The Assisi Compilation - 214 

[108]
[HE SENDS THE BROTHERS ON MISSION FROM THE PORTIUNCULA; HOW HE
DECIDES TO GO TO FRANCE; HIS DEVOTION TO THE BODY OF CHRIST; BROTHER SYLVESTER CASTS OUT DEMONS AT AREZZO; CARDINALHUGOLINO SENDS HIM BACK FROM FLORENCE]

At the time of the general chapter celebrated in that same place, in which the brothers were sent for the first time to regions overseas, when the chapter had ended, blessed Francis staying in that same place with a few brothers, said to them: "Dearest brothers, I must be a model and example to all the brothers. If therefore I send my brothers into far distant countries where they will endure toil, shame, hunger, and many other types of need, it seems to me to be just and good that I also go to some far distant region, especially so that the brothers may be able to bear their needs and trials more patiently when they hear that I am also undergoing the same thing."

And he said to them: "Therefore go and ask the Lord that He may allow me to choose that region which will give more praise to the Lord and for the profit and salvation of souls and good example to our religion."

It was the custom of our most holy father to pray to the Lord, and to send his brothers to pray, not only when he was going to a far away region to preach, but also when he went to nearby regions, so that the Lord might direct his heart to go wherever it seemed best to God.

The brothers, therefore, went off to pray and when their prayer was finished they returned to him. He said to them: "In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, of his glorious Virgin Mother and of all the saints, I choose the region of France, in which there is a Catholic people, especially because of the other Catholics of the holy Church. They show great reverence to the Body of Christ, which pleases me very much. Because of this, I will gladly live among them."

Now blessed Francis had such reverence and devotion to the Body of Christ, that he wanted it written in the Rule that the brothers in the regions where they stay should take care and be concerned about this, and should admonish and preach about this to clerics and priests, so that they place the Body of Christ in a good and fitting place ; and, if they did not do so, he wanted the brothers to do so.

In fact one time he wanted to send some brothers through every region with pyxes and wherever they found the Body of Christ placed illicitly, they were to place It honorably in them. Out of reverence for the most holy Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, he wanted it placed in the Rule that, wherever the brothers find the written words and name of the Lord by which the most holy sacrament is confected,

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Compilatio Assisiensis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1655-1658


[108]

1Tempore illius capituli celebrati in eodem loco, in quo fratres primo missi fuerunt ad quasdam provincias ultramarinas, finito capitulo, beatus Franciscus, remanens in predicto loco cum quibusdam fratribus, dixit ad illos: 2« Carissimi fratres, me oportet esse formam et exemplum omnium fratrum. 3Si ergo misi fratres meos in longinquis partibus ad laborem et verecundiam, ad famem et alias quamplurimas necessitates sustinendas, iustum est et bonum michi videtur, ut et ego similiter vadam ad aliquam longinquam provinciam, 4maxime ut fratres suas necessitates et tribulationes magis patienter valeant sustinere, cum audierint illud idem me supportare ».

5Et ait illis: « Ite ergo et orate Dominum, ut det michi eligere illam provinciam, que sit magis ad laudem Domini et ad profectum et salutem animarum et nostre Religionis bonum exemplum ».

6Nam mos erat sanctissimi patris, non solum cum ad longinquam provinciam iret ad predicandum, sed etiam cum iret per adiacentes provincias, orare Dominum et fratres ad orandum mittere, ut ubicumque esset melius secundum Deum, Dominus dirigeret cor suum ad ambulandum illuc.

7Iverunt ergo fratres ad orationem et, oratione finita, reversi sunt ad eum. 8Qui dixit ad illos: « In nomine Domini nostri Iesu Christi et eius gloriose Virginis matris et omnium sanctorum, eligo provinciam Francie, in qua est catholica gens, maxime quia inter alios catholicos sancte Ecclesie reverentiam magnam exhibent Corpori Christi: quod michi plurimum gratum est. 9Propter quod libentius cum illis conversabor ».

10Nam beatus Franciscus tantam reverentiam et devotionem habebat in Corpore Christi, quod voluit scribi in Regula, ut fratres in provinciis, quibus morarentur, curam et sollicitudinem inde haberent, 11et admonerent et predicarent inde clericos et sacerdotes, ut Corpus Christi in loco bono et honesto collocarent; 12quod, si non facerent, volebat quod fratres illud agerent.

13Immo quodam tempore voluit mittere quosdam fratres cum pixidibus per universas provincias, et ubicumque invenirent Corpus Christi illicite collocatum, illud honorifice in ipsis collocarent. 14Nam propter reverentiam sanctissimi Corporis et Sanguinis Domini Iesu Christi voluit similiter poni in Regula, 15ut verba et nomina Domini inscripta, per que conficitur Sanctissimum Sacramentum, fratres ubicumque invenirent

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 214

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