The Remembrance of the Desire of a Soul - 302 


Chapter LI

83 What tongue could
tell of this man's compassion for the poor?
He certainly had an inborn kindness,
doubled by the piety poured out on him.
Francis's soul melted for the poor,
and to those to whom he could not extend a hand,
he extended his affection.
Any need,
any lack he noticed in anyone,
with a rapid change of thought, he turned back to Christ.
In that way
he read the Son of our Poor Lady in every poor person.
As she held Him naked in her hands
so he carried Him naked in his heart.
Although he had driven away all envy from himself,
he could not give up his envy of poverty.
If he saw people poorer than himself,
he immediately envied them and,
contending with a rival for poverty
was afraid he would be overcome.

84 It happened one day when the man of God was going about preaching he met a poor man on the road. Seeing the man's nakedness, he was deeply moved and, turning to his companion, said: "This man's need brings great shame on us; it passes a harsh judgment on our poverty." "How so, brother?" his companion replied. The saint answered in a sad voice: "I chose Poverty for my riches and for my Lady, but look: She shines brighter in this man. Don't you know that the whole world has heard that we are the poorest of all for Christ? But this poor man proves it is otherwise!"

Oh enviable envy!
Oh rivalry to be rivaled by his children!
This is not the envy
that is distressed by the good fortune of others;




Vita Secunda Sancti Francisci, Fontes Franciscani, p. 520-521

De compassione saneti Francisci ad pauperes.

Caput LI
De compassione quam ad pauperes habuit,
et qualiter se pauperioribus invidebat.

831Hic vir quantae compassionis ad pauperes fuerit,
quae valeat lingua narrare?
2Sane clementiam habebat ingenitam,
quam. superinfusa pietas duplicabat.
liquescebat animus Francisci ad pauperes,
et quibus non poterat manum,
exhibebat affectum.
4Quidquid defectus,
quidquid penuriae in quoquam cernebat,
reduci mente ac celeri conversione regerebat in Christum.
filium pauperis Dominae legebat in pauperibus cunctis,
nudum corde gerens
quem illa nudum in manibus.
6At vero cum omnem a se relegasset invidiam,
sola carere non potuit invidia paupertatis.
7Si quando pauperiorem se ipso videret,
protinus invidebat,
et aemula paupertate concertans,
vinci se timebat in illo.

84 1Accidit die quadam, cum praedicando vir Dei discurreret, pauperculum quemdam obvium habere in via. 2Cuius cum nuditatem conspiceret, compunctus ad socium vertitur dicens: « Magnam verecundiam intulit nobis huius inopia, et nostram paupertatem plurimum reprehendit &raquo. 3Cui respondit socius: « Qua ratione, frater? ». Et sanctus lamentabili voce respondit: « Pro meis divitiis, pro mea domina, paupertatem elegi, et ecce relucet magis in isto. 4An ignoras, quod per totum mundum insonuit extremos pro Christo nos pauperes esse? Sed aliter se habere, pauper iste convincit! ».

5O invisa invidia!
O aemulatio filiis aemulanda!
6Non haec illa est
quae de alienis bonis affligitur;

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 302