A Collection of Sayings of the Companions of Blessed Francis - 123 

The Words of Saint Francisa

A companion of blessed Francis, Brother Leo, who was truly a man of simplicity and holiness, wrote these words, which perfectly state and sincerely and faithfully manifest the intention and sense of his Rule.

1Likewise blessed Francis often said these words to the brothers: "I have never been a thief, that is, in regard to alms, which are the inheritance of the poor. I always took less than I needed, so that other poor people would not be cheated of their share. To act otherwise would be theft."

2When the brother ministers urged him to allow the brothers to have something at least in common, so that such a great number would have some resources, Saint Francis called upon Christ in prayer and consulted Him about this. Christ immediately responded that He would take away everything held individually or in common, saying that this is His family for whom He was always ready to provide, no matter how much it might grow, and He would always cherish it as long as it would put its hope in Him.

3When blessed Francis was on a mountain with Brother Leo of Assisi and Brother Bonizo of Bologna to make the Rule,b—because the first, which he had written at Christ's instruction, was lostc—a great many ministers gathered around Brother Elias, who was the vicar of blessed Francis. "We heard that Brother Francis is making a new rule," they told him, "and we fear that he will make it so harsh that we will not be able to observe it. We want you to go to him and tell him that we refuse to be bound to that rule. Let him make it for himself and not for us." Brother Elias replied to them that he did not want to go because he feared the rebuke of Brother Francis. When they insisted that he go, he said that he refused to go without them; so they all went.

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Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 123

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