The Legend of the Three Companions - 85 

preached salvation, and, according to a prophetic passage, by his salutary admonitions, brought to true peace many who had previously lived at odds with Christ and far from salvation.

27As both the truth of blessed Francis's simple teaching as well as that of his life became known to many, two years after his conversion, some men began to be moved to do penance by his examplea and, leaving all things, they joined him in life and habit. The first of these was Brother Bernard of holy memory.b

He knew well how luxuriously blessed Francis had lived in the world; now he observed his constancy and zeal in the divine service, how, in particular, he was restoring dilapidated churches with a great deal of work, and what an austere life he was leading. He planned wholeheartedly to give everything he possessed to the poor, and, with determination, to join him in life and garb.

Therefore, one day approaching the man of God in secret, he disclosed his plan to him, and arranged to have him come that evening to his home. Thanking God, for he did not then have a companion, blessed Francis was overjoyed, especially since Lord Bernard was a person of great stature.

28On the appointed evening, blessed Francis came to his house, his heart filled with great joy, and spent that whole night with him. Among many things, Lord Bernard said to him: "If, for many years, someone holds on to the possessions, many or few, he has acquired from his lord, and no longer wishes to keep them, what is the better thing for him to do with them?" Blessed Francis answered that he must give back to the lord what was received from him. And Lord Bernard said: "Then, brother, I want to give away all my worldly goods for the love of my Lord who gave them to me, as it seems best to you." The saint told him: "We will go to the church early in the morning and, through the book of the Gospels, we will learn how the Lord instructed his disciples."

Rising at daybreak, then, together with another man named Peter, who also wanted to become a brother, they went to the church of San Nicolò next to the piazza of the city of Assisi.c They entered for prayer, but, because they were simple, they did not know how to find the passage in the Gospel about renunciation. They prayed devoutly that the Lord would show them his will on opening the book the first time.




Legenda Trium Sociorum, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1400-1401

praedicabat salutem, eiusque salutaribus monitis plurimi verae paci foederabantur qui discordes a Christo extiterant a salute longinqui.

27 1Innotescente autem apud multos beati Francisci tam simplicis doctrinae veritate quam vitae, coeperunt post duos annos a sua conversione viri quidam ipsius exemplo ad poenitentiam animari, et eidem, reiectis omnibus, habitu vitaque coniungi, quorum primus extitit frater Bernardus sanctae memoriae.

2Qui considerans constantiam et fervorem beati Francisci in divino servitio, quomodo scilicet cum multo labore destructas reparabat ecclesias asperamque vitam ducebat, cum sciret ipsum delicate vixisse in saeculo, proposuit in corde suo omnia quae habebat erogare pauperibus et illi, vita et habitu, firmiter adhaerere.

3Quadam ergo die secreto ad virum Dei accedens, ei suum propositum revelavit, condixitque cum illo ut tali sero veniret ad eum. 4Beatus autem Franciscus, gratias agens Deo tanquam nullum adhuc socium, habens, gavisus est valde, maxime quia dominus Bernardus erat homo aedificationis magnae.

28 1Venit ergo beatus Franciscus ad domum eius statuto sero cum magna cordis exultatione et cum illo tota illa nocte permansit. 2Cui , inter alia, dixit dominus Bernardus: « Si quis a domino suo haberet multa vel pauca quae tenuisset per multos annos et nollet ea amplius retinere, quid de ipsis agere posset quod melius esset? ». 3Beatus Franciscus respondit quod ea domino suo deberet reddere a quo eadem recepisset. 4Et dominus Bernardus ait: « Ergo, frater, omnia mea bona temporafia volo erogare amore Domini mei qui contulit ea mihi, sicut tibi videbitur melius expedire ». 5Cui sanctus dixit: « Summo mane ad ecclesiam ibimus et per evangeliorum codicem cognoscemus quomodo Dominus discipulos suos docuit ».

6Surgentes igitur mane, cum quodam alio Petro nomine qui etiam cupiebat fieri frater, venerunt ad ecclesiam Sancti Nicolai iuxta plateam civitatis Assisii. 7Quam ad orationem ingressi, quia simplices erant et nesciebant invenire verbum evangelii de renuntiatione saeculi, Dominum rogabant devote ut in prima libri apertione voluntatem suam eis ostendere dignaretur.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 85