The Assisi Compilation - 206 

brothers, he did not want to argue with them; but he complied with their wish, although not willingly, and excused himself before the Lord. But, that the word of the Lord, which He put in his mouth for the good of the brothers, would not return to Him empty, he wanted to fulfill it in himself, so that he might then obtain a reward from the Lord. And at last he found peace in this and his spirit was comforted.

[102]
[A MINISTER ASKS ABOUT BOOKS; THE MINISTERS REMOVE
THE CHAPTER IN THE RULE ABOUT POVERTY]

At the time when he returned from overseas, a minister spoke with him about the chapter on poverty. He wanted to know his will and understanding, especially since at the time a chapter had been written in the Rule from prohibitions of the holy Gospel:Take nothing with you on the journey, etc.

And blessed Francis answered: "I want to understand it in this way, that the brothers should have nothing except a tunic with a cord and underwear, as contained in the Rule, and those compelled by necessity, may have shoes." And the minister said to him: "What shall I do, for I have so many books worth more than fifty pounds?"

He said this because he wanted to hold on to them with a clear conscience, most especially because he had a qualm of conscience about keeping so many books when he knew blessed Francis strictly interpreted the chapter on poverty.

"Brother," blessed Francis said to him, "I cannot and must not go against my own conscience and the perfection of the holy Gospel which we have professed." Hearing this, the minister became sad. Seeing how disturbed he was, blessed Francis said to him with intensity of spirit, intending this for all the brothers: "You, Lesser Brothers, want to be seen as and called observers of the holy Gospel, but in your deeds you want to have money bags."

Although the ministers knew that, according to the Rule of the brothers they were bound to observe the holy Gospel, they nevertheless had that chapter of the Rule where it says "Take nothing for your journey, etc." removed, believing, despite it, that they were not obliged to observance of the perfection of the holy Gospel.

Knowing this through the light of the Holy Spirit, blessed Francis said in the presence of some brothers: "The brother ministers think they can deceive God and me." Then he said: "Indeed, that all the brothers may know that they are bound to observe the perfection of the holy Gospel, I want it written at the beginning and at the end of

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Compilatio Assisiensis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1638-1640


Et quia plurimum timebat scandalum in se et in fratribus, nolebat cum ipsis contendere; sed condescendebat, licet non voluntarie, voluntati eorum, et coram Domino se excusabat. 28Sed, ut non reverteretur ad Dominum vacuum verbum l suum, quod in ore eius ponebat m pro utilitate fratrum, volebat in se implere, ut mercedem inde a Domino consequeretur, et ad ultimum in hoc quiescebat, et consolabatur spiritus eius.  

[102]

1Unde quodam tempore, quando de ultramarinis partibus reversus fuit, quidam minister loquebatur secum de capitulo paupertatis, volens inde cognoscere suam voluntatem et intellectum, 2maxime quia tunc erat scriptum in Regula quoddam capitulum de prohibitionibus sancti Evangelii, videlicet: Nichil tuleritis in via etc.

3Et respondit beatus Franciscus: « Ego sic intelligere volo, quod fratres nichil debeant habere nisi vestimentum cum corda et femoralibus, sicut in Regula continetur, et qui necessitate coguntur, calciamenta ». 4Et dixit ad eum minister: « Quid faciam ego, quoniam habeo tot libros, qui valent magis quinquaginta libris? ».

5Hoc autem dixit quia volebat eos habere de conscientia sua, maxime quia cum, reprehensione tot libros [habebat] cum sciret beatum, Franciscum ita stricte intelligere capitulum paupertatis.

6Dixit ad eum beatus Franciscus: « Frater, nec possum nec debeo venire contra conscientiam meam et professionem sancti Evangelii, quam professi sumus ». 7Audiens hoc minister effectus est tristis. 8Videns autem beatus Franciscus illum esse ita turbatum, cum fervore spiritus dixit ad eum in persona omnium fratrum: 9« Vos fratres Minores ab hominibus vultis videri et vocari observatores sancti Evangelii et operibus vultis habere loculos. ».

10Verum licet ministri scirent, quod secundum Regulam fratrum tenerentur sanctum Evangelium observare, tamen fecerunt removeri illud capitulum de Regula ubi dicebatur: Nichil tuleritis in via etc.; 11credentes nichilominus se non teneri ad observationem perfectionis sancti Evangelii.

12Quapropter beatus Franciscus cognoscens hoc per Spiritum Sanctum coram quibusdam fratribus dixit: « Putant fratres ministri Deum et me decipere ». 13Et ait: « Immo ut sciant et cognoscant omnes fratres se teneri ad observandam perfectionem sancti Evangelii, in principio et in fine Regule volo quod sit scriptum quod fratres teneantur sanctum Evangelium Domini nostri Iesu Christi observare.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 206

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