The Life of Blessed Francis - 579 

from that Gospel passage:
If you wish to be perfect,
go, sell
all that you have,
and give to the poor.
Therefore,
only those who had given up everything and kept nothing
would he admit to the Order,
both because of the words of the holy Gospel
and because they should not cause scandal
by keeping a money bag.

Thus when someone asked to be received into the Order in the Marches of Ancona, the true patriarch of the poor replied: "If you want to join Christ's poor, distribute what you have to the poor of the world." When he heard this, the man went off and, led by love of the flesh, left his goods to his relatives, and nothing to the poor. When the holy man heard him tell of this, he reproached him harshly: "Go on your way, Brother Fly, for you have not yet left your home and your family. Gn 12:1 You gave what you had to your relatives, and cheated the poor; you are not worthy of the holy poor. You began with the flesh; you laid down a crumbling foundation for a spiritual building." The carnal man 1 Cor 2:14 returned to his own and demanded back his goods; refusing to give them to the poor, he soon left his proposal of virtue.

4 Another time, in the place of Saint Mary of the Portiuncula, the destitution was so great, that it was not possible to provide for the brothers coming as guests according to their needs. His vicar went to the man of God, pointing out the indigence of the brothers and asking permission to save some of the goods of those entering as novices to which the brothers could have recourse in due season. Ps 145:15 [Vulgate, Ps 144:15] Not ignorant of heavenly guidance, the man of God said to him: "Far be it from us, dearest brother, to treat without piety what is in the Rule for the sake of anyone. I prefer that you strip the altar of the glorious Virgin, when necessity requires it, than to use something or even a little that is contrary to the vow of poverty and the observance of the Gospel. For the Blessed Virgin will be happier to have her altar stripped and the counsel of the holy Gospel kept perfectly, than to have her altar decorated and her Son's counsel, as promised, neglected."

5 One time as the man of God was traveling with a companion through Apulia near Bari, he found a large bag lying on the road;

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Legenda Maior, Fontes Franciscani, p. 834-835


ab illo fore inchoandum evangelico verbo:
Si vis perfectus esse,
vade, vende omnia, quae habes,
et da pauperibus;
2ideoque
nonnisi expropriatos et nihil penitus retinentes
admittebat ad Ordinem,
tum propter verbum sancti Evangelii,
tum etiam ne forent in scandalum
loculi reservati.

3Unde in Marchia Anconitana cuidam petendi ad Ordinem recipi verus pauperum patriarcha respondit: « Si vis Christi pauperibus iungi, mundi pauperibus tua distribue! ». 4Quo audito perrexit homo, et ductus amore carnali, sua suis reliquit, nilque pauperibus. 5Verum cum haec, illo referente, vir sanctus audisset, dura eum increpatione feriens, dixit: « Vade viam tuam, frater musca, quoniam nondum existi de domo et cognatione tua. 6Consanguineis tuis tua dedisti et defraudasti pauperes, dignus non es pauperibus sanctis. 7Incepisti a carne, ruinosum fundamentum spirituali fabricae collocasti ». 8Rediit animalis homo ad suos et repetiit sua, quae pauperibus relinquere nolens, virtutis propositum citius dereliquit.

4 1Alio quoque tempore, cum in loco Sanctae Mariae de Portiuncula tanta esset inopia, quod non posset hospitibus fratribus supervenientibus secundum necessitatis exigentiam provideri: adiit virum Dei vicarius suus, 2allegans penuriam fratrum et petens, ut intrantium novitiorum res aliquas reservare liceret, ad quas expendendas recurrere possent fratres tempore opportuno. 3Ad quem vir superni consilii non ignarus: « Absit », inquit, « a nobis, frater carissime, ut pro quovis homine impie agamus in regulam. 4Malo te altare Virginis gloriosae nudare, cum necessitas id requirit, quam contra paupertatis votum et observantiam Evangelii aliquid vel modicum attentare. 5Gratius enim habebit Virgo beata, sancti Evangelii perfecte servato consilio, suum altare detegi, quam altari vestito, Filii sui promissum consilium praetermitti ».

5 1Transiens autem quodam tempore vir Dei cum socio per Apuliam iuxta Barum, invenit in via bursam magnam,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 579

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