The Assisi Compilation - 229 

[120]
[HIS DEVOUT WAY OF PRAYING THE DIVINE OFFICE
 AND HIS EFFORTS TO PRESERVE JOY OF SPIRIT]

One time, when he was returning from the City, after staying with the Lord Cardinal Leo for a few days, it rained the whole day as he was leaving the City. Since he was very sick, he was riding on horseback, but he got off his horse to say his Hours, standing on the roadside despite the rain which completely soaked him.

He said: "If the body wants to eat its food in peace and quiet, and both it and the body eventually will become food for worms, in what peace and quiet should the soul receive its food, which is God Himself!"

And he used to say: "The devil is delighted when he can extinguish or prevent devotion and joy in the heart of a servant of God which spring from clean prayer and other good works. For if the devil can have something of his own in a servant of God, he will in a short time make a single hair into a beam, always making it bigger, unless the servant of God is wise, removing and destroying it as quickly as possible by means of contrition and confession and works of satisfaction."

He said: "In eating, sleeping, and other necessities, the servant of God must satisfy the body with discernment, so that Brother Body cannot grumble, saying: 'Because you do not satisfy me, I cannot stand up straight and persevere in prayer, or rejoice in tribulations, or do other good works.' "

He also used to say: "If a servant of God, with discernment, has satisfied his body well enough and as decently as he could, but Brother Body wants to be lazy, negligent, and sleepy in prayer, vigils, and other good works, then he should punish it like any wicked and lazy beast of burden, because it wants to eat but refuses to work or carry its weight.

"If, however, Brother Body cannot have its needs fulfilled whether healthy or sick, because of want or poverty, and after requesting them decently and humbly for the love of God from his brother or his prelate they are not given to him, then let him patiently bear this for the love of God and it will be credited it to him as martyrdom. And because he did what is his to do, making his needs known, he would be excused from sin, even if the body only on this account would become very sick."

Blessed Francis had this as his highest and main goal: he was always careful to have and preserve in himself spiritual joy internally and externally, even though from the beginning of his conversion

 Previous

Next 

 

Compilatio Assisiensis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1687-1690


[120]

1Unde quodam tempore, cum reverteretur ab Urbe, quando scilicet stetit apud dominum Leonem per aliquot dies, illa die qua exivit ab Urbe per totum diem pluit; 2et quia erat tunc valde infirmitius, equitabat; 3sed ad dicendum horas suas. descendit de equo, stans iuxta viam, licet plueret et esset totus balneatus.

4Et ait: « Si cum pace et quiete vult comedere corpus cibum suum, qui cum corpore pariter fit esca vermium, cum quanta pace et quiete deberet anima recipere cibum suum, qui est ipse Deus! ».

5Et dicebat: « Tunc exultat diabolus, cum devotionem et letitiam cordis servi Dei, que provenit ex munda oratione et aliis bonis operibus, extinguere vel impedire potest. 6Nam, si diabolus de suo aliquid in servo Dei habere potest, nisi servus Dei fuerit sapiens et si, quam citius poterit, illud non deleat vel destruat contritione et confessione et operis satisfactione, in brevi tempore de uno capillo facit trabem unam, semper ibi adiciendo ».

7Et ait: « Servus Dei in comedendo, dormiendo et aliis necessitatibus suo corpori cum discretione satisfacere debet, ut frater corpus non valeat murmurare dicens: 8Ego non possum stare erectus et insistere orationi, nec in tribulationibus meis letari et alia bona opera operari, pro eo quod michi non satisfacis ».

9Item dicebat, quod si servus Dei suo corpori cum discretione satisfacit satis bono modo et honeste sicut poterit, 10et frater corpus, in oratione et vigiliis et aliis bonis operibus anime vellet esse pigrum, negligens vel somnolentum, quod ipsum castigare debet tamquam malum et pigrum armentum, quia vult comedere et non vult lucrari, nec honus portare.

11Si vero propter inopiam et paupertatem frater corpus suas necessitates, [in] infirmitate et sanitate habere non potest, dum honeste et cum humilitate fratri suo vel suo prelato illas petierit amore Dei, et sibi non dantur, patienter sustineat amore Domini et sibi a Domino pro martyrio imputabitur. 12Et quoniam fecit quod suum est, videlicet quod petiit suam necessitatem, excusatur a peccato, etiam si corpus inde magis infirmaretur ».

13Et in hoc summum et precipuum studium habuit beatus Franciscus, licet a principio sue conversionis usque ad diem mortis sue valde afflixerit corpus suum, videlicet quod semper fuit sollicitus interius et exterius habere, [et] conservare in se letitiam spiritualem.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 229

Hardcopies Available for Purchase