The Assisi Compilation - 225 

him. "Brother," blessed Francis told him, "the demons have beaten me severely so I want you to stay next to me because I am afraid to stay here alone." His companion stayed by him the whole night for blessed Francis trembled all over like a man suffering a fever. Both of them remained awake that whole night.

During that time, blessed Francis talked with his companion: "Why did the devils beat me? Why has the Lord given them the power to harm me?"

And he began to say: "The devils are the police of our Lord. Just as the podestà sends his police to punish a wrong-doer, in the same way, the Lord punishes and corrects those whom He loves through the demons, who are His police and act as His ministers in this office. "Even a perfect religious very often sins in ignorance. Consequently if he does not realize his sin, he is punished by the devil so that he may see and carefully reflect internally and externally because of that punishment how he may have offended. For in this life the Lord leaves nothing unpunished in those whom He loves tenderly. By the mercy and grace of God, I do not know if I have offended Him in any way which I have not corrected by confession and satisfaction. Indeed the Lord in His mercy granted me this gift. He makes me understand through prayer any way in which I please or displease Him.

"It seems to me that it could be that the Lord punished me through His police because, although the Lord Cardinal gladly does this mercy to me and my body needs to accept, and I can accept it from him confidently, nevertheless, my brothers, who go through the world suffering hunger and many hardships, and other brothers who stay in poor little houses and hermitages, may have an occasion for grumbling against me when they hear that I am staying with the lord cardinal: 'We are enduring so many hardships while he is having his comforts,' I am bound always to give them good example; because I was given to them, especially for this. For the brothers are more edified when I stay in poor little places among them rather than in other places. When they hear and know that I am bearing the same trials, they endure theirs with greater patience."

Blessed Francis was always sickly. Even in the world he was by nature a frail and weak man, and he grew more sickly until the day of his death, yet he considered that he should show a good example to the brothers and always take away from them any occasion for complaining about him, so the brothers could not say: "He has all he needs, but we don't."

Whether he was healthy or sick, until the day of his death, he wanted to endure so much need, that if any of the brothers who




Compilatio Assisiensis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1680-1681

19Et statim surrexit et ivit ad eum. 20Et ait ad eum beatus Franciscus: « Frater, verberaverunt me demones valde: unde volo quod maneas iuxta me, quoniam timeo hic stare solus ». 21Et mansit iuxta illum socius eius per totam noctem. 22Nam totus tremebat beatus Franciscus, quasi homo qui patitur febrem; et ambo vigilaverunt per totam noctem illam.

23Interim loquebatur beatus Franciscus cum socio suo dicens: « Quare verberaverunt me demones et data est illis potestas a a Domino malefaciendi michi? ».

24Et cepit dicere: « Demones sunt castaldi Domini nostri. Sicut potestas, cum aliquis offendit, mittit castaldum suum ad puniendum ipsum, sic Dominus quos diligit per castaldos suos, videlicet per demones, qui in hoc ministerio sunt eius ministri, corripit et castigat. 25Multotiens enim ignoranter peccat etiam perfectus religiosus ». 26« Unde cum non cognoscit peccatum suum, castigatur a diabolo, ut videat et consideret propter illam castigationem diligenter interius et exterius ea in quibus offendit, quia quos diligit Dominus tenere in presenti vita, nichil in ipsos relinquit inultum . 27Ego vero per misericordiam et gratiam Dei non cognosco in aliquo me offendisse, quod per confessionem et satisfationem non emendaverim . 28Immo etiam per misericordiam suam hoc donum contulit michi, ut de omnibus in quibus placere debeam et displicere, in oratione michi cognitionem tribuit.

29Sed potest esse ut michi videtur, quod ideo Dominus per castaldos suos me castigaverit quia, licet dominus cardinalis libenter michi faciat misericordiam et corpori meo sit necesse recipere et confidenter ab eo recipere valeam, 30fratres mei, qui vadunt per mundum sustinendo famem et multam tribulationem et alii fratres qui permanent in pauperculis domibus et heremitoriis, cum audierint quod maneo apud dominum cardinalem, occasionem murmurandi adversum me habere poterunt, dicentes: 31Nos sustinemus tot necessitates et ipse habet consolationes suas. 32Unde semper teneor illis dare bonum exemplum, maxime quia in hoc sum datus illis. 33Nam magis hedificantur fratres, cum maneo in pauperculis locis inter ipsos, quam in aliis locis; et cum maiori patientia suas tribulationes supportant, cum audiunt et sciunt idem me supportare ».

34Et licet infirmus fuisset semper beatus Franciscus, quoniam in seculo fuit fragilis et debilis homo secundum naturam et cotidie usque ad diem mortis sue, eo quod esset infirmior, 35tamen considerabat ut fratribus exhiberet bonum exemplum et ut occasionem murmurandi semper de se tolleret eis, videlicet ut non possent fratres dicere: 36Ipse habet necessitates suas, et nos non habemus.

37Quia in sanitate eius et infirmitate, usque ad diem mortis, tot voluit pati necessitates, 38quod quicumque fratrum scirent sicut nos,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 225