A Book of the Praises of Saint Francis (1277-1283) - 38 

Chapter II
THE FORMATION OF THE FIRST DISCIPLES

1After blessed Francis returned from the Supreme Pontiff from whom he received the authority to preach, he gathered his brothers around him near the city of Assisi in an abandoned hut that was so confined that these most vigorous scorners of large and beautiful homes were hardly able to sit or rest in it. They were in such want that, for lack of bread and to assuage their hunger, they were very often content with turnips which they sought in the fields of Assisi. Their relatives pursued them and others ridiculed them, because at that time no young person could be found who would relinquish all his possessions for the Lord's sake and seek alms from door to door.

4There was no complaining about this;
no grumbling,
but with peaceful heart,
the soul filled with joy, preserved patience.
Under the tutelage of the holy father,
the increased number of brothers
later grew in perfection.
They were truly lesser,
in name as in humility of mind,
who,
while living subject to others,
always sought a place and position of humility,
and, burning with the spirit of charity,
they loved one another in a remarkable way,
even in what might seem an injury.
Whenever they came together,
in that place a shoot of spiritual love sprang up.
What more?
There were
chaste embraces, delightful affection, a holy kiss,
sweet conversation, moderate laughter, joyful looks
and hands untiring for service.

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Liber de Laudibus Beati Francisci, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1257-1258


Caput II
De primorum [discipulorum] informatione.

2 1Reversus a summo Pontifice beatus Franciscus praedicandi auctoritate suscepta recolligebat se cum ceteris fratribus iuxta civitatem Assisii in quodam tugurio derelicto, quod ita angustum erat ut in eo sedere aut quiescere vix valerent magnarum et pulchrarum domuum strenuissimi contemptores. 2In tanta etiam inopia rerum erant, ut saepissime omni panis solatio destituti solis quas per Assisii plana petebant rapis essent contenti. 3Persequebantur eos parentes et alii deridebant, quia eo tempore nullus iuvenis inveniebatur, qui propter Dominum omnia sua relinqueret et eleemosynam peteret ostiatim.

4Nullum pro his murmur,
nulla querimonia resonat,
sed corde placido
mens plena gaudio conservat patientiam.
5Multiplicati postea fratres
in omni perfectione sub sancti Patris
magisterio profecerunt.
6Erant vero sicut nomine
sic mentis humilitate minores,
qui
omnibus subditi existentes
semper quaerebant humilitatis locum et officium exercere;
et in quo quaedam fore iniuria videretur,
spiritu caritatis ferventes
a miro modo se invicem diligebant.
7Cum enim aliquando pariter convenirent,
ibi spiritualis amoris spiculum resultabat.
8Quid plura?
Casti amplexus, suaves affatus, osculum sanctum,
dulce colloquium, risus modestus, iucundus aspectus
et manus ad obsequium indefessa.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 38

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