The Assisi Compilation - 182 

Together with Brother Peter of Catanio, whom he chose as the first general minister, and with a few other brothers, he entered the church of San Rufino, going into the confessio.a He ordered Brother Peter to obey and not contradict whatever he wanted to say and do to himself. And Brother Peter said to him: "Brother, in what concerns you and me, I cannot, and should not want anything else except what pleases you."

Taking off his tunic, blessed Francis ordered Brother Peter to lead him naked with a rope tied around his neck in front of the people. He ordered another brother to take a bowl full of ashes and, mounting the place from where he had preached, to throw them and sprinkle them on his head. But moved by piety and compassion towards him, the brother did not obey him. Brother Peter got up and, weeping bitterly with the other brothers, led him out as he had been ordered to do.

In this way he came back in front of the people naked, to the place where he had preached, and said: "You believe me to be a holy man, as do others who, following my example, leave the world and enter the religion and life of the brothers. But I confess to God and to you that during my illness I ate meat and broth flavored with meat."

Almost all the people began to weep out of piety and compassion for him, especially since it was wintertime and was very cold and he had not yet recovered from the quartan fever. They struck their breasts, accusing themselves. "This holy man," they said, "whose life we know, accuses himself with such shame over a just and manifest necessity. Yet because of excessive abstinence and the severity with which he treats his body from the moment of his conversion to Christ, we see him living in flesh that is almost dead. What shall we do, wretches that we are, we who all our life have lived, and wish to live, according to the will and desires of the flesh?"


Likewise, at another time, he was staying in a hermitage for the Lent of Saint Martin.b Because of his illness, the brothers cooked the food they gave him to eat in lard, because oil was very bad for him in




Compilatio Assisiensis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1590-1592

4Et intrans in ecclesiam Sancti Ruphini in confessione cum fratre Petro Cathanii, qui primus minister generalis electus fuit ab ipso, et cum aliis quibusdam fratribus, precepit fratri Petro ut quicquid vellet sibi de se dicere et facere, obediret sibi et non contradiceret ei. 5Et ait ei frater Petrus: « Frater, nec possum nec debeo aliud velle nisi quod tibi placet de me et te ».

6Et exuens se tunicam beatus Franciscus precepit fratri Petro, ut duceret eum cum corda quam habebat in collo nudum coram populo, et alii fratri precepit ut acciperet unam scutellam plenam cinere et ascenderet locum ubi predicaverat et prohiceret et spargeret cinerem illum super caput eius; 7sed frater ille ex pietate et compassione, qua motus est super ipsum, sibi non obedivit. 8Et surgens frater Petrus ducebat illum, sicut illi preceperat, fortiter plangendo et alii fratres cum ipso.

9Et factum est dum reversus fuisset ita nudus coram populo ad locum ubi predicaverat, dixit: « Vos creditis me esse sanctum hominem et alii, qui meo exemplo seculum derelinquunt, et intrant Religionem fratrum et vitam. 10Sed Deo et vobis confiteor, quoniam in ista mea infirmitate comedi carnem et brodium carnium conditum ».

11Et ceperunt fere omnes plangere ex pietate et compassione ipsius, maxime quia tunc erat magnum frigus et tempus hiemale et nondum erat a febre quartana liberatus. 12Et percutiebant pectora sua accusantes seipsos et dicentes: « Si iste sanctus de iusta et manifesta necessitate cum tanta verecundia corporis se accusat, 13cuius vitam novimus, quem propter superfluitatem abstinentie et austeritatem quam habuit ab initio sue conversionis ad Christum contra corpus suum cernimus vivum in carne iam quasi premortua, 14quid faciemus et nos miseri qui toto tempore vite nostre viximus et voluimus vivere secundum voluntatem et desideria carnis? ».


1Similiter quodam tempore, cum mansit apud quoddam heremitorium per quadragesimam sancti Martini et fratres propter eius infirmitatem condirent de lardo cibaria que sibi dabant ad comedendum, maxime quia oleum in suis infirmitatibus erat valde contrarium,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 182