A Mirror of the Perfection (The Lemmons Edition, 1901) - 216 

bishop was greatly amazed at their devotion, especially since those alms did not consist of wheat bread.

After the meal, the lord bishop got up and went to his room, taking blessed Francis with him. Lifting up his arms, he embraced blessed Francis with utmost joy and told him: "Why, my simple little brother,a did you shame me in my own house, which is also the home of your brothers, by going out as you did for alms?"

"On the contrary, Lord Bishop," blessed Francis answered, "I paid you an honor. Because when a subject exercises and fulfills his duty and the obedience of his lord, he does honor both to the lord and to his prelate."

Then he said: "I must be a model and example of your poor. Especially because I know that in the life and religion of the brothers there are and will be Lesser Brothers, in name and in deed, humble in all things, obedient and of service to their brothers. They are and will be such because of the love of the Lord God and by the anointing of the Holy Spirit, who teaches and will teach them in all things. There also are and will be those among them who, held back by shame and because of bad habit, are and will be scorned by humbling themselves, by demeaning themselves by begging alms, and by doing this kind of servile work. Therefore, I must teach by deed all those who are or who will be in religion, that they might be without excuse in the eyes of God in this age and in the future.

"While I am with you, who are our Lord and Pope, and with other great and wealthy people in the eyes of the world, who for the love of the Lord God and with great kindness, not only receive me into their houses, but even compel me to do so, I do not want to be ashamed to go for alms. Indeed I want to have and hold it as a sign of great nobility, as the highest dignity and an honor to that most exalted King, who though He was Lord of all, willed for our sake to become the servant of all, and, although he was rich and glorious in majesty, came as one poor and despised in our humanity. So I want all who are and will be brothers to know that I hold it a greater consolation for both soul and body when I sit at a poor little table of the brothers and see before me the meager alms they begged from door to door for the love of God, than when I sit at your table and that of other lords, set abundantly with all kinds of food, even though they are offered to me with great devotion. For the bread offered as alms is holy bread which the praise and love of God have hallowed, because when a brother goes out begging, he must first say: "Praised and blessed be

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Speculum Perfectionis (minus), Fontes Franciscani, p. 1748-1750


8et gavisus est dominus episcopus propter devotionem illorum, maxime quia ille helimosine non erant de pane tritici.

9Post comestionem vero surrexit dominus episcopus et intravit cameram suam ducens secum beatum Franciscum; elevans brachia sua amplexatus est beatum Franciscum pre nimio gaudio et exultatione dixitque ad eum: 10« Cur, frater mi simplizone, fecisti michi verecundiam, ut in domo mea, que est domus tua et fratrum tuorum, ires pro helemosinis? ».

11Respondit ei beatus Franciscus: « Immo, domine, exhibui vobis honorem, quoniam, cum subditus exercet et implet officium suum et obedientiam sui domini facit honorem domino suo et eius prelato ».

12Et ait: « Me oportet esse formam et exemplum pauperum vestrorum, maxime quia scio, quod in vita et religione fratrum sunt et erunt nomine et opere fratres minores, qui propter amorem Domini Dei et Spiritus Sancti unctionem, qui docet et docebit eos de omnibus, humiliantur et humiliabuntur ad omnem humilitatem et subiectionem et servitutem fratrum suorum. 13Sunt etiam [et] erunt de illis qui aut verecundia detenti et propter malum usum dedignantur et dedignabuntur se humiliare et inclinare ad eundum pro helemosinis et facere huiusmodi opera servilia; 14quapropter oportet me omnes qui sunt in religione et erunt, opere docere, ut sint inescusabiles in hoc seculo et in futuro coram Deo.

15Existens quidem apud vos, qui estis dominus et apostolicus noster, et apud magnates et divites secundum seculum, qui propter amorem Domini Dei cum multa devotione non tantum me recipiunt in domos suas, sed etiam cogunt me, nolo verecundari ire pro helemosinis; 16immo volo habere et tenere secundum Deum pro magna nobilitate et regali dignitate et honore illius summi regis, qui, cum sit Dominus omnium 17et cum esset dives et gloriosus in maiestate sua, pauper et despectus venit in humanitate nostra. 18Volo ergo quod sciant fratres, qui sunt et erunt, quod pro maiori consolatione anime et corporis habeo, cum. sedeo ad mensam pauperculam fratrum 19et video coram me helemosinas pauperculas, que acquiruntur hostiatim amore Dei, quam cum sedeo ad vestram mensam et aliorum dominorum habundanter de omnibus cibis preparatam, licet cum devotione multa michi exhibeantur; 20panis enim helemosine est panis sanctus, quem sanctificat laus et amor Dei, quoniam cum frater vadit pro helemosinis prius debet dicere: "Laudatus et benedictus sit Dominus Deus",

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 216

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