The Assisi Compilation - 209 

When that brother novice described above was staying in a certain hermitage, blessed Francis one day happened to come there. That brother said to him: "Father, it would be a great consolation for me to have a psalter. But, although the general minister has given me permission to have it, I still want to have it with your knowledge."

Blessed Francis gave him this sort of response: "The Emperor Charles, Roland, and Oliver, and all the paladins and valiant knights who were mighty in battle, pursuing unbelievers with great toil and fatigue even to death, had a glorious and memorable victory for themselves, and, finally, died in battle fighting as holy martyrs for the faith in Christ. And there are many who want to receive honor and praise by only relating what they did."

And because of this he wrote the meaning of these words in his Admonitions, saying: "The saints have done these deeds, and we want to receive honor and glory by recounting and preaching about them," as if to say: "Knowledge puffs up, but charity builds. "

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[THE SAME NOVICE ASKS AGAIN: "A BREVIARY, A BREVIARY!"]

Another time, when blessed Francis was sitting near a fire, warming himself, the same one spoke to him again about a psalter. And blessed Francis told him: "After you have a psalter, you will desire and want to have a breviary; after you have a breviary, you will sit in a fancy chair, like a great prelate telling your brother: 'Bring me the breviary.'" And speaking in this way with great intensity of spirit, he took some ashes in his hand, put them on his head rubbing them around his head as though he were washing it, saying: "I, a breviary! I, a breviary!" He spoke this way many times, passing his hand over his head. The brother was stunned and ashamed.

Afterwards blessed Francis said to him: "Brother, I was likewise tempted to have books. But, in order to know God's will about this, I took the book, where the Lord's Gospels are written, and prayed to the Lord to deign to show it to me at the first opening of the book. After my prayer was ended, on the first opening of the holy Gospel this verse of the holy Gospel came to me: To you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God, but to the others all things are treated in parables."

And he said: "There are many who willingly climb to the heights of knowledge; that person be blessed who renounces it for the love of God."

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Compilatio Assisiensis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1644-1646


21Cumque ille frater novitius, de quo supra dictum est in quodam heremitorio moraretur, accidit ut quadam die veniret illuc beatus Franciscus. 22Cui frater ille sic locutus est, ei dicens: « Pater, michi magna consolatio esset habere psalterium; sed licet generalis minister illud concedere michi velit, volo tamen illud habere de conscientia tua ».

23Cui beatus Franciscus tale responsum dedit dicens: « Carolus imperator, Rolandus et Oliverius et omnes paladini et robusti viri, qui potentes fuerunt in prelio, persequentes infideles cum multo sudore et labore usque ad mortem habuerunt de illis gloriosam et memorialem victoriam et ad ultimum ipsi sancti martyres mortui sunt pro fide Christi in certamine; 24et multi sunt qui sola narratione eorum, que illi fecerunt, volunt recipere honorem et humanam laudem ».

25Et propter hoc scripsit significationem horum verborum in suis Admonitionibus dicens: « Sancti fecerunt opera, et nos, recitando et predicando ea, volumus inde recipere honorem et gloriam ». 26Ac si diceret: scientia inflat, caritas autem hedificat.

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1Alia vice, cum sederet beatus Franciscus ad ignem, [calefaceret] se, et ipse locutus est et iterum de psalterio. 2Et dixit ad eum beatus Franciscus: « Postquam habueris psalterium, concupisces et voles habere breviarium; 3postquam habueris breviarium, sedebis in cathedra, tamquam magnus prelatus dicens fratri tuo: Apporta michi breviarium ». 4Et sic dicens cum magno fervore spiritus tulit cum manu de cinere et posuit super caput, ducendo [manum per caput in circuitu tamquam qui lavat caput, sic dicens], sibi ipsi: « Ego breviarium! ego breviarium! ». 5Et sic dicens multotiens reiteravit ducendo manum per caput. 6Et stupefactus et verecundatus est frater ille.

7Postea dixit ei beatus Franciscus: « Frater, ego similiter temptatus fui habere libros; 8sed ut de hoc cognoscerem Domini voluntatem, tuli librum, ubi erant Evangelia Domini scripta et oravi Dominum ut in prima apertione libri suam voluntatem de hiis michi ostendere dignaretur; 9et oratione finita in prima apertione libri occurrit michi illud verbum sancti Evangelii: Vobis datum est nosse mysterium regni Dei, ceteris autem in parabolis ».

10Et ait: « Tot sunt, qui libenter ascendunt ad scientiam, quod beatus erit qui fecerit se sterilem amore Domini Dei ».

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 209

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