The Assisi Compilation - 186 

has given me, His unworthy little servant still living in the flesh, the promise of His kingdom.

"Therefore for His praise, for our consolation and for the edification of our neighbor, I want to write a new Praise of the Lord for his creatures, which we use every day, and without which we cannot live. Through them the human race greatly offends the Creator, and every day we are ungrateful for such great graces, because we do not praise, as we should, our Creator and the Giver of all good."

Sitting down, he began to meditate and then said: "Most High, all-powerful, good Lord." He composed a melody for these words and taught it to his companions so they could repeat it. For his spirit was then in such sweetness and consolation, that he wanted to send for Brother Pacifico, who in the world was called "The King of Verses," and was a very courtly master of singers. He wanted to give him a few good and spiritual brothers to go through the world preaching and praising God.

He said that he wanted one of them who knew how to preach, first to preach to the people. After the sermon, they were to sing the Praises of the Lord as minstrels of the Lord. After the praises, he wanted the preacher to tell the people: "We are minstrels of the Lord, and this is what we want as payment: that you live in true penance."

He used to say: "What are the servants of God if not His minstrels, who must move people's hearts and lift them up to spiritual joy?" And he said this especially to the Lesser Brothers, who had been given to the people for their salvation.

The Praises of the Lord that he composed, that is, "Most High, all-powerful, good Lord," he called "The Canticle of Brother Sun," who is more beautiful than all other creatures and can be most closely compared to God.

He used to say: "At dawn, when the sun rises, everyone should praise God, who created it, because through it the eyes are lighted by day. And in the evening, when it becomes night, everyone should praise God for another creature, Brother Fire, because through it the eyes are lighted at night."

He said: "For we are all like blind people, and the Lord lights up our eyes through these two creatures. Because of this, we must always praise the glorious Creator for these and for His other creatures which we use every day."

He did this and continued to do this gladly, whether he was healthy or sick. And he encouraged others to praise the Lord. Indeed, when his illness grew more serious, he himself began to say the Praises of the Lord, and afterwards had his companions sing it, so that




Compilatio Assisiensis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1597-1599

quod scilicet viventem adhuc in carne, per misericordiam suam de regno me servulum suum indignum, dignatus est certificare.

21Unde volo ad laudem eius et ad nostram consolationem et ad hedificationem proximi facere nova[m] Laudem Domini de suis creaturis, quibus cotidie utimur et sine quibus vivere non possumus, 22et in quibus humanum genus multum offendit Creatorem, et cotidie sumus ingrati tante gratie, quia inde nostrum Creatorem et datorem omnium bonorum sicut deberemus non laudamus ».

23Et sedens cepit meditari et postea dicere: « Altissimo, omnipotente, bon Segnore ». 24Et fecit cantum in ipsis et docuit socios suos ut dicerent. 25Nam spiritus eius erat tunc in tanta dulcedine et consolatione, quod volebat mittere pro fratre Pacifico, qui in seculo vocabatur rex versuum et fuit valde curialis doctor cantorum, et dare sibi aliquos fratres bonos et spirituales, ut irent per mundum predicando et laudando Deum.

26Nam volebat et dicebat, quod prius aliquis illorum predicaret populo, qui sciret predicare, et post predicationem cantarent Laudes Domini tamquam ioculatores Domini. 27Finitis Laudibus, volebat ut predicator populo diceret: « Nos sumus ioculatores Domini et in hiis volumus a vobis remunerari, scilicet ut stetis in vera penitentia ».

28Et dicebat: « Quid enim sunt servi Dei nisi quodammodo quidam ioculatores eius, qui corda hominum movere debent et erigere ad letitiam spiritualem? ». 29Et specialiter de fratribus Minoribus dicebat, qui populo pro ipsius salvatione dati fuerunt.

30Nam Laudes Domini quas fecit, videlicet: Altissimo, omnipotente, bon Segnore, imponens illis vocavit nomen Canticum fratris Solis, qui est pulchrior omnibus aliis creaturis et magis Deo assimilari potest.

31Unde dicebat: « In mane cum oritur sol, omnis homo deberet laudare Deum qui creavit ipsum, quia per ipsum oculi de die illuminantur; 32in sero cum fit nox, omnis homo deberet laudare Deum propter aliam creaturam fratrem ignem, quia per ipsum oculi nostri de nocte illuminantur ».

33Et ait: « Omnes sumus quasi ceci, et Dominus per istas duas creaturas illuminat oculos nostros; 34propter quod de hiis et aliis creaturis suis quibus cotidie utimur, specialiter ipsum gloriosum Creatorem semper laudare debemus ».

35Quod in sua sanitate et infirmitate libenter fecit et faciebat, et alios libenter commonuit ad laudandum Dominum. 36Immo cum gravabatur infirmitate, ipsemet incipiebat dicere Laudes Domini, et postea faciebat cantare socios suos, ut in consideratione laudis Domini oblivisci posset dolorum et infirmitatum acerbitatem.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 186