The Life of Blessed Francis - 581 

not without reason,
what the mystery meant about the holy man.
it would seem that through those three poor women
so alike in appearance,
offering such an unusual greeting,
and disappearing so quickly,
the beauty of Gospel perfection,
consisting in poverty, chastity, and obedience
was fittingly revealed
to be shining perfectly in the man of God
in an equal way.
he had chosen to glory above all
in the privilege of poverty
which he was accustomed to call
his mother, his bride, and his lady.
In this
he desired to surpass others
because he had learned from her
to regard himself inferior to all.

Therefore if he saw someone dressed poorer than himself, immediately criticizing himself, he set out to be similar, as if contending with a rival for poverty and afraid to be overcome. It happened one day that he met a poor man on the road. When he saw the man's nakedness, his heart deeply moved, he said to his companion in a sad voice: "This man's need brings great shame on us, for we have chosen poverty for its great riches; and see, it shines more clearly in him."

7 For love of holy poverty,
the servant of almighty God
used the alms he had begged from door to door more gladly
than those offered spontaneously.a
For if he were invited by distinguished persons
and honored by a more lavish dinner,




Legenda Maior, Fontes Franciscani, p. 837-838

mysticum aliquid designari circa virum sanctum
non irrationabiliter perpenderunt.
- 5Sane
per illas tres, ut videbatur, mulieres pauperculas
sic uniformi facie occurrentes,
sic salutantes insolite,
sic subito disparentes,
evangelicae perfectionis formositas;
quantum ad castitatem scilicet, obedientiam et paupertatem,
satis convenienter ostenditur
in viro Dei pari forma perfecte fulsisse,
gloriari praeelegerit
in privilegio paupertatis,
quam modo matrem, modo sponsam, modo dominam
nominare solebat.
6In hac
caeteros cupiebat excedere,
qui ex ipsa didicerat
inferiorem se omnibus reputare.

7Si quando igitur pauperiorem se quempiam secundum exteriorem habitum cerneret, semetipsum protinus arguens excitabat ad simile, tamquam si aemula paupertate concertans, vinci se timeret in illo. 8Accidit enim, ut pauperculum quemdam obvium haberet in via, cuius cum nuditatem aspiceret, compunctus corde, lamentabili voce dixit ad socium: 9« Magnam verecundiam intulit nobis huius inopia, quia nos pro magnis divitiis paupertatem elegimus, et ecce magis relucet in isto ».

7 1Propter sanctae paupertatis amorem
omnipotentis Dei famulus
eleemosynis ostiatim quaesitis utebatur multo
libentius quam oblatis.
2Si quando enim invitatus a magnis personis,
mensis esset profusioribus honorandus,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 581