A Mirror of the Perfection (The Lemmons Edition, 1901) - 241 

For blessed Francis was very sad when he entered some church and saw that it was not clean. Therefore, after preaching to the people, at the end of the sermon he would always have all the priests who were present assembled in some remote place so he could not be overheard by secular people. He would preach to them about the salvation of souls and, in particular, that they should exercise care and concern in keeping churches clean, as well as altars and everything that pertained to the celebration of the divine mysteries.

When blessed Francis was sweeping a church in a village one day, talk about this spread immediately through that village, especially because people enjoyed seeing and hearing him.

A man named John heard it, a man of amazing simplicity, who was plowing in a field of his near the church, and he immediately went to him. Finding him sweeping the church, he said to him: "Brother, give me the broom because I want to help you." Taking the broom from him, he swept the rest.

When they sat down, he said to blessed Francis: "Brother, it's a long time now that I've wanted to serve God, especially after I heard talk about you and your brothers, but I did not know how to come to you. Now that it pleased God that I see you, I want to do whatever pleases you."

Considering his fervor, blessed Francis rejoiced in the Lord, especially because he then had few brothers, and because it seemed to him that, on account of his pure simplicity, he would make a good religious. So he said to him: "Brother, if you wish to belong to our company, you must expropriate yourself of all your things that you can get without scandal, and give them to the poor according to the counsel of the holy Gospel, because my brothers who were able to do so have done this."

As soon as he heard this, he immediately went into the field where he had left the oxen, and, untying them, brought one of them back to blessed Francis. "Brother," he said to him, "I have served my father and everyone in my household for many years. Although my portion of the inheritance is small, I want to take this ox as my share and give it to the poor, as you think best according to God."

But when his parents and brothers, who were still small, saw that he wanted to leave them, they and the entire household began to cry so bitterly that blessed Francis was moved to piety, and he said to them: "Prepare and serve a meal so we can all eat together, and don't cry, because I will make you happy." So they prepared it at once, and all of them ate with great joy.

After the meal the saint said to them: "This son of yours wants to serve God, and you should be glad and not sad about this. This will be




Speculum Perfectionis (minus), Fontes Franciscani, p. 1801-1803

Nam multum dolebat beatus Franciscus, cum intraret aliquam ecclesiam et videret ipsam non mundatam, 4et propterea semper, quando predicaverat populo, finita predicatione faciebat congregari omnes sacerdotes, qui aderant ibi, in aliquo remoto loco, ut a secularibus non audiretur, et predicabat eis de salute animarum 5et maxime, ut curam et sollicitudinem haberent conservandi mundas ecclesias et altaria et omnia, que pertinent ad celebranda divina mysteria.

6Cum quadam die beatus Franciscus scoparet quandam ecelesiam cuiusdam ville, statim rumor de ipso factus est in illa villa, maxime quia libenter ab hominibus audiebatur et videbatur.

7Ut autem audivit quidam, Iohannes nomine, vir mire simplicitatis, qui arabat in quodam suo agro prope ecclesiam illam, statim ivit ad ipsum, inveniens illum scopantem ecclesiam; 8et dixit ad eum: « Frater, da michi scopam, quia volo te adiuvare »; 9et accipiens scopam ab ipso scopavit residuum.

10Et sedentibus illis dixit ille ad beatum Franciscum: « Frater, iam diu est, quod habui voluntatem serviendi Deo et maxime postquam de te et de tuis fratribus rumorem audivi; sed nesciebam, qualiter ad te venirem. 11Sed postquam Deo placuit, ut te viderem, volo facere, quicquid tibi placuerit ».

12Beatus Franciscus considerans eius fervorem exultavit in Domino maxime, quia tunc paucos habebat fratres, et quia sibi videbatur propter eius puram simplicitatem, quod deberet esse bonus religiosus, 13qui dixit ei: « Frater, si vis esse de societate nostra, oportet, quod expropries te de omnibus tuis, que sine scandalo habere potes, et des ea pauperibus secundum consilium sancti Evangelii, quia illud idem fratres nostri, qui potuerunt, fecerunt ».

14Quo audito statim ivit in agrum, ubi dimiserat boves, et solvit illos et duxit unum coram beato Francisco et dixit ad eum: 15 « Frater, tot annis servivi patri meo et omnibus de domo mea; licet parva sit portio hereditatis mea, volo istum bovem accipere pro portione mea et dare illum pauperibus, sicut tibi melius videbitur secundum Deum ».

16Videntes autem parentes et eius fratres, qui adhuc erant parvi, quod volebat eos dimictere, ceperunt ipsi et omnes de domo tam fortiter lacrimari, quod motus est inde ad pietatem beatus Franciscus, 17et ait ad illos: « Parate comestionem , ut insimul comedamus, et nolite plangere, quoniam letos vos faciam ». 18Illi autem statim paraverunt, et comederunt omnes cum letitia.

19Post comestionem dixit ad eos sanctus: « Iste filius vester vult servire Deo, de quo debetis gaudere, 20et non solum secundum Deum verum etiam secundum seculum illud imputatur vobis in honorem et profectum animarum et corporum,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 241