A Mirror of the Perfection (The Lemmons Edition, 1901) - 249 

of the brothers is to spend time in prayer to the Lord for it everyday, that He govern, preserve, protect, and defend it. I have pledged myself to this, to the Lord and to the brothers, that if any one of the brothers perishes because of my bad example, I be held to render an account Mt 12:36 to the Lord."

And even though from time to time a brother would tell him that he should occasionally put himself forward in the affairs of the religion, he used to reply with words like these: "The brothers have their Rule, and furthermore have sworn to it. And so they have no excuse. After it pleased the Lord to decide that I would be their prelate, I also swore to it in their presence and I want to observe it to the end. So, since the brothers already know what they should do and what to avoid, the only thing left for me to do is to teach them by actions, because this is why I have been given to them during my life and after my death."


One day when blessed Francis met a poor man, he said to his companion: "This man's poverty brings great shame on us; it passes judgment on our poverty."

"How so, brother?" his companion replied. "I am greatly ashamed," he answered, "when I find someone poorer than myself. I chose holy poverty as my Lady, my delight, and my riches of spirit and body. And the whole world has heard this news, that I professed poverty before God and people. Therefore I ought to be ashamed when I come upon someone poorer than myself."


One time a little, poor, and sickly man came to blessed Francis. Feeling compassion for him, he began to speak to his companion about his nakedness and illness.

"It is true, brother," his companion said to him, "that he is poor, but perhaps there is no one in the whole province who desires riches more." Blessed Francis rebuked him for not speaking well, and he admitted his fault.

Blessed Francis told him: "Do you want to do the penance I will tell you?" "Willingly" he replied. "Go, strip off your tunic," he said, "and go naked before that poor man, throw yourself at his feet, and tell him how you sinned against him, how you slandered him, and ask him to pray for you that God may forgive you."




Speculum Perfectionis (minus), Fontes Franciscani, p. 1819-1821

quod fratrum religioni iímpendere possum, est ut cotidie vacem orationi pro ea ad Dominum ut ipsam gubernet, conservet, protegat et defendat. 19Nam in hoc [me] Domino et fratribus obligavi, videlicet ut si aliquis fratrum meo malo exemplo perierit, volo teneri Domino reddere rationem ».

20Unde [licet] aliquis fratrum diceret ei, ut deberet aliquando se intromictere de facto religionis, ipse talia verba respondebat dicens : 21 « Fratres [habent] regulam suam, insuper et iuraverunt, et non habeant excusationem; postquam Domino placuit me statuere, ut essem prelatus eorum, coram ipsis eam similiter iuravi et volo usque in finem observare. 22Unde, ex quo fratres sciunt, quid agere debeant quidve etiam vitare, non restat, nisi ut operibus doceam ipsos, quoniam ad hoc datus sum ipsis in vita mea et post mortem meam ».


1Cum quadam die obviavisset beatus Franciscus cuidam pauperculo, dixit socio suo: « Magnam verecundiam intulit nobis paupertas istius ».

2Dixit ei sotius: « Quomodo, frater? ». 3At ille: « Magna verecundia est michi, cum invenio aliquem, qui sit pauperior me, cum sanctam paupertatem elegerim pro mea domina et pro meis deliciis et divitiis spiritualibus et corporalibus, 4et vox ista insonuerit toti mundo, scilicet quod professus sum paupertatem coram Deo et hominibus, 5quapropter debeo inde verecundari, cum invenio aliquem, qui sit pauperior me ».


1Semel quidam pauperculus et infirmitius venit ad beatum Franciscum, et compatiens ei loquebatur cum socio de nuditate et infirmitate eius.

2Et dixit socius ei: « Frater, verum est, quod iste satis pauper est, sed forsitan in tota provincia non est voluntate ditior eo ». 3Et reprehendit eum beatus Franciscus, quod non bene dixisset, ita quod inde dixit suam culpam.

4Et ait beatus Franciscus: « Vis inde penitentiam facere, quam dixero tibi? ». Respondit: « Libenter ». 5Et dixit ei: « Vade et exuere tunicam tuam et vade nudus coram paupere et proice te ad pedes eius et dicas ei, quomodo peccasti in eo, quoniam detraxisti ei; 6et dicas ei, ut oret pro te, ut Deus indulgeat ».

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 249