The Life of Blessed Francis - 571 

can still have sons and daughters. No one should be praised as long as his end is uncertain." This he would say to those who praised him; but to himself: "Francis, if the Most High had given so much to a thief, he would be more grateful than you!"

He would often say to the brothers: "No one should flatter himself for big applause for doing anything a sinner can do. A sinner," he said, "can fast, pray, weep, and mortify his flesh. This one thing he cannot do: be faithful to his Lord. So this is the only reason for boasting: if we return to the Lord the glory that is his, if we serve him faithfully, and credit Him for what he has given us."

4 That this Gospel merchant
would profit in many ways
and melt down all the present time into merit,
he chose not only to be under, rather than above
but also to obey, rather than command.

Therefore, resigning the office as general, he asked for a guardian whose will he would obey in all things. He maintained that the fruit of holy obedience was so abundant, that, for those who submit their necks to its yoke, no time passes without profit. Therefore he always promised obedience to the brother who customarily was with him when travelling. Once he said to his companions: "Among the many other things that divine piety has bestowed upon me, it has granted me this grace: that I would obey a novice of one hour, if he were given to me as my guardian, as diligently as I would obey the oldest and most discerning brother. A subject," he said, "must not consider in his prelate a human being, but rather Him for love of Whom he is a subject. The more contemptibly he presides, the more pleasing is the humility of the one who obeys."

One time, when they asked him who should be judged truly obedient, he suggested as an example the likeness of a dead body. "Take a lifeless corpse," he said, "and place it wherever you want! You will see that it does not resist being moved, nor complain about location, nor protest if left. Sit it on a throne, and it will look down, not up; dress it in purple, and it looks twice as pale. This," he said, "is someone truly obedient, who doesn't argue about why he's being moved; he doesn't care where he's placed, he doesn't pester you to transfer him. When raised to an office, he keeps his usual humility; the more he's honored, the more he considers himself unworthy.''a




Legenda Maior, Fontes Franciscani, p. 825-826

« Filios et filias adhuc habere possem, nolite laudare securum! 4Nemo laudandus, cuius incertus est exitus ». 5Ista quidem laudantibus; ad se autem sic: « Latroni si tanta contulisset Altissimus, gratior te foret, Francisce! ».

6Dicebat fratribus saepe: « De omni eo quod peccator potest, nemo sibi debet iniquo applausu blandiri. 7Peccator », ait, « ieiunare potest, orare, plangere carnemque propriam macerare. 8Hoc solum non potest: Domino scilicet suo esse fidelis. 9In hoc itaque gloriandum, si suam Domino gloriam reddimus, si fideliter servientes, ipsi quidquid donat, adscribimus ».

4 1Ut autem pluribus modis
negotiatior hic evangelicus lucraretur
ac totum praesens tempus conflaret in meritum,
non tam praeesse voluit quam subesse,
nec tam praecipere quam parere.

2Idcirco generali cedens officio, guardianum petiit, cuius voluntati per omnia subiaceret. 3Tam enim uberem asserebat sanctae obedientiae fructum, ut eis qui iugo ipsius colla submitterent, nil temporis sine lucro transiret. 4Unde et fratri, cum quo erat solitus ire, semper obedientiam promittere consueverat et servare. 5Dixit aliquando sociis: « Inter alia, quae dignanter pietas mihi divina concessit, hanc gratiam contulit, quod ita diligenter novitio unius horae obedirem, si mihi guardianus daretur, sicut antiquissimo et discretissimo fratri. 6Subditus », inquit, « praelatum suum non hominem considerare debet, sed illum pro cuius est amore subiectus » 7Quanto autem contemptibilior praesidet, tanto magis humilitas obedientis placet ».

8Cum vero vice quadam quaereretur ab eo, quis esset vere obediens iudicandus, corporis mortui similitudinem pro exemplo proposuit. 9« Tolle », inquit, « corpus exanime, et ubi placuerit, pone! 10Videbis non repugnare motum, non murmurare situm, non reclamare dimissum. 11Quod si statuatur in cathedra, non alta sed ima respiciet; si collocetur in purpura, duplo pallescet. 12Hic », ait, « verus obediens est, qui, cur moveatur, non diiudicat; ubi locetur non curat; ut transmutetur, non instat; 13evectus ad officium, solitam tenet humilitatem; plus honoratus plus reputat se indignum ».

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 571