A Mirror of the Perfection (The Lemmons Edition, 1901) - 247 

[38]

Once when the time for the chapter of the brothers was at hand, to be held at Saint Mary of the Portiuncula, blessed Francis said to his companion: "It seems to me that I am not a Lesser Brother unless I have the attitude I will tell you." And he said: "The brothers come to me with devotion and veneration, invite me to the chapter and, touched by their devotion, I go. And they ask me to preach to them as the Holy Spirit instructs me.

"After the sermon, suppose that they speak against me: 'We do not want you to rule over us. You are not eloquent. We are very ashamed to have such a simple and contemptible prelate over us. From now on do not presume to call yourself our prelate.' And so, with insults, they throw me out.

"It seems to me that I am not a Lesser Brother unless I am just as happy when they insult me, as when they honor me, if in both cases the benefit to them is equal. If I am happy about their benefit and devotion when they praise and honor me, which can be a danger to the soul, it is even more fitting that I should rejoice and be happy at my benefit and the salvation of my soul when they revile me as they throw me out in shame, which is profit for the soul and for salvation."

[39]

One day, when blessed Francis was returning from prayer, he said with great joy to his companion: "I must be the form and example of all the brothers; so, although it is necessary for my body to have a tunic with patches, nevertheless I must take into consideration my brothers who have the same need, but perhaps do not and cannot have this. Therefore, I must stay down with them to suffer those same necessities they suffer so that in seeing this, they may be able to bear them more patiently."

We who were with him could not say how many and how great were the necessities that he denied his body in food and clothing, to give good example to the brothers and so that they would endure their necessities in greater patience. At all times, especially after the brothers began to multiply and he resigned the office of prelate, blessed Francis had as his highest and principal goal to teach the brothers more by actions than by words, what they ought to do and what they ought to avoid.

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Speculum Perfectionis (minus), Fontes Franciscani, p. 1814-1816


[38]

1Cum instaret semel capitulum fratrum apud sanctam, Mariam, dixit beatus Franciscus socio suo: « Non videtur michi, quod sim frater minor, nisi essem in statu, quem dicam tibi ». 2Et ait: « Ecce fratres cum devotione et veneratione invitant me ad capitulum, et motus ex devotione eorum vado et rogatus predico illis, sicut docuerit me Spiritus Sanctus.

3Finita ergo predicatione, ponatur, quod dicant adversum me: 4 "Nolumus te regnare super nos, non enim es eloquens, et nimis verecundamur habere ita simplicem et despectum prelatum super nos, unde de cetero non presumas vocare te nostrum prelatum"; 5et sic eiciunt me vilipendendo.

6Non igitur videtur michi, quod sim frater minor, si eodem modo non gaudeo, cum me vilipendunt, sicut quando me honorant; eorum profectu utrobique equaliter se habente. 7Nam si gavisus sum de provectu et devotione ipsorum, cum honorant me, ubi periculum anime esse potest, magis convenit, quod debeam letari et iocundari de profectu meo et salute anime, cum vituperant me cum verecundia eiciendo, ubi lucrum est anime et salus ».

[39]

1Cum quadam die sanctus Franciscus rediret ab oratione cum magna letitia, dixit socio SUO: 2 «Me oportet esse formam et exemplum omnium, fratrum, quoniam, licet corpori meo necesse sit habere tunicam repetiatam, tamen considerare me oportet fratres meos, quibus istud idem necesse est. 3Et ipsi forsitan non habent, nec habere possunt, 4unde me oportet condescendere eis et easdem necessitates, quas ipsi patiuntur, me pati, ut ipsi hoc videntes magis suas patienter sustineant ».

5Quot enim et quantas necessitates suo corpori denegaverit in victu et vestitu, ut fratribus daret bonum exemplum, et ut maiori patientia suas necessitates tolerarent, nos, qui cum ipso fuimus a, dicere non possumus. 6Et in hoc summum et precipuum studium habuit semper beatus Franciscus, maxime postquam fratres [ceperunt] multiplicari et ipse dimisit officium prelationis, ut operibus magis quam verbis fratres doceret, quid agerent, quidve deberent vitare.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 247

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