A Mirror of the Perfection (The Lemmons Edition, 1901) - 242 

counted an honor and advantage to your souls and bodies, not only according to God but also according to the world, because God will be honored by your own flesh and blood, and all our brothers will be your sons and brothers. And, because he is a creature of God and wishes to serve his Creator, and to serve Him is to reign, I cannot and should not return him to you. But in order that you may have some consolation from all this, I want him to expropriate himself of this ox by giving it to you, although, according to the counsel of the holy Gospel, it ought to be given to other poor people." Mt 19:21 They were all consoled by the words of blessed Francis, and they rejoiced especially that the ox was returned to them, since they were poor.

Because blessed Francis greatly loved and was always pleased by pure and holy simplicity in himself and in others, he immediately dressed him in the clothing of the religion and took him as his companion. He was a man of such simplicity, that he believed he was bound to do everything blessed Francis would do.

So, whenever blessed Francis was in some other place to pray, he wanted to observe him so that he could imitate all his gestures. If blessed Francis knelt, or joined his hands toward heaven, or spat, or coughed, he would do the same. With great joy, blessed Francis began to reprove him for these kinds of simplicity. But he answered: "Brother, I promised to do everything you do. Therefore I want to do everything you do."

And blessed Francis marveled and delighted, seeing him in such purity and simplicity. For he began to be perfect in all virtues and good habits, so that blessed Francis and the other brothers greatly marveled at his perfection in which he died. After his death, therefore, Saint Francis, telling the brothers about his conversion, would call him "Saint John."

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Brother James the Simple, to whom the saint had entrusted a leper with many severe sores, was like a doctor cleaning, changing, and treating their wounds, for in those days the brothers stayed in the houses or hospitals of lepers. He led the leper with severe sores to Saint Mary of the Portiuncula.a As if reproving him, blessed Francis said: "You should not take our Christian brothers about in this way since it is not right for you or for them." Blessed Francis used to call lepers "Christian brothers."

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Speculum Perfectionis (minus), Fontes Franciscani, p. 1803-1805


20et non solum secundum Deum verum etiam secundum seculum illud imputatur vobis in honorem et profectum animarum et corporum, quia de carne vestra honoratur Deus, et omnes fratres nostri erunt vestri filii et fratres. 21Et quia creatura Dei est et summo Creatori vult servire cui servire regnare est, non possum nec debeo ipsum reddere vobis, 22sed ut de ipso habeatis consolationem, volo, quod ipse expropriet se vobis de isto bove tanquam pauperibus, licet pauperibus aliis deberet dari secundum consilium sancti Evangelii ». 23Et consolati sunt et de verbis et de bove, quia pauperes erant.

24Et quia beatus Franciscus nimis diligebat puram et sanctam simplicitatem semper in se et in aliis, statim quod induit eum pannos religionis, ducebat illum pro socio suo. 25Erat enim ille tante simplicitatis, quod ad omnia que faciebat beatus Franciscus, credebat se teneri. 26Unde, cum beatus Franciscus staret in aliquo loco in oratione, et ipse volebat ipsum respicere, ut eius se gestibus omnibus conformaret.

27Unde, si beatus Franciscus flecteret genua aut iungeret manus ad celum aut spueret vel tussiret, et ipse similiter faciebat . 28Et cepit ipsum beatus Franciscus cum multa letitia de huiusmodi simplicitatibus redarguere; 29qui respondit ei: « Frater, ego promisi facere omnia que tu facis; unde volo facere que tu facis ».

30Et mirabatur inde et delectabatur beatus Franciscus videns ipsum in tanta simplicitate et puritate. 31Nam tantum cepit in omnibus virtutibus et moribus perfectus esse, quod beatus Franciscus et alii fratres mirabantur plurimum de eius perfectione, in qua et mortuus est, 32unde eum post mortem sanctus Franciscus sanctum Iohannem appellabat narrans inter fratres eius conversionem.

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1Frater Iacobus simplex, cui sanctus leprosos valde plagatos plurimum recommendaverat, qui erat quasi medicus eorum tergendo, mutando, curando eorum vulnera, (nam illis temporibus manebant fratres in domibus leprosorum sive hospitalibus), duxit quendam leprosum ulceratum valde ad sanctam Mariam de Portiuncula, 2cui dixit beatus Franciscus quasi ipsum redarguendo: « Tu non deberes ita ducere fratres christianos, quia non est honestum nec pro te, nec pro ipsis ». 1Beatus Franciscus vocabat leprosos fratres christianos.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 242

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