A Book of the Praises of Saint Francis (1277-1283) - 46 

my Lord Jesus Christ. Since he has promised to give us life and glory in heaven, He will not deprive us of our bodily necessities when we need them on earth." Proposing a parable to him, he said: "There once was a king who contracted marriage with a poor but beautiful woman. While he married her because of her beauty, he fathered by her very handsome sons. As adults, they were sent to the king by their mother that he would take care of them. When the king recognized that they looked like him, he embraced them as his sons. And he said: 'You are sons and heirs. Do not be afraid! If strangers are fed at my table, I feed those to whom by right an inheritance is due. The brothers are Christ's poor and the sons of a poor religion.' "

22He was well aware that the Lord cared for him even in the smallest matters. When he was weak from a very serious illness, while returning from Spain, on the way he told Brother Bernard that he would have eaten a bit of a bird if he had one. Just then someone came riding across the field carrying an exquisite bird and said to him: "Servant of God, take what divine mercy sends you." Accepting it, he blessed Christ for everything, seeing how He cared for him.

26He did not want to be involved with the world through temporal things. When the Bishop of Assisi told him that to possess nothing in this world seemed to be a very rough life, he responded: "Lord, if we had any possessions, we would need to have arms to protect them, because they cause many disputes and lawsuits. Possessions usually impede the love of God and neighbor."

28He would frequently say: "As far as the brothers will withdraw from poverty, that far will the world withdraw from them. They owe the world an example, and the world owes the food they need. When the brothers withdraw good example, the world withdraws from them its support."

31Concerned about poverty, the man of God feared large numbers and he used to say: "Oh, if it were possible, I wish the world would only rarely get to see Lesser Brothers, and should be surprised at their small number!"

32He wanted the brothers to be content with a few things, and not to possess these few things, whether places or things, as their own. He wanted to own nothing 2 Cor 6:10 so that he could possess everything more fully in the Lord.

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Liber de Laudibus Beati Francisci, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1266-1268


confido in Domino Iesu Christo, quoniam ipse, qui promittit nobis dare in coelo vitam et gloriam, non subtrahet nobis in terra sustentationem corporis necessariam tempore opportuno ». 19Cui etiam proponens parabolam: « Quidam, inquit, rex cum quadam muliere paupercula, sed formosa, ob eius decorem matrimonium contrahens filios ex ea venustissimos genuit. 20Quos idem rex adultos sibique a matre, ut pasceret, missos, cum eos suos esse filios sibique consimiles cognovisset, amplexans dixit: 'Mei estis filii et heredes, nolite timere; si enim de mensa nutriuntur extranei, iustum est, eos faciam nutriri, quibus tota de iure debetur hereditas. 21Fratres pauperes Christi et Religionis pauperis sunt filii' ».

22Expertus fuerat, Dominum usque ad minima de ipso curare. 23Cum enim de Hispania rediens per infirmitatem gravissimam debilis fratri Bernardo dixisset in via, quod de una avicula, si haberet, comederet; 24ecce per campum quidam avem peroptatam obtulit ei dicens: « Serve Dei, accipe quod tibi mittit divina clementia ». 25Quam beatus Franciscus suscipiens Christum, qui sui curam haberet, per omnia benedlxit.

26Nolebat mundo per temporalia implicari. Episcopo Assisii dicenti sibi, quod multum videbatur sibi aspera vita ista, nihil in hoc saeculo possidere, respondit: 27« Si possessiones aliquas haberemus, arma ad protegendum necessaria nobis essent, quia quaestiones et lites plurimae inde oriuntur, de quibus Dei ac proximi solet dilectio impediri ».

28Dicebat frequenter: « Quantum fratres declinabunt a paupertate, tantum mundus declinabit ab eis. 29Ipsi mundo exemplum et mundus eis necessarium debet victum. 30Si fratreg, inquit, subtraxerint bonum exemplum, et mundus subtrahet eis subsidium; quaerent, et non invenient ».
31Paupertati cavens vir Dei multitudinem nimiam metuebat et dicebat: « Oh, si poterit fieri, ut mundus raro fratres Minores aspiciens de paucitate miretur! ».

32In omnibus volebat fratres paucis esse contentos nec pauca ipsa, sive res sive loca, babere ut propria. 33Nihil volebat proprietatis habere, ut omnia plenius posset in Domino possidere.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 46