The Life of Blessed Francis - 583 

in poverty of spirit
that is,
his passing from this world to the Father, Jn 13:1
passing through the desert of the world
like pilgrims and strangers 1 Pt 2:11
and, like true Hebrews.a
And because,
when begging alms,
he was motivated
not by greed for profit but by liberty of spirit,
God, the Father of the poor, Jb 29:16
seemed to have a special care for him.

10 Once when the Lord's servant was gravely ill at Nocera, he was brought back to Assisi by formally appointed representatives sent for that purpose out of devotion by the people of Assisi. As they carried Christ's servant back, they came to a poor little village called Satriano where, since their hunger and the hour called for food, they went out, and finding nothing for sale, returned empty-handed. The holy man told them: "You didn't find anything, because you trust more in those flies of yours than in God." For he used to call coins "flies." "But go back," he said, "to the houses which you have visited and, offering the love of God as a reward, humbly ask for an alms. Do not consider this shameful or cheap out of false esteem, for after sin everything is bestowed as alms, for that great Almsgiver, out of his abundant piety, gives to both the worthy and the unworthy."

The knights overcame their embarrassment, readily begged for alms, and bought more with the love of God than with money. Since their hearts were struck with compunction by the divine nod, the poor villagers generously gave not only what was theirs, but also themselves. And so it happened that Francis's wealthy poverty supplied the need which money could not alleviate.

11 At the time when he was lying ill in a hermitage near Rieti, a doctor visited him often to care for him. Since the poor man of Christ was unable to pay him adequately for his services, the most generous

 Previous

Next 

 

Legenda Maior, Fontes Franciscani, p. 839-840


quod transeuntes per mundi desertum tamquam peregrini
et advenae verique Hebraei Pascha Domini,
hoc est transitum ex hoc mundo ad Patrem,
in paupertate spiritus
continue celebrarent.
3Et quoniam
in petendis eleemosynis
non quaestus agebatur cupidine, sed spiritus libertate,
Pater pauperum Deus
specialem de ipso curam gerere videbatur.

10 1Accidit enim, semel, ut infirmitate gravatus Domini servus in loco Noceriae reduceretur Assisium per sollemnes nuntios, ad hoc Assisinatis populi devotione transmissos. 2Qui Christi famulum deducentes, ad villam quamdam devenerunt pauperculam, nomine Satrianum, ubi cum fames et hora cibum expeterent, euntes et nihil invenientes venale, vacui redierunt. 3Ad quos vir sanctus: « Ideo nihil invenistis, quia plus in muscis vestris quam in Deo confiditis ». 4Muscas nempe denarios vocavit. 5« Sed revertimini », ait, « per domos, quas circuistis, et amorem Dei offerentes pro pretio, humiliter eleemosynam postulate! 6Nec falsa id aestimatione verecundum putetis aut vile, quoniam universa in eleemosynam post peccatum dignis et indignis Eleemosynarius ille magnus largiflua pietate concessit ».

7Deponunt erubescentiam milites, et eleemosynam sponte petentes, plura pro Dei amore quam denariis emunt. 8Siquidem divino nutu corde compuncti, pauperes incolae non solum sua, sed et se ipsos liberaliter obtulerunt. 9Sicque factum est ut inopiam, quam pecunia relevare non poterat, Francisci pauperies opulenta suppleret.

11 1Tempore, quo infirmus iacebat in eremitorio prope Reate, medicus quidam opportuno eum frequentabat officio. 2Cum autem Christi pauper impotens esset ad rependendam mercedem labori condignam, liberalissimus Deus,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 583

Hardcopies Available for Purchase