The Assisi Compilation - 199 

and ask them for alms for the love of God. The Holy Spirit will inspire them and you will find abundance."

So they went and begged alms, as the holy father told them to do. With the greatest joy, those men and women offered them generously whatever they had. Overjoyed, they came back to blessed Francis telling him what had happened to them.

They held this as a great miracle, considering that what he told them had come true to the letter.

For blessed Francis held that to beg for alms for the love of the Lord God was of very great nobility, dignity, and courtesy before God and before the world. He held this because, everything that the heavenly Father has created for a human's use, after the sin, He has given freely, as alms, both to the worthy and the unworthy on account of the love of His beloved Son.

Therefore blessed Francis would say that a servant of God must beg alms for the love of God with greater freedom and joy than someone, who, out of courtesy and generosity, wants to buy something, and goes around saying: "Whoever will give me a penny, I will give him a hundred silver pieces, nay, a thousand times more." Because a servant of God offers the love of God which a person merits when he gives alms; in comparison to which, all things in this world and even those in heaven are nothing.

Therefore, before the brothers became numerous—and even after they grew in number—when blessed Francis went through the world preaching, and some noble and wealthy person invited him to eat and lodge with him, since as yet there were no places of residence of the brothers in many cities and towns, he would always go begging for alms at mealtime. He did this, even though he knew that his host had abundantly prepared everything he needed for the love of God, to give a good example to the brothers and because of the nobility and dignity of Lady Poverty. Sometimes he would say to his host: "I do not want to renounce my royal dignity, my heritage, my vocation, and my profession and that of my brothers, that is, to go begging alms. Even if I were to bring no more than three alms, I always want to exercise my responsibility."

And so he used to go begging alms,a and, the one who invited him would unwillingly sometimes go with him. The alms that Francis acquired, he would accept and place them as relics out of his devotion.

He who writes has seen this many times, and bears witness to it.




Compilatio Assisiensis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1624-1626

et queratis eis amore Dei helemosinas, et Spiritus Sanctus inspirabit eis et habundanter invenietis ».

12Iverunt ergo et petierunt helemosinas, sicut dixerat eis sanctus pater, et habundanter de rebus quas habebant homines illi et mulieres cum hilari[ta]te maxima exhibuerunt illis. 13Et reversi sunt plurimum gaudentes ad beatum Franciscum narrantes ei sicut illis acciderat.

14Unde pro magno miraculo habuerunt, considerantes quod ad litteram verum fuit sicut illis predixerat.

15Nam beatus Franciscus pro maxima nobilitate, dignitate et curialitate secundum Deum et etiam secundum seculum istud habebat, scilicet petere helemosinas amore Domini Dei: 16quoniam omnia, que Pater celestis pro utilitate hominis creavit, propter amorem dilecti Filii sui dignis et indignis gratis, pro helemosina, concessa sunt post peccatum.

17Unde dicebat beatus Franciscus quod magis libere et cum hilaritate servus Dei helemosinas amore Domini Dei petere debet quam ille qui pro sua curialitate et largitate, cum vellet aliquid emere, iret dicendo: 18« Quicumque dabit michi talem nummatam, dabo sibi centum marchas argenti, immo milies plus: 19quoniam servus Dei offert amorem Dei quem meretur homo qui facit helemosinas, in cuius comparatione omnia que sunt in hoc seculo nichil sunt, et etiam que in celo ».

20Unde antequam fratres essent multiplicati [ac etiam postquam multiplicati] fuerunt, cum iret per mundum predicando beatus Franciscus, cum aliquis nobilis et dives homo cum devotione rogaret ipsum ut comederet in domo sua et apud ipsum hospitaretur, 21quoniam in multis civitatibus et castris ad quos ibat predicaturus tempore suo non erant loca fratrum, 22licet nosset quod ille, qui invitaret ipsum, omnia necessaria corporis habundanter amore Domini Dei preparasset, tamen ipse propter bonum exemplum fratrum et propter nobilitatem et dignitatem domine paupertatis in hora comestionis ibat pro helemosina, 23ac aliquando dicebat illi qui invitaverat ipsum: « Ego nolo dimittere dignitatem meam regalem et hereditatem et vocationem et professionem meam et fratrum Minorum, 24videlicet ire pro helemosina, etiamsi non amplius apportarem quam tres helemosinas, quoniam volo exercere officium meum ».

25Et sic [ipso] nolente, ibat pro helemosinis, et ille qui invitaverat ipsum ibat cum ipso, et helemosinas quas acquirebat beatus Franciscus accipiebat et pro reliquiis propter eius devotionem reponebat.

26Qui scripsit vidit multotiens et perhibuit testimonium.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 199