A Mirror of the Perfection (The Sabatier Edition, 1928) - 344 

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HOW HE TAUGHT THE BROTHERS HOW TO SATISFY THEIR BODILY NEEDS SO THAT PRAYER WOULD NOT BE NEGLECTED

The most holy father, realizing and understanding that the body was created for the soul and that bodily needs are to be fulfilled because of spiritual ones, used to say: "In eating, sleeping, and fulfilling other bodily needs, a servant of God must satisfy his body with discernment. In this way Brother Body cannot grumble, saying: 'Because you do not satisfy my needs, I cannot stand up straight and persevere in prayer, or rejoice in tribulations, or do other good works.'

"On the other hand, if a servant of God, with discernment, has satisfied his body well enough, but Brother Body wants to be lazy, negligent, and sleepy in prayer, vigils and other good works, then he should punish it like any wicked and lazy beast of burden, because it wants to eat but refuses to work and carry its weight.

"If, however, because of want or poverty, Brother Body, whether healthy or sick, cannot have its needs fulfilled, after he has requested them decently and humbly for the love of God from his brother or his prelate and they are not given to him, then let him patiently bear this for the love of God Who also suffered want and found not one to comfort Ps 69:21 [Vulgate, Ps 68:21] him. If he bears this need with patience, the Lord will credit it to him as martyrdom. And because he did what is his to do, making his needs known humbly, he would be excused from sin, even if the body on this account became more gravely ill."

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Speculum Perfectionis, Fontes Franciscani, p.


Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 344

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