The Life of Saint Francis by Thomas of Celano - 227 

and knowing the present,
to avoid all boasting
you always displayed the image of holy simplicity.
But let us return now to the matters mentioned above,
following again the order of our story.

Chapter XIX
HIS WATCHFULNESS OVER THE BROTHERS, SCORN FOR HIMSELF, AND TRUE HUMILITY

51 Blessed Francis returned in body to his brothers, whom, as was said above, he never left in spirit. Asking carefully and in detail about all their doings, he was always moved by a wholesome curiosity about those in his charge. If he found something inappropriate was done, he did not leave it unpunished. He first discerned any spiritual vices. Then he judged those of the body, and finally uprooted any occasions that might open the way to sin.

He zealously and carefully safeguarded Lady Holy Poverty. In order to avoid the superfluous, he would not even permit a small plate to remain in the house if, without it, he could avoid dire need. He said it was impossible to satisfy necessity without bowing to pleasure. He rarely or hardly ever ate cooked foods, but if he did, he would sprinkle them with ashes or dampen the flavor of spices with cold water.a Often, when he was wandering through the world to preach the gospel of God, Rom 1:1 he was called to a dinner given by great princes who venerated him with much fondness. He would taste some meat in order to observe the holy gospel. b The rest, which he appeared to eat, he put in his lap, raising his hand to his mouth so that no one could know what he was doing. What shall I say about drinking wine, when he would not allow himself to drink even enough water when he was burning with thirst?

52 Now as to his bed: Sg 1:11 wherever he received hospitality, he refused to use a straw mattress or blankets. The naked ground received his naked body, with only a thin tunic between them. Sometimes when he would refresh his small body with sleep, he would often sleep sitting up, not lying down, using a stone or a piece of wood as a pillow.

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Vita Prima, Fontes Franciscani, p. 325-326


et praesentia sciens,
ut omnem iactantiam fugeres,
sanctae simplicitatis semper imaginem praeferebas.
8Sed ad superiora recurramus,
historiae ordinem requirentes.

Caput XIX — De custodia qua super fratres vigilabat, et de contemptu sui et vera humilitate.

511Reversus est vir beatissimus Franciscus corporaliter ad fratres suos, a quibus, sicut dictum est, numquam spiritualiter recedebat. 2Cauta et diligenti examinatione omnium acta perquirens, felici semper curiositate in subditis ferebatur, nihil impune relinquens, si quid minus recti deprehenderet perpetratum. 3Et primo quidem spiritualia vitia decernebat, deinde diiudicabat corporalia, ad ultimum exstirpans occasiones omnes, quae peccatis solent aditum aperire.

4Omni studio, omni sollicitudine custodiebat sanctam et dominam. paupertatem, non patiens, ne quando ad superflua perveniret, nec vasculum in domo aliquod residere, cum sine ipso utcumque posset extremae necessitatis evadere servitutem .5Impossibile namque fore aiebat satisfacere necessitati et voluptati non obedire. —6Coctacibaria vix aut rarissime admittebat, admissa vero saepe aut conficiebat cinere, aut condimenti saporem aqua frigida exstinguebat. 7O quoties per mundum ambulans ad praedicandum Evangelium Dei a, vocatus ad prandium a magnis principibus, qui eum miro venerabantur affectu, gustatis parumper carnibus propter observantiam sancti Evangelii, reliquum, quod comedere videbatur, deponebat in sinu, manu ori adducta, ne quis posset perpendere quod agebat. —8De potu vini quid dicam, cum nec ipsam aquam, desiderio sitis aestuans, ad sufficientiam bibere pateretur?

521Accubitum vero suum, ubique receptus hospitio, nullis sinebat stramentis seu vestibus operiri, sed nuda humus, tunicula interposita, nuda suscipiebat membra. 2Cum quandoque corpusculum suum somni beneficio recrearet, saepius sedens, nec aliter se deponens dormiebat, pro cervicali ligno vel lapide utens.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 227