The Assisi Compilation - 217 

[109]
[BEFORE A CHAPTER AT THE PORTIUNCULA HE TALKS ABOUT BEING A TRUE LESSER BROTHER WHEN INSULTED]

Once when the time for the chapter of the brothers was approaching, to be held at the church of Saint Mary of the Portiuncula, blessed Francis said to his companion: "It seems to me that I am not a Lesser Brother unless I have the attitude I will tell you." And he said: "The brothers come to me with great devotion and veneration, invite me to the chapter, and, touched by their devotion, I go to the chapter with them. After they assemble, they ask me to proclaim the word of God among them and I rise and preach to them as the Holy Spirit instructs me.

"After the sermon, suppose that they reflect and speak against me: 'We do not want you to rule over us. You are not eloquent and you are too simple. We are very ashamed to have such a simple and contemptible prelate over us. From now on, do not presume to call yourself our prelate.' And so, with insults, they throw me out.

"It seems to me that I am not a Lesser Brother unless I am just as happy when they insult me and throw me out in shame, refusing that I be their prelate, as when they honor and revere me, if in both cases the benefit to them is equal. If I am happy about their benefit and devotion when they praise and honor me, which can be a danger to the soul, it is even more fitting that I should rejoice and be happy at my benefit and the salvation of my soul when they revile me as they throw me out in shame, which is profit for the soul."

[110]
[HE IS CONSOLED AT THE PORTIUNCULA BY SISTER CRICKET]

One time during summer blessed Francis was at that same place, and he stayed in the last cell next to the hedge of the garden behind the house, where, after his death, Brother Raineri, the gardener, stayed. It happened that one day, as he came down from that little cell, there was a cricket within on the branch of the fig tree next to that cell, and he could touch it. Stretching out his hand, he said: "Sister Cricket, come to me." The cricket immediately climbed onto the fingers of his hand, and with a finger of his other hand, he began to touch it, saying: "Sing, my Sister Cricket." It obeyed him at once and began to chirp. This consoled blessed Francis greatly and he praised God. He held it in his hand that way for more than an hour. Afterwards he put it back on the branch of the fig tree from which he had taken it.

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Compilatio Assisiensis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1662-1665


[109]

1Quodam tempore, cum appropinquaret capitulum fratrum, quod debebat fieri apud ecclesiam Sancte Marie de Portiuncula, dixit beatus Franciscus socio suo: « Non videtur michi quod sim frater Minor, nisi essem in statu quem dicam tibi ». 2Et ait: « Ecce fratres cum magna devotione et veneratione veniunt ad me et invitant me ad capitulum, et motus ex devotione ipsorum, vado ad capitulum cum ipsis. 3Et, ipsis congregatis, rogant me ut verbum Dei annuntiem inter ipsos; et surgens predico eis sicut docuerit me Spiritus Sanctus.

4Finita ergo predicatione, ponatur quod considerent et dicant adversus me: 5Nolumus te regnare super nos; non enim es eloquens et es nimis simplex, et nimis verecundamur habere ita simplicem et despectum prelatum super nos; unde de cetero non presumas vocare te nostrum prelatum. 6Et sic eiciunt me vilipendendo.

7« Non igitur videtur michi quod sim frater Minor, si eodem modo non gaudeo, cum me vilipendunt et cum verecundia me eiciunt, nolentes ut sim prelatus eorum, sicut quando honorant et venerantur, eorum profectu utrobique equaliter se habente. 8Nam, si gavisus sum de profectu et devotione ipsorum, cum exaltant me et honorant, ubi periculum anime esse potest, magis convenit quod debeam letari et iocundari de profectu meo et salute anime, cum vituperant me, cum verecundia eiciendo, ubi lucrum est anime ».

[110]

1Quodam tempore in estate, cum esset beatus Franciscus apud eundem locum et maneret in cella ultima iuxta sepem orti retro post domum, ubi post mortem eius manebat frater Rainerius ortolanus, 2accidit ut quadam die, cum descendisset de illa cellula, cicada erat in ramo arboris fici, que erat iuxta eandem cellam, ita quod poterat ipsam tangere. 3Unde, porrigens sibi manum, dixit ad eam: « Veni ad me, soror cicada ». 4Et statim ascendit in digitis manus eius, et cum digito alterius manus cepit tangere cicadam, dicens sibi: « Canta, soror mea cicada ». 5Et statim obedivit ei et cepit canere, et multum inde consolabatur beatus Franciscus et laudabat Deum. 6Et sic per magnam horam tenuit ipsam ita in manu; postea reposuit ipsam in ramo fici, unde ipsam abstulerat.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 217

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