominum episcopum Hostiensem qui postea fuit papa, in hora comestionis quasi furtive propter dominum episcopum ivit pro helemosinis; 2et cum reversus fuit, dominus episcopus sedebat ad mensam et comedebat, maxime quia tunc invitaverat quosdam milites suos consanguineos ad comedendum. 3Beatus Franciscus posuit helemosinas super mensam, domini episcopi et intravit ad mensam iuxta dominum episcopum, quoniam dominus episcopus semper volebat quod, cum beatus Franciscus esset apud ipsum in hora comestionis, sederet iuxta ipsum. 4Et verecundatus est inde aliquantulum dominus episcopus eo quod ivit pro helemosina Franciscus, sed nichil dixit ei, maxime propter recumbentes.

5Postquam aliquantulum comedit beatus Franciscus, accepit de suis helemosinis et unicuique militi et capellanis domini episcopi parum misit ex parte Domini Dei. 6Qui omnes pariter cum multa devotione acceperunt, alii comedentes, alii reponentes propter eius devotionem. 7Immo extrahebant sibi infulas propter devotionem sancti Francisci cum accipiebant helemosinas. 8Et gavisus est inde dominus episcopus propter devotionem illorum, maxime quia ille helemosine non erant de pane triticeo.

9Post comestionem vero surrexit dominus episcopus et intravit cameram suam ducens secum beatum, Franciscum, et elevans brachia sua amplexatus est beatum Franciscum pre nimio gaudio et exultatione dicens ei: 10« Cur, frater mi simplizone, fecisti michi verecundiam, ut in domo mea, que est domus fratrum tuorum, ires pro helemosinis? ».

11Respondit ei beatus Franciscus: « Immo, domine, exhibui vobis magnum honorem, quoniam cum subditus exercet et implet suum officium et obedientiam sui domini, facit honorem domino suo et eius prelato ».

12Et ait ei: « Me oportet esse formam et exemplum pauperum vestrorum, maxime quia scio quod in vita et in Religione fratrum sunt et erunt nomine et opere fratres Minores, qui propter amorem Domini Dei et Spiritus Sancti unctionem, qui docet et docebit eos de omnibus, humiliabuntur ad omnem humilitatem, subiectionem et servitium fratrum suorum. 13Sunt etiam et erunt de illis qui aut verecundia detenti et propter malum exemplum dedignantur et dedignabuntur se humiliare et inclinare ad eundum pro helemosinis et facere huiusmodi servilia opera.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 200

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