The Assisi Compilation - 221 

about the man's nakedness and illness. "It is true, brother," his companion said to him, "that he is poor, but perhaps there is no one in the whole province who desires riches more."

Blessed Francis rebuked him for not speaking well and he admitted his fault. Blessed Francis told him: "Do you want to do the penance I will tell you?" "Willingly" he replied. "Go, strip off your tunic," he said, "and go to that poor man naked, throw yourself at his feet, and tell him how you sinned against him, how you slandered him, and ask him to pray for you that God may forgive you."

So he went and did everything blessed Francis had told him. When he finished, he got up, put on his tunic, and returned to blessed Francis. And blessed Francis said to him: "Do you want me to tell you how you sinned against him, and even against Christ?"

And he said: "Whenever you see a poor person you ought to consider Him in whose name he comes, that is, Christ, who came to take on our poverty and weakness. This man's poverty and weakness is a mirror for us in which we should see and consider lovingly the poverty and weakness of our Lord Jesus Christ which He endured in His body for the salvation of the human race."

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[A STRATEGY FOR CONVERTING THE ROBBERS OF BORGO SAN SEPOLCRO]

At one time robbers used to come sometimes to the hermitage of the brothers above Borgo San Sepolcro to ask the brothers for bread.a They hid in the thick forest of that region, coming out from time to time to rob travelers on the streets and footpaths. Some of the brothers of that place said: "It is not right to give them alms because they are robbers and they do many very great evil things to people." Others, taking into consideration that they begged humbly and were compelled by great necessity, used to give them alms sometimes, always admonishing them to be converted to penance.

Meanwhile blessed Francis arrived at that place. The brothers asked him whether they should give them bread, or not. "If you do as I tell you," blessed Francis told them, "I trust in the Lord that you will win their souls. Go get some good bread and good wine and take it to them in the woods where you know they are staying, and cry out: 'Come, Brother Robbers, come to us, because we are brothers and we are bringing you some good bread and good wine.' They will immediately come to you. Then you spread out a table cloth on the ground,

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Compilatio Assisiensis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1671-1673


cepit dicere cum socio suo de nuditate et infirmitate eius, illi compatiendo. 3Et dixit socius eius ad eum: « Frater, verum est quod iste satis pauper est, sed forsitan in tota provincia non est voluntate ditior illo ».

4Et reprehendit illum beatus Franciscus quod non bene dixisset, ita quod inde dixit suam culpam. 5Et ait ei beatus Franciscus: « Vis inde penitentiam facere quam dixero tibi? ». Et respondit: « Libenter ». 6Et dixit ei: « Vade et exue te tunicam tuam, et vade nudus coram paupere, et proice te ad pedes eius, et dicas ei quomodo peccasti in ipso, quoniam detraxisti ei; 7et dicas ei ut oret pro te, ut Deus tibi indulgeat ».

8Ivit ergo ille et fecit omnia sicut dixerat ei beatus Franciscus; quo facto, elevavit se et induit se tunicam, et reversus est ad beatum Franciscum. 9Et ait ad eum beatus Franciscus: « Vis ut dicam tibi, quomodo peccasti in illo, immo in Christo? ».

10Et ait: « Cum vides pauperem debes considerare illum in cuius nomine venit, videlicet Christum, qui nostram paupertatem et infirmitatem assumere venit; 11nam paupertas et infirmitas istius est quoddam speculum nobis, per quod speculari et considerare cum pietate debemus paupertatem et infirmitatem Domini nostri Iesu Christi quas in suo corpore pertulit pro salvatione humani generis ».

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1Quodam tempore in quodam heremitorio fratrum super Burgum Sancti Sepulchri veniebant aliquando latrones ad querendum panem fratribus, eo quod in illa provincia in magnis silvis latitabant et aliquando exibant foras in strata et in viis ad expoliandum homines. 2Unde quidam fratres de loco dicebant: « Non est bonum dare illis helemosinas, maxime cum sint latrones et hominibus faciant tot et tanta mala ». 3Alii, considerantes quod humiliter peterent et ex magna necessitate, qua compellebantur, aliquando dabant illis, semper admonendo eos, ut ad penitentiam converterentur.

4Interim beatus Franciscus advenit ad locum illum; quem fratres de hoc interrogaverunt, utrum scilicet darent illis de pane, an non. 5Dixit eis beatus Franciscus: « Si feceritis sicut dixero vobis, confido in Domino a quod lucrabimini animas illorum». 6Et ait illis: « Ite, acquirite de bono pane et bono vino, et deferte eis in silva, ubi ipsos scitis conversari, acclamantes et dicentes: 7Fratres latrones, venite ad nos, quia fratres sumus et apportamus vobis bonum panem et bonum vinum. 8Illi statim ad vos venient, et vos extendite toaleam in terra,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 221

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