The Legend of the Three Companions - 82 

One day, when he noticed what the priest was preparing for him, he said to himself: "Will you find a priest like this wherever you go who will offer you such human kindness? This is not the life of the poor that you have chosen. As a beggar, going from door to door, you should carry a bowl in your hand, and, driven by necessity, you should collect the scraps they give you. This is how you must live willingly, out of love for him who was born poor, lived very poorly in this world, remained naked and poor on the cross, and was buried in a tomb belonging to another."

As a result, one day he took a bowl and, entering the city, he went door-to-door begging alms. Whenever he put various scraps in his bowl, many who knew what a pampered life he had lived were astonished at how marvelously changed he was, seeing that he held himself in such contempt. But when he wanted to eat the mixed food offered him, he felt revulsion because he was not accustomed not only to eating such things, but even at looking at them. At last overcoming himself, he began to eat, and it seemed to him that no delicacy had ever tasted so delicious.

Then his heart rejoiced in the Lord so much that his flesh, although weak and afflicted, was strong enough to endure joyfully for the Lord anything harsh or bitter. Above all, he gave thanks to God that He had changed the bitter into the sweet, and that He had comforted him in so many ways. Then he told the priest not to prepare or obtain any food for him in the future.

23When his father saw him in such disgrace, he was filled with unusual pain. Because he loved him dearly, he was ashamed and felt great sorrow for him. Seeing his flesh half-dead from excessive affliction and cold, he would curse him whenever he came upon him.

Aware of his father's curses, the man of God chose a poor and looked-down-upon man to take the place of his father,a and told him: "Come with me, and I will give you some of the alms that were given to me. When you see my father cursing me, I will also say to you: ‘Bless me, father.' You will then make the sign of the cross over me, and bless me in his place." The next time this happened and the beggar was blessing him, the man of God said to his father: "Don't you believe that God can give me a father to bless me against your curses?"

Afterwards, many of those who mocked him and saw how patiently he endured every abuse marveled with great astonishment. One winter morning, while he was at prayer, dressed in poor clothes,




Legenda Trium Sociorum, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1395-1396

3Cum autem die quadam advertisset quod faciebat sacerdos pro ipso, ad se conversus ait: « Invenies tu hunc sacerdotem quocumque ieris qui tibi tantam praestet humanitatem? 4Non est haec vita pauperis hominis quam eligere voluisti. 5Sed, sicut pauper vadens ostiatim portat in manu paropsidem, et necessitate coactus diversa in ea cibaria coadunat, ita voluntarie oportet te vivere, amore illius qui pauper natus pauperrimus vixit in saeculo ac remansit nudus et pauper in patibulo sepultusque in alieno sepulcro ».

6Surgens igitur quadam die accepit paropsidem, et ingressus civitatem ivit petendo eleemosynam ostiatim. 7Cumque diversa cibaria poneret in scutella, mirabantur multi qui sciebant eum tam delicate vixisse, videntes ipsum ad tantum sui contemptum sic mirabiliter transmutatum. 8Quando autem voluit comedere illa diversa cibaria simul posita, horruit primo quia non solum comedere sed nec velle videre talia consueverat. 9Tandem vincens seipsum coepit comedere, et visum est illi quod in comedendo aliquod electuarium nunquam sic fuerit delectatus.

10Proinde tantum cor eius in Domino exultavit quod caro ipsius, licet debilis et afflicta, corroborata est ad quaecumque aspera et amara laetanter pro Domino toleranda. 11Gratias insuper egit Deo quod amarum sibi in dulce mutaverat et eum multipliciter confortaverat. 12Dixit ergo illi presbytero quod de cetero pro se aliqua cibaria non faceret nec fieri procuraret.

23 1Pater vero ipsius videns eum in tanta vilitate positum dolore nimio replebatur. 2Quia enim multum dilexerat ipsum, verecundabatur et dolebat tantum super eum, videns carnem illius quasi mortuam ex afflictione nimia et algore, quod ubicumque reperiebat ipsum maledicebat ei.

3Vir autem Dei, maledictiones patris attendens, hominem quemdam pauperculum et despectum assumpsit sibi in patrem et ait illi: « Veni mecum et dabo tibi de eleemosynis quae mihi dabuntur. 4Cum autem videris patrem meum maledicentem mihi, ego quoque dixero tibi: benedic mihi, pater. Signabis me ac benedices mihi vice illius ». 5Sic igitur benedicente sibi paupere illo, dicebat vir Dei ad patrem: « Non credis quod Deus possit mihi dare patrem benedicentem mihi contra maledictiones tuas? ».

6Praeterea multi deridentes eum videntesque ipsum sic derisum patienter omnia sustinere stupore nimio mirabantur. 7Unde, tempore hiemali cum orationi quodam mane insisteret contectus pauperculis indumentis,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 82