The Legend of the Three Companions - 86 

29Once they had finished prayer, blessed Francis took the closed book and, kneeling before the altar, opened it.a At its first opening, the Lord's counsel confronted them: If you wish to be perfect, go, sell everything you possess and give to the poor, and you will have a treasure in heaven. Mk 10:21

Blessed Francis was overjoyed when he read this passage and thanked God. But since he was a true worshiper of the Trinity, he desired it to be confirmed by a threefold affirmation. He opened the book a second and a third time. When he opened it up the second time he saw: Take nothing for your journey, Lk 9:3 etc., and at the third opening: If any man wishes to come after me, he must deny himself, Mt 16:24 etc.

Each time he opened the book, blessed Francis thanked God for confirming his plan and the desire he had conceived earlier. After the third divine confirmation was pointed out and explained, he said to those men, Bernard and Peter: "Brothers, this is our life and rule and that of all who will want to join our company. Go, therefore, and fulfill what you have heard."

Then Lord Bernard, who was very rich, after selling all he had and acquiring a large sum of money, went and distributed it all to the city's poor. Peter likewise followed the divine counsel according to his means.

After getting rid of everything, they both received the habit which the saint had adopted after he put aside the habit of a hermit; and, from that hour, they lived with him according to the form of the holy Gospel as the Lord had shown them. This is why blessed Francis said in his Testament: "The Lord Himself revealed to me that I should live according to the form of the holy Gospel."

Chapter IX
THE VOCATION OF BROTHER SYLVESTER
AND THE VISION HE HAD BEFORE ENTERING THE ORDER

30As we have said, while Lord Bernard was giving all his possessions to the poor, blessed Francis was at his side assisting him, glorifying and praising the Lord in his heart, in awe at the astounding work of the Lord. A priest named Sylvester, from whom the blessed Francis had purchased stones for the repair of the church of San Damiano, came. Seeing so much money being given away on the man of God's advice, he was consumed by a burning passion of greed, and said to him: "Francis, you did not completely pay me for

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Legenda Trium Sociorum, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1401-1403


29 1Oratione autem finita, beatus Franciscus accipiens librum clausum, flexis genibus coram altari aperuit ipsum. 2Et in prima eius apertione occurrit illud consilium Domini: « Si vis perfectus esse, vade et vende omnia quae habes et da pauperibus et habebis thesaurum in caelo ».

3Quo comperto, beatus Franciscus gavisus est valde et gratias, egit Deo. 4Sed quia verus cultor Trinitatis, trino voluit testimonio confirmari. Secundo et tertio librum aperuit . 5Et in secunda apertione occurrit illud: « Nihil tuleritis in via, etc. ». 6In tertia vero illud: « Qui vult venire post me abneget semetipsum, etc. ».

7Beatus ergo Franciscus, in qualibet apertione libri gratiis Deo exhibitis pro confirmatione sui propositi et desiderii dudum concepti tertio divinitus sibi exhibita et monstrata, dixit praedictis viris, scilicet Bernardo et Petro: 8 « Fratres, haec est vita et regula nostra et omnium qui voluerint nostrae societati coniungi. Ite igitur, et sicut audistis implete ».

9Abiit itaque dominus Bernardus qui erat dives valde, et venditis omnibus quae habuerat multaque pecunia congregata, pauperibus civitatis distribuit universa. 10Petrus etiam pro posse divinum consilium adimplevit,

11Distractis autem omnibus, habitum, quem paulo ante sanctus assumpserat postquam reliquit heremiticum habitum, ambo pariter susceperunt, et ab illa hora simul cum ipso vixerunt secundum formam sancti evangelii a Domino illis ostensam. 12Et ideo beatus Franciscus dixit in testamento suo: « Ipse Dominus mihi revelavit ut deberem vivere secundum formam sancti evangelii ».

Caput IX
De modo vocationis fratris Sylvestri
et de visione quam habuit ante ingressum ordinis.

30 1Cum autem, ut dictum est, dominus Bernardus bona sua pauperibus largiretur, aderat beatus Franciscus intuens virtuosam operationem Domini, et ipsum Dominum in corde suo glorificans et collaudans. 2Venit autem quidam sacerdos, nomine Sylvester, a quo beatus Franciscus emerat lapides pro reparatione ecclesiae Sancti Damiani, et videns totam pecuniam expendi consilio viri Dei, cupiditatis igne succensus, dixit ad eum: « Francisce, non bene solvisti mihi pro lapidibus quos emisti a me ».

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 86

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