A Mirror of the Perfection (The Sabatier Edition, 1928) - 289 

and sickness, as he himself has said: 'Those whom I love I correct and chastise.'"

43
THE HUMBLE REPLY GIVEN BY BLESSED FRANCIS AND BLESSED DOMINIC WHEN THEY WERE BOTH ASKED BY THE CARDINAL WHETHER THEY WANT THEIR BROTHERS TO BE PRELATES IN THE CHURCH

Those two bright lights of the world, namely, blessed Francis and blessed Dominic,a were once together in the City of Rome with the Lord of Ostia, who later became Supreme Pontiff. As they took turns pouring out honey-sweet words about the Lord, the Lord of Ostia finally said to them: "In the early Church the Church"s shepherds and prelates were poor, and men of charity, not on fire with greed. Why don"t we make bishops and prelates of your brothers who excel all others in teaching and example?”

There arose a humble and devout disagreement between the  saints about answering, neither wishing to go first, but rather each deferring to the other. Each urged the other to reply. At last humility conquered Francis as he did not speak first, but it also conquered Dominic, since in speaking first, he humbly obeyed Francis. Blessed Dominic therefore answered: "My lord, my brothers are already raised to a good level, if they will only realize it, and as much as possible I would never allow them to obtain any other mirror of dignity." As this brief response ended, Blessed Francis bowed to the lord and said: "My lord, my brothers are called "lesser" precisely so they will not presume to become "greater." They have been called this to teach them to stay down to earth, and to imitate the footprints of Christ"s humility, so that, through this, they may be exalted in the sight of the saints. If you want them to bear fruit in the Church of God, keep them in the status in which they were called and hold them to it, and those who would climb to lofty positions, bring them abruptly down to earth. Do not allow them to rise to any prelacy!" These were the replies of the saints.

When they finished their replies, the Lord of Ostia was greatly edified by the words of both, and gave unbounded thanks to God. And as they both left that place together, blessed Dominic asked Saint Francis to be kind enough to give him the cord he had tied around him. Francis refused out of humility what the other requested out of charity. At last the happy devotion of the petitioner won out and,

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Speculum Perfectionis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1912-1914


flagellorum et infirmitatum stimulis erudit sicut ipse ait: « Ego quos amo arguo et castigo.

De humili responsione beatorum Francisci et Dominici, quando fuerunt simul interrogati utrum vellent fratres suos esse praelatos in ecclesia. Caput 43.

1In urbe Roma, cum illa duo clara luminaria orbis, videlicet beatus Franciscus et beatus Dominicus, essent simul coram domino Ostiensi, qui postea fuit summus pontifex, 2atque vicissim eructuarent de Deo melliflua, dixit illis tandem dominus Ostiensis: « In ecclesia primitiva pastores et praelati erant pauperes, et homines caritate non cupiditate ferventes. 3Cur ergo non facimus de vestris fratribus episcopos et praelatos qui documento et exemplo a omnibus aliis praevalerent? ».

4Fit inter sanctos de respondendo humilis et devota contentio non quidem praecipientibus sed deferentibus sibi invicem, ac se cogentibus ad respondendum. 5Sed tandem vicit humilitas Francisci ne prius responderet, vicit etiam Dominicus ut prius respondendo humiliter obediret.

6Respondens ergo, beatus Dominicus dixit: « Domine, gradu bono sublimati sunt fratres mei, si hoc cognoscere volunt, et pro posse meo nunquam permittam ut aliud assequantur speculum dignitatis ».

7Tunc beatus Franciscus, inclinans se coram dicto domino, dixit: « Domine, Minores ideo vocati sunt fratres mei ut majores fieri non praesumant: 8docet eorum vocatio ipsos in plano subsistere et humilitatis Christi vestigia imitari, ut per hoc tandem, in respectione sanctorum d, plus aliis exaltentur.

9Si enim vultis ut faciant fructum in Ecclesia Dei e, tenete illos et conservate in statu vocationis eorum; atque ipsos, si ad alta conscenderint, ad plana reducite violenter, nec ad praelationem aliquam illos ascendere permittatis ».

10Haec fuerunt sanctorum responsa. Quibus, finitis, de utriusque responsionibus aedificatus valde, dominus Ostiensis immensas gratias Deo egit.

11Discedentibus autem ambobus simul, rogavit beatus Dominicus sanctum Franciscum ut dignaretur ei donare cordam qua cingebatur. Recusavit beatus Franciscus ex humilitate, sicut ille ex caritate poscebat. 12Vicit tamen felix postulantis devotio, et cordam beati Francisci per violentiam caritatis acceptam ipse beatus Dominicus sub inferiori tunica cinxit et ex tunc devote portavit.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 289