A Mirror of the Perfection (The Sabatier Edition, 1928) - 279 

wouldn't be religious or decent. Let each one provide his body with what it needs as our poverty will allow. This is what I wish and command you."

The first brothers and those who came after them for a long time mortified their bodies excessively, not only by abstinence in food and drink, but also in vigils, cold, coarse clothing, and manual labor. 2 Cor 11:27 Next to their skins they wore iron rings, and the roughest hair shirts. Considering that the brothers could get sick because of this, and in a short time some were already ailing, he commanded in one of the chapters that no brother wear anything next to the skin except the tunic.

We who were with him bear witness to this fact about him: although during his whole lifetime, he was discerning and moderate with the brothers, provided that in the matter of food and other things, they at no time deviated from the norm of the poverty and the decency of our religion; nevertheless, the most holy father, from the beginning of his conversion until the end of his life, was severe with his own body, even though he was a man of a frail and weak constitution, and when he was in the world he could not live without comforts.

One time, perceiving that the brothers had exceeded the norm of poverty and decency in food and in all things, he said in a sermon he gave, speaking to a few brothers, who stood for all the brothers: "Don't the brothers think that my body needs special food? But because I must be the model and example for all the brothers, I want to use and be content with meager and poor food and all other things in accordance with poverty, shunning everything that is expensive and delicate."


Another time when blessed Francis was at that same place, a certain spiritual brother, an elder in religion, was there. He was very sick and weak. Considering him, blessed Francis was moved to piety toward him. The brothers back then, sick and healthy, with great cheerfulness took poverty for abundance. They did not use nor ask for medicines in their illnesses, but rather willingly chose what was contrary to the body. Blessed Francis said to himself: "If that brother would eat some ripe grapes early in the morning, I believe it would help him."




Speculum Perfectionis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1894-1896

quia non esset religiosum, nec honestum: 10sed volo et praecipio vobis ut quilibet secundum nostram paupertatem suo corpori satisfaciat, sicut ei necesse fuerit ».

11Nam primi fratres, et alii qui venerunt post ipsos usque ad magnum, tempus, affligebant corpora sua ultra modum cum abstinentia cibi et potus, vigiliis, frigore, asperitate indumenti et labore manuum suarum; portabant subtus ad carnem circulos ferreos et loricas et fortissima cilicia; 12propter quod sanctus pater, considerans quod hac occasione fratres poterant infirmari, et aliqui jam in parvo tempore erant infirmati, prohibuit in quodam capitulo ut nullus frater portaret subtus ad carnem nisi tunicam.

13Nos vero qui cum eo fuimus testimonium perhibemus de ipso quod licet toto tempore vitae suae circa fratres esset discretus et temperatus, ita tamen quod ipsi fratres in cibis et aliis rebus nullo tempore deviarent a modo paupertatis et honestatis nostrae religionis, 14ipse pater sanctissimus nihilominus, a principio suae conversionis usque ad finem vitae suae, corpori suo fuit austerus, quamvis naturaliter esset debilis et in saeculo non posset vivere nisi delicate.

15Unde, quodam tempore, considerans quod fratres jam excedebant modum paupertatis et honestatis in cibis et in omnibus rebus, in quadam sua praedicatione, quam fecit aliquibus fratribus in persona omnium fratrum, dixit: 16« Non putant fratres quod corpori meo necessaria esset pietantia; sed, quia oportet me esse formam et exemplum omnium fratrum, volo uti et esse contentus paucis et pauperculis cibis, et omnibus rebus aliis uti secundum paupertatem, atque sumptuosa et delicata penitus abhorrere ».

Qualiter condescendit fratri infirmo
comedendo uvas cum eo.
Caput 28.

1Alio tempore, dum esset beatus Franciscus apud eumdem locum, quidam frater spiritualis et antiquus in religione erat ibi infirmus et debilis valde. 2Quem considerans beatus Franciscus pietate motus est super eum; sed - quia tunc fratres, sani et infirmi, cum magna hilaritate utebantur paupertate pro abundantia, et in suis infirmitatibus non utebantur medicinis, nec etiam requirebant, sed potius quae erant contraria corpori libentius assumebant - 3dixit intra se beatus Franciscus: « Si iste frater summo mane manducaret de uvis maturis, credo quod prodesset ei ».

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 279