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 The Legend of the Three Companions - 88 

treasure in the evangelical field of Lady Poverty, for whose love they gladly and willingly disdained all worldly things as dung.

The saint told Brother Giles: "Our religion will be like a fisherman who casts his nets into the water catching a great number of fish, and, leaving the small ones in the water, he puts the large ones into his basket." Thus he prophesied that the Order would expand.

Even though the man of God did not yet fully preach to the people, when he went through cities and towns, he encouraged everyone to fear and love God and to do penance for their sins. Brother Giles, on the other hand, exhorted his listeners to believe him because he gave them the best advice.

34Those who heard them would say: "Who are these men?" and "What are these words they're saying?" For, at that time, love and fear of God were non-existent almost everywhere, and the way of penance was not only completely unknown, but it was also considered folly. Lust for the flesh, greed for the world, and pride of life was so widespread, that the whole world seemed to be engulfed in these three malignancies.

There was a diversity of opinions about these evangelical men. Some declared that they were fools or drunkards, while others maintained that such words did not come from fools. One of those listening said: "Either they cling to the Lord for the sake of the highest perfection, or they are demented for sure, because their life seems reckless: they use little food, walk barefoot, and wear wretched clothes."

Although some among them were struck with fear at seeing the form of their holy way of life, others would not as yet follow them. Instead, young ladies seeing them would run far away and tremble at perhaps being carried away by foolishness and madness.

After they had traveled around that province, they returned to the place called Saint Mary's.

35After a few days had elapsed, however, three other men from Assisi, Sabbatino, Morico, and John de Capella,a came to them, begging blessed Francis to receive them as brothers. He received them humbly and kindly.

When they were begging alms throughout the city, hardly anyone would give to them; instead they denounced them for disposing of their possessions so that they could live off others and, therefore,

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Legenda Trium Sociorum, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1406-1407


4Dixit autem sanctus ad fratrem Egidium: « Nostra religio similis erit piscatori qui mittit retia sua in aquam capiens piscium multitudinem copiosam, et parvos in aqua relinquens magnos eligit in vasa sua ». 5Sicque prophetavit ordinem dilatandum.

6Licet autem vir Dei nondum plene populo praedicaret, quando tamen per civitates et castella transibat, hortabatur omnes ut amarent et timerent Deum atque poenitentiam agerent de peccatis. 7Frater autem Egidius admonebat audientes ut ei crederent quia eis optime consulebat.

34 1Qui vero eos audiebant dicebant: « Qui sunt isti? et quae sunt haec verba quae dicunt? ». 2Erat enim, tunc amor et timor Dei quasi ubique extinctus et via poenitentiae penitus nesciebatur, immo stultitia reputabatur. 3Nam intantum praevaluerat carnis illecebra, mundi cupiditas et superbia vitae quod totus mundus in his tribus malignitatibus positus videbatur.

4Erat igitur de his viris evangelicis diversa opinio. 5Alii enim dicebant eos stultos vel ebrios, alii autem asserebant quod talia verba non ex stultitia procedebant. 6Unus vero de audientibus dixit: « Aut propter summam perfectionem Domino adhaeserunt, aut certe insani sunt, quia desperata videtur vita eorum, cum parco cibo utantur et nudis pedibus ambulent atque vilissimis vestibus sint induti».

7Inter haec tamen, licet quidam timorem incurrerent visa forma sanctae conversationis eorum, non eos adhuc aliqui sequebantur, sed mulieres iuvenculae videntes eos a longe fugiendo pavebant ne forte stultitia et insania ducerentur.

8Cumque circuissent illam provinciam redierunt ad dictum locum Sanctae Mariae.

35 1Paucis autem diebus elapsis, venerunt ad eos tres alii viri de Assisio, videlicet Sabbatinus, Moricus et Iohannes de Capella, supplicantes beato Francisco ut eos in fratres reciperet. 2Et ipse recepit eos humiliter et benigne.

3Quando autem eleemosynas per civitatem petebant vix aliquis dabat eis, sed improperabant illis dicentes quod res suas dimiserant ut comederent alienas, et ideo maximam penuriam sustinebant.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 88

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