The Assisi Compilation - 208 

devout prayer. And when they have preached to others or to the people,a and see or learn that some have been edified or converted to penance, they become puffed up or congratulate themselves for someone else's gain. For those whom they think they have edified or converted to penance by their words, the Lord edified and converted by the prayers of holy brothers, although they are ignorant of it. This is the will of God so that they do not take notice of it and become proud.

"These brothers of mine are my knights of the round table,b the brothers who hide in deserted and remote places, to devote themselves more diligently to prayer and meditation, weeping over their sins and those of others, whose holiness is known to God, and is sometimes ignored by the brothers and people. And when their souls will be presented to the Lord by the angels, the Lord will then reveal to them the fruit and reward of their labors, that is, the many souls saved by their prayers, saying to them: 'My sons, behold these souls have been saved by your prayer, and since you were faithful in little things, I will set you over many. Mt 25:21 '"

Because of this, blessed Francis used to say about this passage: The barren one has given birth to many children and the mother of many languishes: the barren one is the good religious who edifies himself and others by his holy prayers and virtues.

He often said these words in a talk in the presence of the brothers, especially during a chapter of the brothers at Saint Mary of the Portiuncula in the presence of the ministers and the other brothers. He therefore instructed the brothers, the ministers as well as preachers, about work, telling them, because of the office of ministry or of their zeal for preaching, that they should not abandon holy and devout prayer, go for alms, and work with hands like the other brothers, for good example and for the benefit of their souls as well as others.

He said: "The brothers who are subjects will be very edified when their ministers and preachers devote themselves freely to prayer, bow down, and humble themselves."

Therefore that faithful disciple of Christ, while he was in good health, practiced what he taught the brothers.

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Compilatio Assisiensis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1642-1644


et devotam orationem. 11Et cum aliquibus vel populo predicaverint et viderint vel noverint aliquos inde hedificari vel ad penitentiam converti, inflantur vel se extollunt de operibus et lucro alieno, 12quoniam quos credunt suis verbis hedificari vel ad penitentiam converti, Dominus hedificat et convertit orationibus sanctorum fratrum, licet id ipsi ignorent, quia sic est voluntas Dei ut illud ne advertant, non inde superbiant.

13Isti sunt fratres mei milites tabule rotunde, qui latitant in desertis et in remotis locis, ut diligentius vacent orationi et meditationi, sua et aliorum peccata plorantes, quorum sanctitas a Deo cognoscitur, aliquando a fratribus et ab hominibus ignoratur. 14Et cum anime ipsorum ab angelis Domino representabuntur, tunc Dominus ostendet illis fructum et mercedem laborum suorum, videlicet multas animas que suis orationibus salvate sunt, dicens illis: 15Filii, ecce tales anime salvate sunt vestris orationibus, et quia super pauca fuistis fideles, supra multa vos constituam ».

16Unde propter hoc dicebat beatus Franciscus super illo verbo: Donec sterilis peperit plurimos et que multos ha[bebat] filios infirmata est, sterilem esse dicebat bonum religiosum, qui sanctis orationibus et virtutibus se et alios hedificat.

17Hec verba sepe dicebat coram fratribus in collatione verborum suorum, et maxime ad capitulum fratrum apud ecclesiam sancte Marie de Portiuncula coram ministris et aliis fratribus. 18Unde omnes fratres, tam ministros quam predicatores, informabat ad opera dicens eis quod propter prelationem et officium et sollicitudinem predicandi omnino non deberent dimittere sanctam et devotam orationem, ire pro helemosina, et operari manibus suis sicut alii fratres, propter bonum exemplum et lucrum animarum suarum et aliorum.

19Et dicebat: « Multum hedificantur fratres subditi cum eorum ministri et predicatores vacant libenter orationi et inclinant se et humiliantur ».

20Unde ipse tamquam fidelis zelator Christi, dum corpore fuit sanus, operabatur in se, quod docebat fratres suos.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 208

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