The Remembrance of the Desire of a Soul - 295 


Chapter XLI

71 The holy Father was much happier to use alms begged from door to door rather than offerings. He used to say that being ashamed to beg was an enemy of salvation, asserting that shame while begging, which does not hang back, was holy. He praised the blush spreading over a sensitive face, but not the kind that means being overcome by embarrassment. Using these words, he would often exhort his followers to seek alms: "Go, for in this last hour the Lesser Brothers have been given to the world so that the elect may carry out for them what the divine Judge will praise: What you did for one of my lesser brothers, you did for me." Mt 25:40 Because of this he used to say that this religion was privileged by the Great Prophet, who had so clearly expressed the title of its name. a He therefore wanted the brothers to dwell not only in cities, but also in the hermitages, so that people everywhere might be given the opportunity for merit, and the dishonest might be stripped of the veil of an excuse.

Chapter XLII

72 So that he might never offend his holy bride even a single time, this servant of the Most High God Acts 16:17 would do as follows: whenever he was invited by some lord and was to be honored by a more lavish dinner, he would first beg some pieces of bread at the neighboring houses, and then, enriched by poverty 2 Cor 8:9 he would hurry to the table. Sometimes people asked why he did this, and his answer was that he would not give up a permanent inheritance for a fief granted for an hour.b "Poverty," he said, "not your false riches, makes us heirs and kings of the kingdom of Heaven. "




Vita Secunda Sancti Francisci, Fontes Franciscani, p. 509-510

De petenda eleemosyna.

Caput XLI
De commendatione ipsius.

71 1Pater sanctus utebatur eleemosynis ostiatim quaesitis multo libentius quam oblatis. 2Verecundiam mendicandi inimicam saluti dicebat; verecundiam. in mendicando, eam quae pedem non retrahit sanctam esse confirmans. 3Nasci ruborem in tenera fronte laudabat, pudore confundi non ita. 4Nonnumquam suos ad petendam eleemosynam hortans, his utebatur verbis: 5 « Ite », inquit, « quoniam hac novissima hora fratres Minores commodati sunt mundo, ut electi in eis compleant unde a Iudice commendentur: Quod uni fecistis ex fratribus meis minoribus, mihi fecistis ». 6Unde privilegiatam Magno Propheta dicebat religionem, qui titulum nominis eius tam evidenter expressit. 7Ideoque volebat fratres non solum in civitatibus sed in eremis commanere, ubi cunctis merendi tribueretur materia et excusationis velamen reprobis tolleretur.

Caput XLII
Exemplum saneti de petenda eleemosyna.

72 1Ne vel semel sanctam illam sponsam offenderet, hoc facere solitus erat servus Dei excelsi: 2si quando invitatus a dominis, mensis esset profusioribus honorandus, prius per propinquas vicinorum domos panum fragmenta quaerebat, ac deinde sic ditatus inopia, festinabat accumbere. 3Interrogatus quandoque, cur faceret istud, respondebat: pro feudo ad horam concesso hereditatem stabilem se relinquere nolle. 4« Paupertas », inquit, « est quae heredes et reges regni caelorum instituit, non falsae vestrae divitiae ».

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 295