The Minor Legend - 696 

Fifth Lesson

This perfect follower of Christ was so eager in everlasting love to espouse poverty, the companion of humility, to himself that he not only left his father and mother for her, but also scattered everything he could have. No one coveted gold as he coveted poverty; nor was anyone as careful in guarding of a treasure as he was of the pearl of the Gospel. Since from the beginning of the Religion until his death, his wealth was a tunic, a cord, and breeches, it would seem that he gloried in want and rejoiced in need. If at any time he saw anyone dressed poorer than himself, he would criticize himself immediately and set out to be similar. It seemed as if he were contending with a rival and feared that he would be conquered by the spiritual nobility of that man. Since the pledge of his eternal inheritance, he had preferred poverty to everything perishable, counting as nothing riches which are granted to us as a fief the false riches granted for only an hour. He loved poverty more than great wealth, and he, who had learned from it to regard himself inferior to all, hoped to surpass all in its practice.

Sixth Lesson

Through the love of the most sublime poverty, the man of God prospered and grew rich in holy simplicity. Although he certainly possessed nothing of his own in this world, he seemed to possess all good things in the very Author of this world. With the steady gaze of a dove, that is, the simple application and pure consideration of the mind, he referred all things to the supreme Artisan and recognized, loved, and praised their Maker in all things.a It came to pass, by a heavenly gift of kindness, that he possessed all things in God and God in all things. In consideration of the primal origin of all things, he would call all creatures, however insignificant, by the names of brother and sister since they come forth with him from the one source. He embraced those, however, more tenderly and passion-

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Fontes Franciscani, p. 982-984


Lectio quinta.

5 1Sociam quoque sanctae humilitatis paupertatem excelsam perfectus Christi sectator caritate sibi studuit sic desponsare perpetua, quod non solum pro ea patrem matremque re1iquit, verum etiam quae habere potuit universa dispersit. 2Nemo tam auri, quam iste cupidus paupertatis, nec thesauri custodiendi sollicitior ullus, quam iste huius evangelicae margaritae; 3cum et a principio Religionis usque ad mortem tunica, chorda et femoralibus dives, in sola videretur gloriari penuria et egestate gaudere. 4Si quando enim pauperiorem se quempiam secundum, exteriorem habitum cerneret, semetipsum protinus arguens excitabat ad simile, tamquam si aemula paupertate concertans, vinci se in illo spiritus quadam nobilitate timeret. 5Etenim, quia ipsam ut arrham hereditatis aeternae omnibus caducis praetulerat, fallaces divitias velut feudum ad horam concessum nil reputans, hane prae opibus magnis amabat 6et in ea cunctos optabat excedere, qui ex eadem didicerat inferiorem se omnibus reputare.

Lectio sexta.

6 1Excrevit propterea vir Dei per altissimae paupertatis amorem in sanctae simplicitatis tam opulentas divitias, ut, cum nihil prorsus haberet inter mundialia proprium, in ipso tamen mundi huius Auctore omnium possessor videretur esse bonorum. 2Dum enim oculorum acie columbina, simplici videlicet mentis intentione, puroque speculationis contuitu omnia in summum referebat Opificem ipsumque Factorem recognoscebat, amabat et laudabat in omnibus, 3superna fiebat largitione clementiae, ut omnia in Deo et Deum in omnibus possideret. 4Consideratione quoque primae originis omnium, creaturas quantumlibet modicas, fratris vel sororis appellabat nominibus, tamquam ab uno secum exeuntes principio, quamquam illas viscerosius complexaretur et dulcius,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 696