The Assisi Compilation - 211 

excuses saying that, because of large number, this cannot be observed by the brothers. In fact, many brothers believe that the people are more edified by these ways than by those mentioned, and, it seems to them, more fitting to live and behave according to these ways. Therefore, they consider worthless the way of simplicity and poverty, which were the beginning and foundation of our religion. Thinking this over, we believe that they displease you, but we really wonder why, if they displease you, you tolerate them and do not correct them."

"May the Lord forgive you," blessed Francis said to him, "for wanting to be against me and opposed to me and involve me in these things that do not pertain to my office." And he said: "As long as I held office for the brothers, and they remained faithful to their calling and profession, and, although I was ill from the beginning of my conversion to Christ, with a little of my care, I satisfied them by my example and preaching. But afterwards I realized that the Lord multiplied the number of the brothers daily and that through tepidity and lack of spirit they began to turn away from the straight and sure way on which they used to walk and take, as you said, a broad way, without paying attention to their profession and calling and good example, or would not give up the journey that had already begun despite my preaching and my example. I entrusted the religion to the Lord and to the ministers. When I renounced and gave up among the brothers, I excused myself before the brothers at the general chapter saying that, because of my illness I could not take care of them and care for them. And yet, if the brothers had walked and were still walking according to my will, for their consolation I would not want them to have any other minister except me until the day of my death. As long as a faithful and good subject knows and observes the will of his prelate, then the prelate has to have little concern about him. Rather, I would be so happy at the goodness of the brothers and be so consoled, both on their account and my own, that even if I were lying sick in bed, it would not be considered a burden to me to satisfy them."

He said: "My office, that is, a prelacy over the brothers, is spiritual, because I must overcome vices and correct them. Therefore, if I cannot overcome and correct them by preaching and example, I do not want to become an executioner who beats and scourges, like a power of this world. I trust in the Lord; invisible enemies, the Lord's police, who punish in this world and in the next those who transgress the commandments of God, will take revenge on them, having corrected men of this world, and thus they will return to their profession and calling.




Compilatio Assisiensis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1648-1650

propter multitudinem, non posse hoc observari a fratribus. 6Immo multi fratres de hiis magis quam de supradictis credunt inde populum hedificari, et ipsis videtur magis honeste propter ista vivere et conversari; 7unde quasi pro nichilo reputant viam simplicitatis et huiusmodi paupertatis que fuerunt initium et fundamentum nostre Religionis. 8Quapropter, hec considerantes, credimus quod tibi displiceant; sed plurimum admiramur, si tibi displicent, cur sustines et non corrigis ».

9Beatus Franciscus dixit ad eum: « Dominus indulgeat tibi, frater, quoniam. vis esse michi contrarius et adversarius et me implicare in hiis, q ue non pertinent ad officium meum ». 10Et ait: « Usquequo habui officium fratrum, et fratres manserunt in vocatione et professione sua, licet a principio mee conversionis ad Christum infirmitius fuerim, cum parva mea sollicitudine eis satisfaciebam exemplo et predicatione. 11Sed postquam consideravi quod Dominus fratrum numerum multiplicaret cotidie et quod ipsi, propter tepiditatem et inopiam spiritus, a via recta et secura per quam soliti erant ambulare, declinare inciperent, 12et per ampliorem viam, sicut dixisti, incedere, non attendentes suam professionem et vocationem et bonum exemplum, 13nec dimittere iter quod iam ceperant propter predicationem meam et exemplum meum, recommendavi Domino et ministris fratrum Religionem. 14Quoniam licet tempore quo renuntiavi et dimisi officium fratrum, coram fratribus me excusarem in capitulo generali, quod propter infirmitatem meam de ipsis curam et sollicitudinem habere non possem, 15tamen modo, si secundum voluntatem meam fratres ambularent et ambulassent, propter ipsorum consolationem nollem, quod alium ministrum haberent preter me, usque in diem mortis mee. 16Quoniam ex quo fidelis et bonus subditus volutatem sui prelati cognoscit et observat, parvam sollicitudinem prelatum oportet habere de illo. 17Immo tantum gauderem de fratrum bonitate et consolatus essem propter lucrum meum et lucrum ipsorum, quod, si iacerem in lecto infirmus, non gravaret me satisfacere eis ».

18Et ait: « Meum officium est spirituale, videlicet prelatio super fratres, quia debeo dominari vitiis et ea emendare. 19Unde, si vitiis dominari et ea emendare non possum predicatione et exemplo, nolo carnifex fieri ad percutiendum et flagellandum, sicut potestas huius seculi. 20Quoniam confido in Domino, quod adhuc inimici invisibiles, qui sunt castaldi Domini ad puniendum in hoc seculo et in futuro eos, qui transgrediuntur mandata Dei, sument de illis vindictam, facientes eos corrigi ab hominibus huius seculi in improperium et verecundiam ipsorum, et revertentur ad professionem et vocationem suam.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 211