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 The Legend of the Three Companions - 94 

do so. If he were a subject, he would have a prelate give the order. In this way, with the grace of Jesus Christ anticipating and helping them, they strove to banish all ill will and malice from their midst, to preserve among them always perfect love, and, to combat, as far as possible, each vice by practicing a corresponding virtue.

Moreover, they did not appropriate anything as their own, but used books or other items in common according to the pattern handed down and observed by the apostles. Although there was real poverty in and among them, they were generous and openhanded with everything given them for God's sake. The alms freely given to them out of His love, they gave to all those who begged from them, especially to the poor.

44In fact, if they were traveling along the road and found the poor begging from them for the love of God, when they had nothing to offer them, they would give them some of their clothing even though it was shabby. Sometimes they gave their capuche, tearing it from the tunic; at other times they gave a sleeve, or tore off a part of their habit, that they might fulfill that Gospel passage "Give to all who beg from you." Lk 6:30 One day, however, a poor man begging alms came to the church of Saint Mary of the Portiuncula, near where the brothers sometimes stayed. There was a cloak there that a brother wore while in the world. When blessed Francis told him to give it to that poor man, he gave it to him freely and quickly. And immediately, because of the reverence and devotion which that brother had in giving the cloak to the poor man, it seemed to him that the alms rose up into heaven and he felt himself inundated by a new happiness.

45When, in fact, the rich of this world would go out of their way for them, they received them quickly and kindly, striving to call them from evil and prompting them to do penance. They also eagerly sought not to be sent to the lands where they had been raised, that they might avoid association and dealings with their relatives and could observe the prophetic word: "I have become an outcast to my brothers, a stranger to my mother's sons." Ps 69:9 [Vulgate, Ps 68:9]

They rejoiced most in poverty, because they did not desire riches, but spurned everything transitory that can be desired by those enamored of this world. Above all, they trampled upon money as if it were dirt under their feet, and, as they had been taught by the saint, considered it as equal in worth and weight to the dung of an ass.

They constantly rejoiced in the Lord, not having within themselves nor among themselves anything that could make them sad.

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Legenda Trium Sociorum, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1416-1418


si vero erat subditus faciebat hoc illi praecipi a praelato. 3Sicque studebant ut omnis rancor et malitia fugaretur ab eis et perfecta inter ipsos semper dilectio servaretur, satagentes pro posse singulis vitiis singulas virtutes opponere, praeveniente et coadiuvante eos gratia Iesu Christi.

4Nihil insuper sibi proprium vindicabant, sed libris et aliis collatis eisdem utebantur communiter secundum formam ab apostolis traditam et servatam. 5Cum autem in eis et inter eos esset vera paupertas, erant tamen liberales et largi de omnibus sibi pro Deo collatis, libenter dantes amore ipsius omnibus petentibus et maxime pauperibus eleemosynas eis datas.

44 1Quando vero ibant per viam et inveniebant pauperes petentes aliquid ab eis amore Dei, cum non habebant aliud quod praeberent, dabant aliquam partem de vestibus suis licet vilibus. 2Quandoque enim dabant caputium dividentes ipsum a tunica, quandoque manicam quandoque partem aliam dissuentes ipsam a tunica ut evangelicum illud implerent: « Omni petenti te tribue ». 3Quadam autem die venit quidam pauper ad ecclesiam Sanctae Mariae de Portiuncula, apud quam fratres aliquando morabantur, et eleemosynam petiit. 4Erat autem ibi quaedam clamis quam quidam frater habuerat saecularis. 5Cui cum dixisset beatus Franciscus ut eam illi pauperi daret, libenter et velociter dedit ei. 6Statimque propter reverentiam et devotionem quam habuerat frater ille in dando clamidem illi pauperi, visum est ei quod eleemosyna illa in caelum ascendisset et sensit novo gaudio se perfundi.

45 1Quando vero declinabant divites huius mundi ad eos, recipiebant illos alacriter et benigne, studentes eos revocare a malo et ad poenitentiam provocare. 2Sollicite etiam petebant ne mitterentur ad terras unde erant oriundi ut fugerent familiaritatem et conversationem consanguineorum suorum, verbumque servarent propheticum: « Extraneus fàctus sum fratribus meis et peregrinus filiis matris meae ».

3In paupertate plurimum laetabantur quia non concupiscebant divitias, sed omnia transitoria spernebant quae possunt a mundi huius amatoribus concupisci. 4Praecipue vero pecuniam quasi pulverem pedibus conculcabant, et sicut a sancto fuerant edocti, ipsam cum stercore asini aequali pretio et pondere ponderabant.

5Gaudebant in Domino continue, non habentes inter se nec intra se unde possent aliquatenus contristari.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 94

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