The Assisi Compilation - 185 

Blessed Francis lay there for more than fifty days, and was unable to bear the light of the sun during the day or the light of a fire at night. He stayed in the dark in the house, inside that little cell. In addition, day and night he had great pains in his eyes so that at night he could scarcely rest or sleep. This was very harmful and was a serious aggravation for his eye disease and his other illnesses.a

Sometimes he did want to rest and sleep, but there were many mice in the house and in the little cell made of mats where he was lying, in one part of the house. They were running around him, and even over him, and would not let him sleep. They even disturbed him greatly at the time of prayer. They bothered him not only at night, but also during the day, even climbing up on his table when he was eating, so much so that his companions, and he himself, considered it a temptation of the devil, which it was.

One night as blessed Francis was reflecting on all the troubles he was enduring, he was moved by piety for himself. "Lord," he said to himself, "make haste to help me in my illnesses, so that I may be able to bear them patiently." And suddenly he was told in spirit: "Tell me, brother, what if, in exchange for your illnesses and troubles, someone were to give you a treasure? And it would be so great and precious that, even if the whole earth were changed to pure gold, all stones to precious stones, and all water to balsam, you would still judge and hold all these things as nothing, as if they were earth, stones and water, in comparison to the great and precious treasure which was given you. Wouldn't you greatly rejoice?"

"Lord," blessed Francis answered, "this treasure would indeed be great, worth seeking, very precious, greatly lovable, and desirable."

"Then, brother," he was told, "be glad and rejoice in your illnesses and troubles, because as of now, you are as secure as if you were already in my kingdom."

The next morning on rising, he said to his companions: "If the emperor were to give a whole kingdom to one of his servants, shouldn't he greatly rejoice? But, what if it were the whole empire, wouldn't he rejoice even more?" And he said to them: "I must rejoice greatly in my illnesses and troubles and be consoled in the Lord, giving thanks always to God the Father, to His only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the Holy Spirit for such a great grace and blessing. In His mercy He




Compilatio Assisiensis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1596-1597

8Cumque iaceret ibi beatus Franciscus usque ad quinquaginta dies et plus, non potuit lumen diei videre de die nec de nocte lumen ignis, sed semper in domo et in cellula illa manebat in obscuro; 9insuper et magnos dolores in oculis die noctuque habebat, ita quod de nocte quiescere et dormire fere non poterat: quod erat valde contrarium et magnum gravamen infirmitati oculorum et aliis eius infirmitatibus.

10Immo etiam si aliquando vellet quiescere et dormire, tot mures erant in domo et in cellula ubi iacebat, que erat facta ex storiis ex una parte illius domus, euntes [et] discurrentes supra ipsum et in circuitu eius, quod non sinebant ipsum dormire. 11Immo tempore orationis valde impediebant ipsum; 12et non solum de nocte, sed etiam de die nimis tribulabant ipsum, ita ut, etiam quando comederet, ascenderent super mensam eius ita ut socii eius et ipsemet considerarent quod esset temptatio diabolica, sicut et fuit.

13Unde quadam nocte considerans beatus Franciscus quod tot tribulationes haberet, pietate motus est erga semetipsum et intra se dixit: « Domine, in auxilium me respice a super infirmitates meas, ut patienter valeam tolerare ». 14Et subito in spiritu dictum est illi: « Dicas michi, frater: si quis pro hiis tuis infirmitatibus et tribulationibus tam magnum et pretiosum thesaurum tibi daret, quod si tota terra esset purum aurum, omnes lapides essent lapides pretiosi, et aqua tota esset balsamum, 15tamen tu pro nichilo hec omnia reputares et haberes, ac si essent materiales: terra, lapides et aqua, in comparatione magni et pretiosi thesauri qui tibi darentur. 16Nonne multum gauderes? ».

17Et respondit beatus Franciscus: « Magnus esset, Domine, thesaurus iste et investigabilis, pretiosus valde et nimis amabilis et desiderabilis ».

18Et ait illi: « Ergo, frater, iocundare et iubila satis in tuis infirmitatibus et tribulationibus, quoniam de cetero ita secure te habeas ac si iam esses in regno meo ».

19Et surgens mane dixit sociis suis: « Si imperator alicui suo servo integrum regnum daret, nonne multum deberet gaudere? Sed si totum imperium, nonne multo magis gauderet? ». 20Et ait illis: « Ergo me oportet multum gaudere amodo infirmitatibus meis et tribulationibus et in Domino confortari et gratias semper agere Deo Patri et unico Filio eius Domino nostro Iesu Christo et Spiritui Sancto de tanta michi facta gratia et benedictione, quod scilicet viventem adhuc in carne, per misericordiam suam de regno me servulum suum indignum,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 185