A Mirror of the Perfection (1318) - 209 

excellent way, let them look into the mirror of his life, and learn all perfection."12

The Lemmens Edition

The Lemmens edition, the Mirror of the Perfection, Rule, Profession, Life and True Calling of a Lesser Brother, has enjoyed different titles. Because Leonard Lemmens believed the manuscript he found in St. Isidore's Library to be an earlier recension of the long edition published by Paul Sabatier, it was called the Redactio Prior [Earlier Redaction]. Others saw it as simply an abbreviated form of the Sabatier edition, entitling it the Minor [Shorter or Lesser] edition. Still others prefer to identify it through naming its modern editor, Lemmens, an identification that seems most preferable to the editors of Francis of Assisi: Early Documents. In this way, the editors believe that it stands on its own as a text independent of that published by Sabatier.

The Lemmens edition is basically made up of texts placed in forty-five paragraphs and taken, it would seem, from a source available to the editors of both Mirrors. This might have been the rotuli or scrolls or Manuscript 1046 of Perugia's Biblioteca Augusta, what is now known as the Assisi Compilation;13 it may also have been taken from the other compilations that were in existence at the time. With the exception of its last number, Admonitions XI and XXI, all of the Lemmens edition is found in that of Sabatier, although ordered differently. It, however, contains none of the editorial comments that give the Sabatier edition such a distinctive flavor.

There is no logic to the way in which these forty-five paragraphs are presented. They move, for example, from three introductory paragraphs on begging to two paragraphs describing Francis's behavior at the approach of his death and another on the salutation of peace he wished his brothers to make. The manuscript's incipit provides no key to its order beyond introducing the stories about and writings of the saint that provide insight into his vision of holiness: "In the name of the Lord begins the mirror of the perfection, Rule, profession, life, and calling of a true Lesser Brother according to the will of Christ and the intention of blessed Francis." Quite simply, this compilation forms a scattering of insights into how its original editor understood Gospel perfection according to the mind of Francis.

While Sabatier claimed that Leo was the author of the manuscript he had discovered, Lemmens made no such claim and was content to let the manuscript's incipit speak for itself:

It was composed from what was recounted in the writings of Brother Leo, a companion of blessed Francis, and of his other companions, which are not in the common Legend. In this mirror the perfection of the life of blessed Francis in some way also shines.




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 209