The Assisi Compilation - 151 

since in the world he had been a refined man, and of a weak constitution; and he had become weaker from the day when he left the world because of the excessive fasting and suffering he endured.

He considered that he could not bear so much labor, and that they were called to this, even though they would be ashamed, and did not fully understand; but neither had they been discerning enough to tell him: "We want to go for alms." So he talked to them. "My dearest brothers and sons, don't be ashamed to go for alms, because the Lord for our sake made Himself poor in this world 2 Cor 8:9 . Therefore, because of His example, we have chosen the way of the most genuine poverty and that of His most holy Mother.a This is our inheritance, which the Lord Jesus Christ acquired and bequeathed to us and to all who want to live in holy poverty according to His example." And he told them: "I tell you the truth: many of the noblest and wisest of this world will come to this congregation and they will consider it a great honor to go for alms. Therefore, go for alms confidently with joyful hearts with the blessing of the Lord God. And you ought to go begging more willingly and with more joyful hearts than someone who is offering a hundred silver pieces in exchange for a single penny, since you are offering the love of God to those from whom you seek alms. Say to them: 'Give alms to us for the love of the Lord God: compared to this, heaven and earth are nothing!'"

They were still few in number so that he could not send them out two by two, so he sent each one separately through the towns and villages. When they returned, each one showed blessed Francis the alms he had collected, one saying to the other, "I collected more alms than you!"

This gave blessed Francis reason to rejoice, seeing them so happy and cheerful. From then on each of them more willingly asked permission to go for alms.


At that time, as Blessed Francis was with his brothers whom he had then, he was of such purity that, from the hour the Lord revealed to him that he and his brothers should live according to the form of the holy Gospel, he desired and strove to observe it to the letter during his whole lifetime.




Compilatio Assisiensis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1526-1528

maxime cum fuisset homo delicatus in seculo et debilis secundum naturam, et propter nimiam abstinentiam et afflictionem quam sustinuerat et ab illo die quo exivit de seculo esset debilior.

4Unde considerans quod tantum laborem non poterat tolerare, et quia ad hoc vocati erant, licet verecundarentur, et non plene cognoscerent, nec erant tantum discreti adhuc ut dicerent ei: « Nos volumus ire pro helemosina », dixit eis: 5« Carissimi fratres et filioli mei, nolite verecundari ire pro helemosina, quia Dominus pro nobis se fecit a pauperem in hoc mundo; 6quapropter exemplo suo elegimus viam verissime paupertatis et eius sanctissime matris. 7Hec est hereditas nostra quam nobis acquisivit et reliquit Dominus Iesus Christus et omnibus qui suo exemplo in sancta paupertate vivere volunt &raquo. 8Et ait illis: « In veritate dico vobis quod multi ex nobilioribus et sapientioribus huius seculi venient ad istam congregationem et pro magno honore habebunt ire pro helemosina. 9Ite igitur confidenter et animo gaudenti pro helemosina cum benedictione Domini Dei. 10Et magis libere et animo gaudenti ire debetis, quam ille qui de una nummata offerret centum denarios, quoniam offeretis illis amorem Dei, a quibus petieritis helemosinam, 11dicentes: Amore Domini Dei facite nobis helemosinas, cuius comparatione nichil est terra vel celum ».

12Et quia pauci adhuc erant, non poterat illos binos mittere sed unumquemque separatim misit, per illa castella et villas. 13Et factum est dum redirent, unusquisque ostendebat beato Francisco helemosinas, quas acquisiverat, dicens unus alteri: « Ego maiorem helemosinam te acquisivi ».

14Et gavisus est inde beatus Franciscus cernens illos ita hilares et iucundos. 15Et exinde unusquisque libentius petebat licentiam eundi pro helemosina.


1Eodem tempore, cum esset beatus Franciscus cum fratribus suis, quos tunc habebat, tante puritatis erat quod ab illa hora qua Dominus ei revelavit ut deberet vivere, ipse et fratres eius, secundum formam sancti Evangelii, ad litteram voluit illud et studuit observare toto tempore vite sue.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 151