The Assisi Compilation - 201 

selves, by demeaning themselves by begging alms, and by doing this kind of servile work. Therefore, I must teach by deed those who are or who will be in religion, that they might be without excuse in the eyes of God in this age and in the future.

"While I am with you, who are our Lord and Pope, and with other great and wealthy people in the eyes of the world, who for the love of the Lord God and with great kindness, not only receive me into their houses, but even compel me to do so, I do not want to be ashamed to go for alms. Indeed I want to have and hold it as a sign of great nobility, as the highest dignity and an honor to that most exalted King, who though He was Lord of all, willed for our sake to become the servant of all and, although he was rich and glorious in majesty, came as one poor and despised in our humanity. So I want all who are and will be brothers to know that I hold it a greater consolation for both soul and body when I sit at a poor little table of the brothers and see before me the meager alms they begged from door to door for the love of the Lord God, than when I sit at your table and that of other lords, set abundantly with all kinds of food, even though they are offered to me with great devotion. For the bread offered as alms is holy bread which the praise and love of God have hallowed, because when a brother goes out begging, he must first say: 'Praised and blessed be the Lord God!' Afterwards he must say: 'Give us alms for the love of the Lord God.' "

The Lord Bishop was greatly edified by the holy father's words of instruction.a He said to him: "My son, do what seems good in your eyes, for the Lord is with you and you with Him."

For the will of blessed Francis, as he often said, was that no brother should procrastinate in going for alms, so that he not be ashamed to go later on. Indeed, the greater and nobler a brother had been in the world, so much the more pleased and happy was he when he went for alms and did servile work of this sort because of good example. Thus it was in the early days.

At the religion's beginning, when the brothers were staying at Rivo Torto, there was a brother among them who prayed little, did not work, and did not want to go for alms because he was ashamed; but he would eat heartily. Giving the matter some thought, blessed Francis knew through the Holy Spirit that the man was carnal. He therefore told him: "Go on your way, Brother Fly, because you want to feed on the labor of your brothers, but wish to be idle in the work of




Compilatio Assisiensis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1628-1630

13Sunt etiam et erunt de illis qui aut verecundia detenti et propter malum exemplum dedignantur et dedignabuntur se humiliare et inclinare ad eundum pro helemosinis et facere huiusmodi servilia opera. 14Quapropter oportet me eos qui sunt et erunt in Religione opere docere ut sint inexcusabi1es in hoc seculo et in futuro coram Deo.

15Existens quidem apud vos qui estis dominus et apostolicus noster, et apud magnates et divites secundum seculum, qui propter amorem Domini Dei cum multa devotione non tantum me recipiunt in domos suas sed etiam cogunt me, nolo verecundari ire pro helemosinis; 16immo volo habere et tenere secundum Deum pro magna nobilitate et regali dignitate et honore illius summi regis, qui cum sit Dominus omnium pro nobis fieri voluit servus ommum, 17et cum esset dives et gloriosus in maiestate sua, pauper et despectus venit in humanitate nostra. 18Volo ergo quod sciant fratres qui sunt et erunt, quod pro maiori consolatione anime et corporis habeo, cum sedeo ad pauperculam mensam fratrum, 19et video coram me pauperculas helemosinas que acquiruntur ostiatim amore Domini Dei, quam cum sedeo ad vestram mensam et aliorum dominorum habundanter de omnibus cibis preparatam, licet cum devotione multa michi exhibeantur; 20panis enim helemosine est panis sanctus, quem sanctificat laus et amor Dei, quoniam cum frater vadit pro helemosina prius debet dicere: 21Laudatus et benedictus sit Dominus Deus, postea debet dicere: Facite nobis helemosinas amore Domini Dei ».

22Et plurimum fuit hedificatus dominus episcopus de collatione verborum sancti patris. 23Et dixit ad eum: « Fili, quod bonum est in oculis tuis facias, quoniam Dominus tecum est et tu cum ipso ».

24Nam voluntas beati Francisci fuit, et etiam multotiens dixit, quod frater non deberet diu stare, quin iret pro helemosina, ut non verecundaretur postea ire. 25Immo quanto magis fuisset frater nobilis et magnus in seculo, tanto magis inde erat hedificatus et letabatur, cum iret pro helemosina et faceret huiusmodi servilia opera propter bonum exemplum. 26Quod ita fiebat antiquo tempore.

27Unde in primordio Religionis, cum manerent fratres apud Rigum Tortum, erat quidam frater inter eos qui parum orabat et non laborabat et pro helemosina ire nolebat, quoniam verecundabatur, sed bene comedebat; 28quapropter considerans hoc beatus Franciscus cognovit per Spiritum Sanctum, quod erat carnalis homo; 29unde dixit ad eum: « Vade viam tuam, frater musca, quoniam vis comedere laborem fratrum tuorum, et vis esse otiosus in opere Dei,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 201