The Life of Blessed Francis - 582 

he would first seek some pieces of bread at the neighboring houses
and then, enriched by poverty, sit down at table.

And once he did this, when he was invited by the Lord Bishop of Ostia, who held Christ's poor man in special affection. After the bishop complained that he had disparaged his honor as would be expected when a dinner guest goes out for alms, God's servant replied: "My lord, I showed you great honor while I have honored a greater Lord. For the Lord is pleased by poverty and especially when one freely chooses to go begging for Christ. This is the royal dignity which the Lord Jesus assumed when he became poor 2 Cor 8:9 for us that he might enrich us by his want and would make us truly poor in spirit, as heirs Mt 5:3 and kings of the kingdom of heaven. I do not wish to relinquish this royal dignity for a fief of false riches granted for only an hour."

8 Sometimes, as he encouraged the brothers to beg for alms, he would use words such as these: "Go, for in this last hour the Lesser Brothers have been given to the world so that the elect may carry out for them what will be commended by the Judge as they hear those most sweet words: As long as you have done it for one of my lesser brothers, you did it for me." Mt 25:40 Then he would say that it was a delight to beg with the title of Lesser Brothers, which the Teacher of Gospel truth had so clearly expressed by his own mouth in rewarding the just. When there was an opportunity, he used to go begging even on the principal feasts, saying that, in the holy poor, the prophecy is fulfilled: Man will eat the bread of angels.

He used to say
that bread is clearly angelic,
which holy poverty gathers from door-to-door,
which is sought out of God's love
and is given out of His love
by the blessed prompting of angels.

9 Once, on a holy Easter Sunday, while he was staying at a hermitage that was so far from any houses that he could not conveniently go begging, he begged alms from the brothers, like a pilgrim and beggar, mindful of him who that day appeared in the guiseof a pilgrim to his disciples travelling on the road to Emmaus.

When he had humbly received it,
he taught them with sacred eloquence
to continually celebrate the Lord's Passover,

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Legenda Maior, Fontes Franciscani, p. 838-839


prius per propinquas vicinorum domos panum fragmenta petebat
ac deinde, sic ditatus inopia, discumbebat.

3Et cum aliquando id fecisset, invitatus a domino Ostiensi, qui pauperem Christi praecipuo complexabatur affectu, conquerenti episcopo, quod suo derogasset honori, utpote qui in eius comesturus hospitio pro eleemosynis isset, servus Dei respondit: « Magnum, mi domine, vobis honorem exhibui, dum maiorem Dominum honoravi. 4Siquidem beneplacitum est Domino in paupertate, et ea maxime, quae voluntaria pro Christo mendicitas est. 5Hanc dignitatem regalem, quam pro nobis Dominus Iesus, egenus factus, assumpsit ut sua nos ditaret inopia ac vere pauperes spiritu regni caelorum reges institueret et heredes, nolo relinquere pro feudo divitiarum falsarum vobis ad horam concesso ».

8 1Nonnumquam fratres ad petendum eleemosynam hortans, verbis utebatur huiusmodi: 2« Ite », inquit, « quoniam hac novissima hora fratres Minores commodati sunt mundo, ut electi in eis impleant, unde a Iudice commendentur, illud audientes suavissimum verbum: Quamdiu fecistis uni ex his fratribus meis minimis, mihi fecistis ». 3Iucundum proinde dicebat sub fratrum Minorum titulo mendicare, quem in retributione iustorum evangelicae veritatis Magister ore suo tam signanter expressit. 4In festis quoque praecipuis, ubi opportunitas aderat, mendicare solitus erat, dicens in sanctis pauperibus propheticum illud impleri: Panem Angelorum manducavit homo.

5Illum sane panem angelicum esse
dicebat,
quem pro Dei petitum amore,
et beatis suggerentibus Angelis,
pro ipsius caritate
largitum sancta paupertas colligit ostiatim.

9 1Unde cum semel die sancto Paschae moram faceret in eremitorio quodam adeo ab hominum habitatione remoto, quod commode mendicare non posset, memor illius qui discipulis euntibus in Emmaus ipso die in specie peregrini apparuit, ab ipsis fratribus eleemosynam petiit ut peregrinus et pauper.

2Quam cum accepisset humiliter,
sacris eos informavit eloquiis,
quod transeuntes per mundi desertum tamquam peregrini
et advenae verique Hebraei Pascha Domini,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 582

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