The Assisi Compilation - 204 

The doctor then told him frankly: "According to our assessment, your illness is incurable and you will die either at the end of September or on the fourth day before the Nones of October."a Blessed Francis, while he was lying on his bed sick, with the greatest devotion and reverence for the Lord stretched out his arms and hands with great joy of mind and body and said to his body and soul: "Welcome, my Sister Death!"

[101]b
[HE TELLS BROTHER RICCERIO HIS LAST WISHES;
THE MEANING OF "LESSER BROTHERS."]

Brother Riccerio of the Marches of Ancona, noble by birth and more noble by holiness, was loved by blessed Francis with great affection. One day he came to visit blessed Francis in that palace. Among other points he discussed with blessed Francis about the state of the religion and observance of the Rule, he asked him: "Tell me, Father, when you first began to have brothers, what was your intention? And what is it today, and what do you believe it will be until the day of your death? Because I want to be sure of your intention and of your first and last wish, so that we, cleric brothers who have many books, may keep them although we will say that they belong to the religion?"

Blessed Francis told him: "I tell you, brother, that it has been and is my first and last intention and will, if the brothers would only heed it, that no brother should have anything except a tunic as the Rule allows us, together with a cord and underwear."

Another time, blessed Francis said: "The religion and life of the Lesser Brothers is a little flock, which the Son of God in this very last hour has asked of His heavenly Father, saying: 'Father, I want you to make and give me a new and humble people in this very last hour, who would be unlike all others who preceded them by their humility and poverty, and be content to have me alone.' And the Father said to His beloved Son: 'My Son, Your request has been fulfilled.' "

This is why blessed Francis would say: "Therefore, the Lord has willed that they be called Lesser Brothers, because they are the people whom the Son of God asked of the Father. They are the ones of

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Compilatio Assisiensis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1635-1637


9Dixit er go ad eum medicus manifeste: « Pater, secundum physicam nostram infirmitas tua est incurabilis et aut in fine mensis septembris aut quarto nonas Octobris morieris ». 10Beatus Franciscus cum iaceret in lecto infirmus, cum maxima devotione et reverentia ad Dominum expansis brachiis et manibus cum letitia magna utriusque hominis dixit: « Bene veniat soror mea mors ».

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1Frater Ricerius de Marchia Anconitana, nobilis parentela sed nobilior sanctitate, quem beatus Franciscus magno diligebat affectu, quadam die in eodem palatio visitavit beatum Franciscum. 2Qui inter alia verba que de facto Religionis et observantia Regule locutus cum beato Francisco, de hoc quoque interrogavit ipsum dicens: 3« Dic michi, pater, intentionem tuam quam habuisti a principio quando fratres habere cepisti, et intentionem tuam quam habes modo et credis habere usque ad diem mortis tue, 4ut valeam certificari de tua intentione et voluntate prima et ultima, utrum nos fratres clerici, qui tot libros habemus, possimus habere, licet dicamus quod sint Religionis ».

5Dixit ad eum beatus Franciscus: « Dico tibi, frater, quod hec fuit et est prima et ultima mea intentio et voluntas, si fratres michi credidissent, quod nullus frater deberet habere nisi vestimentum, sicut Regula nostra nobis concedit, cum cingulo et femoralibus ».

6Unde quadam vice dixit: « Religio et vita fratrum Minorum est quidam pusillus grex, quem Filius Dei in hac novissima hora suo Patri celesti postulavit dicens : 7Pater, vellem quod faceres et dares michi quendam novum et humilem populum in hac novissima hora qui esset dissimilis in humilitate et paupertate ab omnibus aliis qui precesserunt et esset contentus habere me solum. 8Et ait Pater dilecto Filio suo: Fili, factum. est quod postulasti ».

9Unde dicebat beatus Franciscus quod « ideo voluit Dominus ut vocarentur fratres Minores, quia iste est populus quem Filius Dei suo Patri postulavit; 10ipsemet Dei Filius de ipsis dicit in Evangelio:

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 204

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