The Legend of the Three Companions - 93 

Some asked those brothers to receive them into their company. And because of the small number of the brothers—all six of them possessed authority from blessed Francis to receive others into the Order—they accepted some of them into their company. After they were received, they all returned at a predetermined time to Saint Mary of the Portiuncula.

When they saw one another again, however, they were filled with such delight and joy, as if they didn't remember anything of what they had endured at the hands of the wicked.

Each day they were conscientious in prayer and working with their hands to avoid all idleness, the enemy of the soul. They rose conscientiously in the middle of the night, and prayed most devoutly with copious tears and sighs. They loved each other deeply, served one another, and took care of each other as a mother for an only and beloved child. Charity burned so ardently in them that it seemed easy for them to give their bodies to death, not only for the love of Christ, but also for the salvation of the soul or the body of their confreres.

42One day, when two of the brothers were walking along, they came across a simpleton who began to throw rocks at them. One of them, noticing that stones were being thrown at the other, ran directly in front of him, preferring that the stones strike him rather than his brother. Because of the mutual charity with which they burned, they were prepared to lay down their life in this way, one for the other.

They were so rooted and grounded in humility and love, that one respected the other as father and master, while those who excelled by way of the office of prelate or some grace, seemed humble and more self-effacing than the others. They all dedicated themselves wholeheartedly to obedience, ever prepared for the will of the one giving orders. They did not distinguish between a just and an unjust command because they considered whatever they were ordered to be the Lord's will. Fulfilling commands, therefore, was pleasant and easy for them. They abstained from carnal desires, judging themselves carefully and taking care that in no way would one offend the other.

43If it ever happened that one uttered an annoying word to another, his conscience troubled him, so much so that he could not rest until he admitted his fault. He would humbly prostrate himself on the ground, so that his brother would place his foot over his mouth. If the brother who was offended refused to do this, then the brother who offended him, if he were a prelate, would order him to




Legenda Trium Sociorum, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1414-1416

3Quidam autem ipsos fratres rogabant ut reciperent eos in societatem suam. 4Et quia omnes illi sex habebant auctoritatem recipiendi ad ordinem a beato Francisco propter paucitatem fratrum, in societatem suam aliquos receperunt cum quibus sic receptis, statuto termino, omnes ad Sanctam Mariam de Portiuncula sunt reversi.

5Quando autem se invicem revidebant, tanta iocunditate replebantur et gaudio ac si nihil recordarentur eorum quae passi fuerant ab iniquis.

6Solliciti erant quotidie orare et laborare manibus suis ut omnem otiositatem animae inimicam a se penitus effugarent. 7Surgebant in media nocte solliciti et orabant devotissime cum immensis lacrimis et suspiriis. 8Amore intimo se invicem diligebant et serviebat unus alteri ac nutriebat eum sicut mater filium unicum et dilectum. 9Tantum caritas ardebat in eis quod facile ipsis videbatur tradere corpora sua morti, non solum pro Christi amore, sed etiam pro salute animae vel corporis suorum confratrum.

42 1Unde quadam die cum duo ex ipsis fratribus simul irent, invenerunt quemdam fatuum qui coepit lapides iactare in eos. 2Videns ergo unus eorum lapides iactari in alterum, opposuit se statim ietibus lapidum, volens potius se percuti quam fratrem suum propter caritatem mutuam qua flagrabant: sicque parati erant unus pro altero ponere vitam suam.

3Erant enim in humilitate et caritate fundati et radicati intantum ut unus revereretur alterum quasi patrem et dominum, atque illi qui officio praelationis vel aliqua gratia praecellebant, humiliores et viliores caeteris viderentur. 4Omnes quoque se totos ad obediendum praebebant, ad praecipientis voluntatem se continuo praeparantes. 5Non discernebant inter iustum et iniustum praeceptum quia quidquid praecipiebatur putabant esse secundum Domini voluntatem. 6Et ideo implere praecepta erat eis facile et suave. 7A carnalibus autem desiderus abstinebant, semetipsos sollicite iudicantes atque caventes ne unus alterum offenderet ullo modo.

43 1Et si quando contingebat ut unus alteri diceret verbum quod posset illum turbare, tantum conscientia mordebatur quod non poterat quiescere donec dicebat culpam suam, prosternens se in terram humiliter ut pedem fratris turbati faceret poni super os suum. 2Quod si frater turbatus pedem super os alterius ponere nolebat, si erat praelatus ille qui turbaverat alterum praecipiebat illi ut pedem poneret super os suum,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 93