A Book of the Praises of Saint Francis (1277-1283) - 47 

Chapter V

1With the greatest zeal he cultivated poverty's companion, the virtue of humility.

2Because of this he wanted the brothers to be clothed in a humble habit, girt with a rope, to be called Lesser Brothers, and never to be exalted in this world. When he was asked by the Lord of Ostia about promoting his brothers to ecclesiastical dignities, he would in no way consent, but replied they should be kept in humility.

4Blessed Dominic was also present and likewise opposed the promotion of his brothers. He clung to Blessed Francis by such devotion that he most devotedly wore under his inner tunic a cord which he had given him, said that he wished that Francis's religion and his own could be one, and stated that he should be imitated for his holiness by other religious. Oh, how this humility and mutual charity of their Fathers must be imitated by their sons! Truly, it would be profitable to them and to God's Church.

8He wanted such great deference shown to prelates and priests, that, because of reverence for their dignity and spiritual power, the brothers would consider not only their hands but also their feet worthy of being kissed. He used to say: "We have been sent to help clerics for the salvation of soulsa so that we may make up whatever may be lacking in them. Each shall receive a reward, not on account of authority, but because of the work done. Know then, brothers, that the good of souls Wis 3:13 is what pleases God most, and this is more easily obtained through peace with the clergy than fighting with them. If they should stand in the way of the people's salvation, revenge is for God, and he will repay them in due time." And he would say: "Be subject to prelates so that as much as possible on your part no jealousy arises. How is it too much to be subject to superiors, when, for God's sake, we must be subject to all human creatures?" 1 Pt 2:13

14As he thought humbly of himself, he was, in his own eyes, a great sinner, while actually he was in every way a mirror of holiness, and also a virgin in the flesh, as he revealed to that very holy man, Brother Leo, his confessor, and then disclosed to the General




Liber de Laudibus Beati Francisci, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1268-1269

Caput V
De humilitate.

5 1Paupertatis sociam, humilitatis virtutem, maximo coluit studio.

2Propter hoc fratres humili habitu indui, fune succingi, fratres Minores vocari et nunquam in hoc saeculo voluit sublimari. 3Requisitus a domino Hostiensi de fratribus promovendis ad ecclesiasticas dignitates, nullo modo consensit, sed tenendos in humilitate respondit. 4Aderat et beatus Dominicus suos similiter fratres ascendere contradicens. 5Qui tanta beato Francisco devotione cohaesit, ut obtentam ab eo chordam sub inferiori tunica devotissime cingeret, cuius et suam Religionem unam velle fieri diceret, ipsumque pro sanctitate ceteris sequendum Religiosis assereret. 6O quam est haec Patrum humilitas, et mutua caritas filiis imitanda! 7Profecto et sibi ipsis et Ecclesiae Dei plurimum expedit.

11Praelatis et sacerdotibus in tantum deferri volebat, ut fratres non solum eorum manus, sed et pedes dignos osculo reputarent ob reverentiam dignitatis et spiritualis potestatis ipsorum. 9Dicebat enim: « In adiutorium clericorum missi sumus ad animarum salutem, ut quod in illis minus invenitur suppleatur a nobis. 10Recipiet unusquisque mercedem suam non secundum auctoritatem, sed laborem. 11Scitote, fratres, animarum fructum Deo esse gratissimum meliusque illum assequi posse pace quam discordia clericorum ». 12Dicebatque: « Estote subiecti Praelatis, ne, in quantum in nobis est, zelus aliquis surgat ». 13Sed quantum est superioribus subiici, quando propter Deum humanae omni creaturae debemus esse subiecti?

14De se autem ipse humiliter sentiens magnus peccator in oculis suis erat, cum vere speculum esset sanctitatis omnimodae et etiam virgo carne, sicut viro sanctissimo fratri Leoni, confessori eius revelatum per eum et Ministro Generali compertum est.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 47