A Mirror of the Perfection (The Sabatier Edition, 1928) - 263 

much land is enough for them, always considering the holy poverty and the good example we are bound to give to others."

He said this because he did not want the brothers in any way to go beyond the norm of poverty either in houses, in churches, in gardens or in other things they used. And he did not want them to possess the right of ownership to these places, but to stay in them as strangers and pilgrims. 1 Pt 2:11 For this reason, he did not want the brothers to be assigned to places together in a large number, because it seemed difficult to him that poverty be fully observed in a large crowd.a

From the beginning of his conversion until the end, this was his intention: that poverty be observed in all things to its fullest.

"After the brothers have considered the land necessary for a place, they should go the bishop of that city and say to him: 'Lord, for the love of the Lord God and the salvation of his soul, such a person wants to give us enough land so that we can build a place there. Therefore, we have recourse to you, first of all, because you are the father and lord of the souls of the entire flock entrusted to you, as well as our souls and those of all the brothers who will stay in this place. Therefore, with the blessing of the Lord God and yours, we would like to build there.' "

The saint said this because the harvest of souls that the brothers wanted to make was better achieved by peace with the clerics, winning them and the people rather than by scandalizing them, even though they might win the people.

"The Lord," he used to say, "has called us to help His faith and the prelates and clerics of holy Church. And, therefore, we are always bound to love, honor, and revere them as much as we can. For this reason let them be called Lesser Brothers, because, in name as well as in example and in deed, they should be humbler than all other people of this world. From the beginning of my conversion, the Lord put His word in the mouth of the bishop of Assisi that he might counsel me well in the service of Christ and comfort me. On account of this, as well as many other excellent qualities that I consider in prelates, not only in bishops, but in poor priests as well, I want to love them, revere them, and regard them as my lords.




Speculum Perfectionis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1865-1866

4primo debent considerare quanta terra sufficiat eis, attendentes semper sanctam paupertatem et bonum exemplum quod tenemur in omnibus exhibere ».

5Hoc autem dicebat quia nullo modo volebat quod fratres in domibus, vel ecclesiis, vel hortis, vel aliis rebus quibus utebantur, modum excederent paupertatis, 6nec aliqua loca jure proprietatis possiderent, sed in eis semper tanquam peregrini et advenae a morarentur; 7et propterea volebat ut fratres non in magna quantitate in locis collocarentur, quia sibi difficile videbatur in magna multitudine paupertatem observari.

8Et haec fuit intentio ejus ab initio suae conversionis usque ad finem ut paupertas in omnibus penitus servaretur.

9« Considerata ergo terra fratribus necessaria pro loco, deberent ire ad episcopum illius civitatis, et dicere ei: Domine, talis homo vult nobis dare tantam terram, amore Dei et salutis animae suae, ut possimus ibi locum aedificare. 10Unde ad vos recurrimus primo, quia estis pater et dominus animarum totius gregis vobis commissi, et nostrarum, et omnium fratrum qui morabuntur in loco isto; volumus ergo cum benedictione Dei et vestra ibi aedificare ».

11Hoc autem dicebat quia fructum animarum quem fratres volunt facere, melius peragunt cum pace clericorum, lucrando eos et populum, quam scandalizando eos, licet populum lucrentur. 12Et ait: « Dominus nos vocavit in adiutorium fidei suae et praelatorum et clericorum sanctae Ecclesiae. 13Et ideo tenemur, quantum possumus, ipsos semper diligere honorare et venerari. Nam vocantur fratres Minores, quia sicut nomine ita et exemplo et opere prae ceteris hominibus huius saeculi humiles esse debent. 14Et quia ab initio meae conversionis posuit Dominus in ore episcopi Assisii verbum suum ut mihi consuleret bene et confortaret in servitio Christi. 15Propter hoc et multa alia excellentia quae in praelatis considero, non tantum episcopos sed pauperculos sacerdotes volo diligere et venerari et tenere eos pro meis dominis.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 263