Sacred Exchange between St. Francis & Lady Poverty - 530 

This is the true investiture of the kingdom of heaven, the assurance of an eternal possession in that kingdom, and a kind of holy foretaste of future beatitude.a

4At the beginning of his conversion, therefore, blessed Francis, as the Savior's true imitator and disciple, gave himself with all eagerness, all longing, all determination to searching for, finding, and embracing holy poverty. He did so neither wavering under adversity nor fearing injury, neither shirking effort nor shunning bodily discomfort, in order to achieve his desire: to reach her to whom the Lord had entrusted the keys of the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed Francis Asks about Poverty

5He eagerly began to go about the streets and piazzas of the city, as a curious explorer diligently looking for her whom his soul loved. Sg 3:2 He asked those standing about, inquired of those who came near him: "Have you seen her whom my soul loves?" Sg 3:3 But that saying was hidden from them Lk 18:24 as though it was barbaric. Not understanding him, they told him: "We do not know what you're saying. Speak to us in our own language 2 Kgs 4:31 and we will answer you."

At that time there was no voice and no sense 2 Kgs 4:31 among Adam's children of being willing to converse with or to speak to anyone about poverty. They hated it with a vengeance, as they do even today, and could not speak peacefully Gn 37:4 to anyone asking about it. Therefore, they answered him as they would a stranger and declared that they did not know anything of what he was seeking.b

6"I will go to the best and to the wise," blessed Francis said, "and I will speak with them. For they have known the way of the Lord and the judgment of their God, Jer 5:5 because those others are poor and stupid, ignorant of the way of the Lord and of the judgment of their God." Jer 5:4

After he had said this, these men answered him more harshly: "What kind of doctrine is this you are bringing to our ears? May the poverty you seek always be with you, your children and your seed Gn 13:15 after you. As for us, however, let it be our good fortune to enjoy delights and to

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


10Que vera regni celorum investitio est et eterne possessionis in eodem regno securitas, ac future beatitudinis quedam prelibatio sancta.

11Propterea beatus Franciscus, tamquam verus imitator et discipulus Salvatoris, in conversionis sue principio ad sanctam paupertatem querendam, inveniendam atque tenendam omni studio, omni desiderio, omni deliberatione se dedit, 12nil dubitans adversi, nil sinistri timens, nullum subterfugiens laborem, nullam corporis declinans angustiam, si tandem optio sibi daretur ut posset pervenire ad eam, cui Dominus tradidit claves regni celorum.

Capitulum 1 Beatus Franciscus interrogat de Paupertate.

1Cepit sedule velut curiosus explorator circuire vicos et plateas civitatis, diligenter querens quam diligebat anima sua. 2Interrogabat stantes, percunctabatur advenientes, sic dicens: "Num, quam diligit anima mea vidistis?." 3Sed erat verbum istud absconditum ab eis, et velut barbarum. Non intelligentes eum, dicebant ei: "O homo, nescimus quid loquaris. Loquere nobis in lingua nostra et respondebimus tibi."

4Non erat in die illa filiis Adam vox neque sensus, ut de paupertate vellent conferre ad invicem aut loqui. 5Oderant eam vehementer sicut et hodie faciunt, nec poterant de ipsa querenti quidquam pacifice loqui propterea velut ignoto respondent, et de quesitis aliquid se nescire testantur.

6"Ibo" inquit beatus Franciscus "ad optimates et sapientes et loquar eis. 7Ipsi enim cognoverunt viam Domini et iudicium Dei sui, quia isti forsitan pauperes sunt et stulti, ignorantes viam Domini et iudicium Dei Sui."

8Quo facto ipsi durius responderunt ei, dicentes: "Que nova est hec doctrina, quam infers auribus nostris? Paupertas enim, quam queris, semper tibi sit et filiis tuis et semini tuo post te! 9Nobis autem sedet deliciis perfrui et abundare divitiis, quoniam exiguum et cum tedio est tempus vite nostre, et non est refrigerium infine hominis.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 530

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