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 The Legend of the Three Companions - 91 

came upon a house having a portico and, in the portico, a bread-oven, they told each other: "We can stay here." Therefore, asking the lady of the house to accept them into her home and having her make an excuse, they humbly said that she at least might let them spend that night near the oven.

She allowed them to do this. When her husband came and found them in the portico, he called his wife and told her: "Why did you offer lodging to those two scoundrels in our portico?" She answered that she did not want them inside the house, but she did let them stay outside in the portico where they could steal nothing but firewood. Considering them scoundrels and thieves, he was opposed to giving them any kind of shelter, although the weather was bitterly cold.

That night, they rested near the oven in a sound sleep, warmed only by the glow of divine love and covered with the blanket of Lady Poverty. In the morning they went to the nearest church to hear the office of matins.

39When morning came, the woman went to the same church and, seeing those brothers devoutly steadfast in prayer, she said to herself: "If these men were scoundrels and thieves, as my husband claimed, they would not be persevering in prayer so reverently." While she was thinking these things, a man, named Guido, was distributing alms to the poor who were in the church. When he came to the brothers and wanted to give money to each one of them, as he had done to the others, they refused the money and did not want to accept it. But he said to them: "Since you are poor, why don't you accept the coins like the others?" Brother Bernard answered: "While it is true that we are poor, poverty is not burdensome for us as it is for other poor people. For, by the grace of God, we have willingly made ourselves poor. It is His counsel we fulfilled." Astonished at these things and asking if they had ever possessed anything, he heard from them that they had indeed possessed much. For the love of God, though, they had given everything to the poor. The one who answered in this way was Brother Bernard, the first disciple of blessed Francis, whom today we truly believe to be a most holy father. He was the first to run after the holy one of God, embracing the delegation of peace and penance. Selling everything he possessed and giving to the poor, according to the counsel of Gospel perfection, he persevered to the end in most holy poverty.

When that woman reflected that the brothers did not want the coins, she approached them and told them that she would gladly receive them into her home if they wanted lodging there. The brothers

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Legenda Trium Sociorum, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1411-1412


4Venientes autem ad quamdam domum habentem porticum et in porticu clibanum, dixerunt ad invicem: « Hic poterimus hospitari ». 5Rogantes ergo dominam domus ut eos reciperet intra domum et illa hoc facere recusante, dixerunt humiliter ut saltem iuxta clibanum permitteret eos quiescere illa nocte.

6Hoc autem concesso per illam, venit vir eius et invenit eos in porticu, et advocans uxorem dixit illi: « Quare istis ribaldis hospitium in nostra porticu contulisti? ». 7Respondit illa quod noluerat eos in domum recipere sed eis concesserat extra in porticu iacere, ubi non poterant nisi ligna furari. 8Noluit ergo vir quod daretur eis aliquod tegumentum, licet esset tunc magnum frigus, quia putabat eos esse ribaldos et fures.

9Illa autem nocte, cum usque ad matutinum satis sobrio somno iuxta clibanum quievissent calefacti solo calore divino et cooperti tegumento dominae paupertatis, iverunt ad viciniorem ecclesiam pro matutinali officio audiendo.

39 1Et mane facto ivit illa mulier ad eamdem ecclesiam, et videns ibidem fratres illos in oratione devote persistere, dixit intra se: « Si homines isti essent ribaldi et fures, ut vir meus dicebat, non sic in oratione persisterent reverenter ». 2Cumque haec cogitaret, ecce vir quidam, Guido nomine, pauperibus in ipsa ecclesia manentibus eleemosynam tribuebat. 3Qui cum venisset ad fratres et vellet dare cuilibet eorum pecuniam sicut dabat aliis, recusaverunt illi pecuniam et accipere noluerunt. 4At ille dixit eis: « Quare vos, cum sitis pauperes, non accipitis denarios sicut alii? ». 5Respondit frater Bernardus: « Verum est quod pauperes sumus, sed nobis non est ita gravis paupertas sicut aliis pauperibus: nam per Dei gratiam, cuius consilium implevimus, voluntarie pauperes facti sumus ». 6Admirans vir ille super his et interrogans eos si unquam aliquid possedissent, audivit ab eis quod multa possederant, sed amore Dei omnia pauperibus dederant. 7Hic namque qui sic respondit fuit ille frater Bernardus, a beato Francisco secundus, quem sanctissimum patrem hodie veraciter credimus. 8Qui primo pacis et poenitentiae legationem amplectens post sanctum Dei cucurrit, venditis omnibus quae habebat et erogatis pauperibus secundum perfectionis evangelicae consilium, perseverans usque in finem in sanctissima paupertate.

9Considerans ergo dicta mulier quod fratres denarios noluissent, accedens ad eos dixit quod libenter eos reciperet intra domum suam si vellent illuc accedere gratia hospitandi. 10Cui fratres humiliter responderunt:

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 91

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