The Assisi Compilation - 220 

soul and those of all the brothers, from now on I am bound in regard to the brothers only to show good example.

"I learned that from the Lord and know in truth that even if my illness had excused me, the greatest help I can render to the religion of the brothers is to spend time in prayer to the Lord for it everyday, that He govern, preserve, protect, and defend it. I have pledged myself to this, to the Lord and to the brothers, that if any one of the brothers perishes because of my bad example, I will be held to render an account to the Lord."

And even though from time to time a brother would tell him that he should occasionally put himself forward in the affairs of the religion, he used to reply with words like these: "The brothers have their Rule, and furthermore have sworn to it. And so that they have no excuse, after it pleased the Lord to decide that I would be their prelate, I also swore to it in their presence and I want to observe it to the end. So, since the brothers already know what they should do and what to avoid, the only thing left for me to do is to teach them by actions, because this is why I have been given to them during my life and after my death. 

[113]
[HE IS ASHAMED TO MEET SOMEONE POORER THAN HIMSELF]

It happened once when blessed Francis was going about preaching in some region he met a poor man. Noticing his dire poverty, he said to his companion: "This man's poverty brings great shame on us; it passes judgment on our poverty."

"How so, brother?" his companion replied. "I am greatly ashamed," he answered, when I find someone poorer than myself. I chose holy poverty as my Lady, my delight and my riches of spirit and body. And the whole world has heard this news, that I professed poverty before God and people. Therefore I ought to be ashamed when I come upon someone poorer than myself."

[114]
[HE CORRECTS A BROTHER WHO RASHLY JUDGED A POOR MAN]

When blessed Francis went to a hermitage of the brothers near Rocca di Brizio to preach to the people of that region, it happened that on the very day that he was to preach, a poor sick man came to him. When he saw him and noticed his poverty and illness, he was moved to piety for him and he began to speak to his companion

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Compilatio Assisiensis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1668-1671


propter infirmitates meas et pro maiori utilitate anime mee et omnium fratrum, non teneor fratribus nisi exhibere bonum exemplum.

18Nam illud a Domino reperi et scio in veritate quoniam, etiam si infirmitas non me excusaret, maius adiutorium quod fratrum Religioni impendere possim, est ut cotidie vacem orationi pro ea ad Dominum, ut ipsam gubernet, conservet, protegat et defendat. 19Nam in hoc me Domino et fratribus obligavi, videlicet ut, si aliquis fratrum meo malo exemplo perierit, volo teneri Domino reddere rationem ».

20Unde, licet aliquis fratrum aliquando diceret ei, ut deberet aliquando se intromittere de facto Religionis, ipse talia verba respondebat, dicens: 21 « Fratres habent Regulam suam, insuper et iuraverunt; et ut non habeant excusationem, postquam Domino placuit me statuere ut essem prelatus eorum, coram ipsis eam similiter iuravi et volo usque in finem observare. 22Unde, ex quo fratres sciunt quid facere debeant quidve etiam evitare, non restat nisi ut operibus doceam ipsos, quoniam ad hoc datus sum ipsis in vita mea et post mortem meam ».

[113]

1Quodam tempore, cum iret beatus Franciscus per quadam provinciam predicando, accidit ut obviaret cuidam pauperculo homini; et, dum consideraret magnam eius paupertatem, dixit socio suo: 2« Magnam verecundiam intulit nobis paupertas istius et multum, reprehendit paupertatem nostram ».

3Respondit socius eius et dixit ei: « Quomodo, frater? ». 4At ille: « Magna verecundia est michi, cum invenio aliquem qui sit pauperior me, cum sanctam paupertatem elegerim pro mea domina et pro meis deliciis et divitiis spiritualibus et corporalibus; 5et vox ista insonuerit toti mundo, scilicet quod professus sum paupertatem coram Deo et hominibus. 6Quapropter debeo inde verecundari, cum invenio aliquem hominem qui sit pauperior me ».

[114]

1Cum beatus Franciscus ivisset ad quoddam heremitorium fratrum prope Roccam Britii, occasione predicandi hominibus illius provincie, accidit in illa die, qua debebat ibidem predicare, quod quidam homo pauperculus et infirmitius venit ad eum. 2Et, cum videret ipsum, cepit considerare paupertatem et infirmitatem eius, ita quod motus pietate, visa paupertate et infirmitate eius, cepit dicere cum socio suo de nuditate et infirmitate eius, illi compatiendo.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 220

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