Sacred Exchange between St. Francis & Lady Poverty - 529 

The Sacred Exchange between Saint Francis and Lady Poverty

[Prologue]

1Among the other outstanding and exceptional virtues which prepare in us an abode and a dwelling for God and which show an excellent and unencumbered path 1 Cor 13:1 of going to and arriving before Him, holy Poverty shines with a certain prerogative before them all.a By a unique grace, it excels the claims of the others. For it is the foundation and guardian of all virtues and enjoys a principal place and name among the gospel virtues. As long as they have been firmly placed on this foundation, the others need not fear the downpour of rains, the rush of floods, and the blast of winds Mt 7:25 that threaten ruin.

2This is certainly appropriate since the Son of God, the Lord of virtue and the King of glory, Ps 24:10 [Vulgate, Ps 23:10] fell in love with this virtue with a special affection. He sought, found, and embraced it while achieving our salvation in the middle of the earth. Ps 74:12 [Vulgate, Ps 73:12] At the beginning of his preaching he placed it as a light of faith in the hands of those entering the gate, and even set it as the foundation stone of the house. While the other virtues receive the kingdom of heaven only by way of promise from Him, poverty is invested with it by Him without delay. Blessed, he said, are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs. Mt 5:3

3The kingdom of heaven truly belongs to those who, of their own will, a spiritual intention, and a desire for eternal goods, possess nothing of this earth. It is necessary for those who do not care for the goods of the earth to live for those of heaven. Just as it is necessary for those who renounce the things of the earth and consider them all as dung Phil 3:8 to taste with pleasure during this present exile the sweet crumbs which fall from the table Mt 15:27 of the holy angels. Thus might they merit to savor how sweet and delightful is the Lord. 1 Pt 2:3

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Sacrum commercium sancti Francisci cum domina Paupertate, Fontes Franciscani, p.


Incipit Sacrum commercium sancti Francisci cum domina Paupertate

Prologus

1Inter ceteras preclaras et precipuas virtutes, que in homine locum et mansionem preparant Deo ac ad ipsum eundi et perveniendi viam excellentiorem et expeditiorem ostendunt, sancta Paupertas quadam prerogativa omnibus eminet et singulari gratia aliarum titulos antecellit, 2quoniam fundamentum omnium virtutum et custos ipsa est et inter alias virtutes evangelicas loco merito et nomine principatur. 3Non est proinde quod cetere timeant descensum pluvie, adventum fluminum et ventorum flatum ruinam comminantem, si super hanc basim fuerint stabilite;

4et merito quidem, cum Filius Dei, Dominus virtutum et Rex glorie, speciali dilectione hanc adamaverit, quesierit, invenerit ac tenuerit, operans salutem in medio terre. 5Hanc in exordio predicationis sue velut lumen fidei portam intrantibus posuit et tamquam lapidem in fundamento domus primo iecit; et regnum celorum, quod alie virtutes in promissione accipiunt ab ipso, hec de ipso sine dilatione aliqua investitur. 6Beati, inquit, pauperes spiritu, quoniam ipsorum est regnum celorum.

7Digne prorsus eorum est regnum celorum qui nihil possident de terreno voluntate propria, spirituali intentione et desiderio eternorum. 8Vivat necesse est de celestibus qui de terrenis non curat, et dulces micas, que cadunt de mensa sanctorum angelorum, in presenti exilio felici palato deglutiat 9qui, terrenis omnibus renuntians, omnia velut stercora reputat, ut gustare mereatur quam dulcis et suavis est Dominus.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 529

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