The Remembrance of the Desire of a Soul - 254 

of the man of God.a He humbly sought advice: “Father, if someone had held a certain lord’s possessions for a long time, and no longer wishes to keep them, what would be the best thing to do?” The man of God replied that all those things should be returned to the lord who gave them. Bernard said to him: “I know that everything I have was given to me by God and on your advice I am now ready to return all to Him.” The saint replied: “If you want to prove your words with deeds, let us go into the church tomorrow at dawn, take up the Gospel Book, and seek the counsel of Christ.” When morning had broken they went into the church and, after preparing with a devout prayer, they opened the book of the Gospel, ready to act on whatever counsel should first come to them. When they opened the book, Christ openly gave them His counsel: If you wish to be perfect, go and sell all you own, and give to the poor. Mt 9:21 b

They repeated this a second time, and found: Take nothing for your journey. Lk 9:3 They tried a third time, and found: If anyone would follow me, let himdeny himself. Bernard immediately carried out all these things, without neglecting a single iota of this counsel. In a short time, many turned away from the weary cares of the world toward an infinite Good, returning to their homeland with Francis as their guide. It would take too long to describe how each of them attained the prize of their heavenly calling. Phil 3:14

Chapter XI
HOW HE TOLD A PARABLE IN THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD POPE

16 When he presented himself and his followers before Pope Innocent to request a rule for his life,c it seemed to the pope that their proposal for a way of life was beyond their strength. A man of great discernment, he said to Francis: “My son, pray to Christ that through you he may show us his will, so that, once we know it, we may confidently approve your holy desire.” The saint accepted the command of the supreme shepherd and hurried to Christ. He prayed intently, and devoutly exhorted his companions to appeal to God.

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Vita Secunda Sancti Francisci, Fontes Franciscani, p. 456-458


cum viri Dei a exemplo disponeret saeculum perfecte contemnere, consilium eius supplex exposcit. 2Consultans igitur eum, sic ait: « Si quis, o pater, bona cuiusquam domini longo tempore possedisset et nollet illa retinere iam amplius, quid de illis perfectius foret agendum? ». 3Resignanda esse cuncta domino suo a quo illa receperat, respondit vir Dei b. 4Et Bernardus ad eum: « Universa quae habeo, a Deo mihi data c cognosco, quae ad consilium tuum resignare iam sibi assisto paratus ». 5 « Si dicta », inquit, sanctus, « factis probare volueris, summo mane intremus ecclesiam, et Evangelii codice sumpto, a Christo quaeramus consilium ». 6Intrant itaque ecclesiam mane iam facto, et oratione devote praemissa, Evangelii librum aperiunt, disponentes id facere quod consilii primum occurrat. 7Aperiunt librum, et consilium suum in eo aperit Christus: Si vis perfectus esse vade et vende omnia quae habes, et da pauperibus.

8Secundo id replicant, et: Nihil tuleritis in via, occurrit. 9Addunt hoc tertio, et: Qui vult venire post me, abneget, semetipsum, inveniunt. 10Absque cunctatione haec omnia Bernardus adimplet, nec consilii huius vel unum iota transgreditur. 11Convertuntur a mordacissimis curis mundi tempore brevi quamplures, et ad infinitum bonum, duce Francisco, revertuntur in patriam. 12Longum esset de singulis prosequi qualiter bravium supernae vocationis attigerint.

Caput XI
De similitudine quam coram domino Papa proposuit.

16 1Tempore quo ad petendam vitae suae regulam se cum suis coram papa Innocentio praesentavit, cum eius supra vires propositum conversationis papa videret, sicut homo discretione maxima praeditus, dixit ad eum: « Ora, fili, ad Christum, ut suam nobis per te voluntatem ostendat, qua cognita, tuis piis desideriis securius annuamus ». 2Annuit sanctus summi pastoris mandato, fiducialiter currit ad Christum; orat instanter, et ad supplicandum Deo devote socios exhortatur.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 254