The Assisi Compilation - 207 

the Rule that the brothers are bound to observe the holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. And that the brothers may always be without an excuse before God, I want to show with these deeds and always observe, with God's help, what God has placed in my mouth for the welfare and usefulness of my soul and those of my brothers."

Therefore, he observed the holy Gospel to the letter from the day he began to have brothers until the day of his death.

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[THE NOVICE WHO WANTED TO HAVE A PSALTER; A DESCRIPTION OF HIS HOLY BROTHERS]

Likewise, there was once a brother novice who could read the psalter, but not very well. And because he enjoyed reading, he sought permission from the general minister to have a psalter and the minister granted it to him. But he did not wish to have it unless he first had permission from blessed Francis, especially since he had heard that blessed Francis did not want his brothers to be desirous of learning and books, but wanted and preached to the brothers to be eager to have and imitate pure and holy simplicity, holy prayer, and Lady Poverty, on which the holy and first brothers had built. And he believed this to be the more secure path for the soul's well-being.

Not that he despised or disdained holy knowledge. On the contrary, he revered with great feeling those who were knowledgeable in religion, and all knowledgeable persons, as he himself says in his Testament: "We must honor all theologians and those who minister the divine words and respect them as those who minister to us spirit and life."

But, foreseeing the future, he knew through the Holy Spirit and even repeated it many times to the brothers, that many brothers, under the pretext of edifying others, would abandon their vocation, that is, pure and holy simplicity, prayer, and our Lady Poverty. And it will happen that, because they will afterwards believe themselves to be more imbued with devotion and enflamed with the love of God because of an understanding of the Scriptures, they will occasionally remain inwardly cold and almost empty. And so, they will be unable to return to their first vocation, especially since they have wasted the time for living according to their calling; and I fear that even what they seem to possess will be taken away from them, because they have lost their vocation.

"There are many," he used to say, "who, day and night, place all their energy and care in knowledge, losing their holy vocation and

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Compilatio Assisiensis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1640-1642


in principio et in fine Regule volo quod sit scriptum quod fratres teneantur sanctum Evangelium Domini nostri Iesu Christi observare. 14Et ut fratres semper sint inexcusabiles coram Deo, que Dominus pro salute et utilitate anime mee et fratrum posuit in ore meo, ex quo ipsis annuntiavi et annuntio, volo ipsis operibus ostendere et, Domino cooperante, ad perpetuum observare ».

15Unde ipse ad litteram sanctum Evangelium observavit a principio, ex quo fratres habere cepit usque ad diem mortis sue.

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1Similiter quodam tempore fuit quidam frater novitius qui sciebat legere psalterium, sed non bene; et quia libenter legebat, impetravit licentiam habendi psalterium a ministro generali et minister concessit sibi. 2Sed ille nolebat illud habere, nisi prius haberet inde licentiam a beato Francisco maxime quia audiverat, quod beatus Franciscus nolebat ut fratres sui essent cupidi de scientia et de libris; 3sed volebat et fratribus predicabat ut studerent habere et imitari puram et sanctam simplicitatem, orationem sanctam et dominam paupertatem, in quibus hedificaverunt sancti et primi fratres, et hanc credebat esse securiorem viam pro salute anime.

4Non ut contemneret et despicere sanctam scientiam; immo eos qui erant sapientes in Religione, et omnes sapientes nimio venerabatur affectu, quemadmodum ipse testatur in Testamento suo dicens: 5 « Omnes theologos et qui ministrant verba divina, debemus honorare et venerari tamquam qui ministrant nobis spiritum et vitam ».

6Sed futura prospiciens cognoscebat per Spiritum Sanctum et etiam multotiens fratribus dixit, quod multi fratres sub occasione hedificandi alios dimittent vocationem suam, videlicet puram et sanctam simplicitatem, orationein sanctam et dominam nostram paupertatem. 7Et accidet illis quod unde crediderunt postea magis imbui devotione et accendi ad amorem Dei propter intellectum scripture, inde occasionaliter remanebunt intus frigidi et quasi vacui; 8et sic ad pristinam vocationem reverti non poterunt, maxime quia amiserunt tempus vivendi secundum vocationem suam; 9et timeo ne id quod videbantur habere auferatur ab eis, quoniam dimiserunt vocationem suam.

10Et dicebat: « Multi sunt qui totum studium suum et sollicitudinem suam die noctuque ponunt in scientia, dimittentes vocationem suam sanctam, et devotam orationem.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 207

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