A Mirror of the Perfection (The Lemmons Edition, 1901) - 215 

when he gives alms; in comparison to which all things in this world and even those in heaven are nothing.

Therefore, before the brothers became numerous—and even after they grew in number—when blessed Francis went through the world to preach, and some noble and wealthy person invited him to eat and lodge with him, since as yet there were no places of residence for the brothers in many cities and towns, he would always go begging for alms at mealtime. He did this, even though he knew that his host had abundantly prepared everything he needed for the love of the Lord, to give a good example to the brothers and because of the nobility and dignity of Lady Poverty. Sometimes he would say to his host: "I do not want to renounce my royal dignity, my vocation, and my profession, and that of my brothers, that is, to go begging alms. Even if I were to bring no more than three alms, I always want to exercise my responsibility."

And so, he used to go freely begging alms,a and the one who invited him would unwillingly sometimes go with him. The alms that Francis acquired, he would accept and place them as relics out of his devotion.

He who writes has seen this many times, and bears witness to it.


Moreover, one time, when he was visiting the Lord Bishop of Ostia, who later was pope, he went out for alms at mealtime, secretly as it were, because of the lord bishop. And when he returned, the lord bishop was sitting at table and eating, particularly since he had invited to dinner some knights who were his relatives. Blessed Francis put his alms on the bishop's table and came to the table next to the bishop, because the lord bishop always wanted blessed Francis, whenever he was with him, to sit next to him at mealtime. The lord bishop was somewhat embarrassed that blessed Francis went begging alms, but said nothing to him particularly because of those at table.

After blessed Francis had eaten a little, he took some of his alms and sent a little on behalf of the Lord God to each one of the knights and chaplains of the lord bishop. They all accepted them with great devotion. Some ate them, others kept them out of his devotion. Moreover, because of devotion for Saint Francis, they even took off their emblems when they accepted the alms. From then on, the lord




Speculum Perfectionis (minus), Fontes Franciscani, p. 1746-1748

qui facit helemosinas, in cuius comparatione omnia, que sunt in hoc seculo, nichil sunt et etiam, que in celo ».

6Unde antequam fratres essent multiplicati, ac etiam postquam multiplicati fuerunt, cum iret per mundum predicando beatus Franciscus, cum aliquis nobilis homo et dives cum devotione rogaret ipsum ut comederet in domo sua aut apud ipsum hospitaretur, 7quoniam in multis civitatibus et castris, ad quas ibat ad predicandum, tempore suo non erant loca fratrum, 8licet nosset, quod ille qui invitaverat ipsum omnia necessaria corporis habundanter amore Domini preparasset, tamen ipse per bonum exemplum fratrum et propter dignitatem et nobilitatem domine paupertatis in hora comestionis ibat pro helemosina 9ac aliquando dicebat illi, qui invitaverat ipsum: « Ego nolo dimictere dignitatem meam regalem et vocationem meam et professionem meam et fratrum meorum, 10videlicet ire pro helemosinis, etiam si non amplius apportarem, quam tres helemosinas, quoniam volo exercere officium meum ».

11Et sic ipso volente ibat pro helemosinis, et ille, qui invitaverat ipsum, ibat cum eo; helemosinas, quas adquirebat beatus Franciscus, accipiebat ille et pro reliquiis, propter eius devotionem, reponebat.

12Qui scripsit, vidit multotiens et testimonium perhibet.


1Immo quodam tempore, cum visitaret dominum episcopum Hostiensem, qui postea fuit papa, in hora comestionis quasi furtive propter dominum episcopum ivit pro helemosinis et, cum reversus fuit, dominus episcopus sedebat ad mensam et comedebat, maxime quia tunc invitaverat quosdam milites suos et consanguineos ad comedendum. 3Beatus Franciscus posuit helemosinas super mensam domini episcopi et intravit ad mensam iuxta dominum episcopum, quoniam dominus episcopus semper volebat, quod, cum beatus Franciscus esset apud ipsum in hora comestionis, sederet iuxta ipsum 4et verecundatus est inde aliquantulum dominus episcopus, eo quod ivit pro helemosinis beatus Franciscus, sed nichil dixit ei maxime propter recumbentes.

5Postquam aliquantulum comedit beatus Franciscus, accepit de suis helemosinis et unicuique militi et capellanis domini episcopi parum misit ex parte Domini Dei; 6qui omnes cum multa devotione acceperunt, alii comedentes, alii reponentes propter devotionem eius. 7Immo extrahebant sibi infulas propter devotionem, beati Francisci, cum accipiebant helemosinam; 8et gavisus est dominus episcopus propter devotionem illorum,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 215