The Life of Saint Francis by Thomas of Celano - 217 

to all he gave a norm of life
and to those of every rank
he sincerely pointed out the way of salvation.

38 But the subject at hand is primarily the Order that he accepted and retained as much out of love as out of profession. What was that Order? He himself originally planted the Order of Lesser Brothers and on the occasion of its founding gave it this name.a For when it was written in the Rule, "Let them be lesser . . . ," at the uttering of this statement, at that same moment he said, "I want this fraternity to be called the Order of Lesser Brothers."

They were truly lesser who, by being °subject to all,° always sought the position of contempt, performing duties which they foresaw would be the occasion of some affront. In this way they might merit to be grounded on the solid rock of true humility and to have the well-designed spiritual structure of all the virtues arise in them.

Yes, the noble building of charity rises
upon the foundation Eph 2:20 of perseverance;
and in it living stones, 1 Pt 2:5
gathered from every part of the world,
have been built into a dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. Eph 2:22
What a great flame of charity burned in the new disciples of Christ!
What great love of devout company flourished in them!b
When they all gathered somewhere
or met each other on the road (which frequently happened),
in that place a shoot of spiritual love sprang up,
scattering over all love the seeds of real delight.

What more can I say?
There were
chaste embraces, delightful affection, a holy kiss,
sweet conversation,
modest laughter, joyful looks, a clear eye, Mt 6:22




Vita Prima, Fontes Franciscani, p. 312-313

ac salutis viam
in omni gradu
veraciter demonstrabat.

381Sed de ordine, quem charitate pariter et professione assumpsit et tenuit, praecipue sermo in manibus est. 2Quid enim? Ordinem Fratrum Minorum primitus ipse plantavit, et ea scilicet occasione hoc ei nomen imposuit. 3Cum nempe sic in Regula scriberetur: « Et sint minores », ad huius sermonis prolationem, ea quidem hora: « Volo », inquit, « ut Ordo Fratrum Minorum fraternitas haec vocetur ».

4Et vere minores, qui, 'omnibus subditi' exsistentes, semper quaerebant locum vilitatis, et officium exercere, et in quoquaedam fore iniuria videretur, ut sic in solido verae humilitatis fundari mererentur, ut felici dispositione in eis consurgeret omnium virtutum fabrica spiritalis.
5Revera super constantiae fundamentum
charitatis nobilis structura surrexit,
in qua vivi lapides
ex omnibus mundi partibus coacervati,
aedificati sunt in habitaculum Spiritus Sancti.
6O quanto charitatis ardore flagrabant novi Christi discipuli!
Quantus in eis piae societatis vigebat amor!
7Cum enim alicubi pariter convenirent,
vel in via, ut moris est, sibi invicem obviarent,
ibi spiculum spiritalis resultabat amoris,
super omnem amorem verae dilectionis seminarium spargens.
8Quid illud?
Casti amplexus, suaves affectus, osculum sanctum,
dulce colloquium,
risus modestus, aspectus iucundus, oculus simplex,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 217