The Deeds of Blessed Francis & His Companions (1328-1337) - 438 

Christ. At this first opening came: "If you seek perfection, go, sell Mt 19:21 all that you have, and give to the poor." Lk 9:3 At the second opening: "Take nothing for the journey." And in the third opening: "Whoever wishes to be my fol- lower must deny his very self, take up his cross each day, and follow me." Lk 9:23 Mt 16:24 After they saw these, Saint Francis said: "Lord Bernard, what we have here is the Lord's advice. Go and carry out what you heard. Blessed be our Lord Jesus Christ, who was kind enough to show us his evangelical way."

36 Lord Bernard immediately took all his goods, which were of very great value, and he joyfully gave them all to the poor. With his lap full of money, he liberally and generously distributed it to widows, orphans, pilgrims and servants of God, with Saint Francis accompanying and faithfully helping him in all those things. But Lord Sylvester, when he saw all of this being dispersed, was led by greed and said to Saint Francis: "You did not pay in full for some stones you bought from me for repairing churches." Saint Francis, astonished at his greed, did not want to argue with him. But as a true observer of the Gospel, giving to all who ask, Lk 6:30 he put his hand into Lord Bernard's purse, and put a handful of money into Lord Sylvester's lap and said that if he wanted even more, he would give him more. But, he left contented.

41 Later, after Lord Sylvester returned home and was thinking that evening about what he had done that day, he regretted his greed and recalled Lord Bernard's fervor and Saint Francis's holiness. For a first, then a second, and a third night he had a vision of a golden cross issuing from the mouth of Francis. Its top touched the heavens and its arms, extended on each side, seemed to reach to the ends of the earth. Because of this, touched by the Lord, he took all his goods and gave them to the poor. Afterwards he became a Lesser Brother of such holiness and grace that he used to speak with God as friend with friend, as Saint Francis often experienced, as will be evident below.

44 After Lord Bernard dispersed everything for the Lord, having become entirely a gospel poor man, he gained such grace from God that he was often caught up to God. Saint Francis declared that he was worthy of all reverence and used to say that he had founded the Order because, by distributing everything to the poor, he was the first to inaugurate evangelical poverty. He kept nothing at all for himself, but offered himself naked to the arms of the Crucified Who is the Lord blessed for ever. Rom 9:5




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 438