The Assisi Compilation - 219 

[112]
[HE IS SADDENED BY THE BROTHERS' BAD EXAMPLE;
THE LORD ASKS: "TELL ME, WHO FOUNDED THE ORDER OF THE BROTHERS?"]

Noticing and hearing at one time that some brothers were giving a bad example in religion and that the brothers were turning aside from the highest summit of their profession, moved inwardly with sorrow of heart, one time he said to the Lord in prayer: "Lord I give back to you the family You gave me."

And the Lord said to him: "Tell me, why are you so upset when one of the brothers leaves religion and when others do not walk the way I showed you? Also tell me: Who planted the religion of the brothers? Who makes a man convert and to do penance in it? Who gives the strength to persevere in it? Is it not I?"

And it was said to him in spirit: "I did not choose you as a learned or eloquent man to be over my family, but I chose you, a simple man, so that you and the others may know that I will watch over my flock. But I have placed you as a sign to them, so that the works that I work in you, they should see in you, emulate, and do them. Those who walk in my way have me and will have me more abundantly. Those who refuse to walk in my way, that which they seem to have will be taken away from them. Therefore, I tell you, don't be so sad; do what you do, work as you work, for I have planted the religion of the brothers in everlasting love. Know that I love it so much that if any brother, returning to his vomit, dies outside religion I will replace him with another in religion who will have his crown in his place, and supposing that he has not been born, I will have him born. And so that you know that I love the life and religion of the brothers, suppose that in the whole life and religion of the brothers only three brothers remained: I would never abandon it."

These words greatly comforted the mind of blessed Francis, for he was immensely saddened when he heard anything about bad example regarding the brothers.

Although he could not totally restrain himself from becoming sad when he heard of something evil, nevertheless, after being comforted by the Lord in this way, he remembered this and spoke to his companions about it.

Therefore blessed Francis often used to say to the brothers in chapters and also in his words of instruction: "I have sworn and declared to observe the Rule of the brothers and all the brothers also pledged the same. For this reason, after I resigned the office among the brothers, because of my illnesses and for the greater good of my

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Compilatio Assisiensis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1667-1668


[112]

1Unde quodam tempore, considerans et audiens quod aliqui fratrum darent malum exemplum in Religione, et etiam quod fratres declinarent a summo apice professionis sue, 2tactus dolore cordis intrinsecus, quadam vice in oratione dixit ad Dominum: «Domine, tibi recommendo familiam quam dedisti michi ».

3Et dictum fuit ei a Domino: « Dic michi, quare contristaris tantum, cum aliquis fratrum exit de Religione et cum fratres non ambulant per viam quam tibi ostendi? 4Iterum dic michi: quis plantavit fratrum Religionem? Quis converti facit hominem ad faciendum penitentiam in ea? 5Quis dat virtutem perseverandi in ea? Nonne ego? ».

6Et dictum fuit ei in spiritu: « Ego non elegi te pro homine litterato et eloquente super familiam meam, 7sed simplicem te elegi ut scire valeas, tam tu quam alii, quoniam ego vigilabo super gregem meum; sed posui te signaculum ipsis, ut opera, que ego operor in te, ipsi in te debeant [prospicere et ea] operari. 8Qui ambulant per viam meam, habent me et habundantius habebunt. 9Qui vero per viam meam ambulare nolunt, id quod videntur habere auferetur ab eis. 10Quapropter dico tibi, ne tantum contristeris, sed age quod agis, operare quod operaris, quoniam in caritate perpetua plantavi fratrum Religionem. 11Unde scias quoniam tantum diligo ipsam quod, si aliquis fratrum, reversus ad vomitum, morietur extra Religionem, alium remittam in Religione, ut vice ipsius habeat coronam eius; 12et ponatur, quod non esset natus, faciam ipsum nasci. 13Et ut scias, quoniam vitam et Religionem fratrum spontanee diligo, ponatur quod in tota vita et Religione fratrum non remanerent nisi tres fratres, in perpetuum non relinquam ».

14Et alloquens eius animum consolatus est beatus Franciscus in hiis verbis, eo quod ultra modum contristabatur, cum audiret de fratribus aliquod malum exemplum.

15Et, licet se continere ex toto non posset, ut non contristaretur cum audiret aliquod malum, tamen, postquam a Domino taliter est confortatus, revocabat illud ad memoriam et dicebat cum sociis suis.

16Unde sepe dicebat beatus Franciscus fratribus in capitulis et etiam in collatione verborum suorum: « Ego iuravi et statui fratrum Regulam observare et fratres omnes similiter ad hoc se obligaverunt; 17quapropter, ex quo dimisi officium fratrum, de cetero, propter infirmitates meas et pro maiori utilitate anime mee et omnium fratrum,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 219

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